Freestyle MetalX is Midway's stab at the freestyle motocross genre, which typically combines the driving and control elements of your average motocross game with the wild, combo-driven trick system made popular by Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. True to form, Freestyle MetalX does all this, and, as far as the game's control and trick system go, it pulls this off pretty well. Unfortunately, the game's poor graphical performance really gets in the way of the game's cool trick system, and the end result is undeniably tarnished.
At the core of Freestyle MetalX lies its career mode, which serves as the place where you unlock more levels, events, bikes, and riders. Each level has a series of goals to accomplish, and you're allowed to take on these goals at your own pace, in a free-run-style format. Most of the goals are pretty standard. You'll have to make specific transfers, race against the clock, clear large gaps, execute specific tricks, catch moving targets, and so on. Each level also has three separate events, which are unlocked as you complete goals. The big air competition is a trick contest that gives you one ramp to use to accomplish the largest air combo. The freestyle competition is a timed trick score event. Finally, each level's final objective is a race against one of the game's other riders, who is unlocked when you win the race. Each goal has a dollar value associated with it, and opening new levels is governed by your income. Along the way you'll also uncover new bikes and stat points that can be spent to improve your rider in four categories.
The game's strong point is its trick system. While many motocross games have similar trick systems, Freestyle MetalX flows a lot better than most, letting you quickly move from trick to trick without having to wait for your rider to reseat himself on the bike. The game uses one button for tricks and another for modifiers, letting you do no-handed, seat-grab, or no-footed versions of the standard roster of motocross tricks. You can also link tricks together with wheelies or stoppies. Executing either causes a balance meter to appear, but the meter moves so slowly that you can keep one of these moves going practically forever without much effort. There are even a few spots in the game's levels where you can ride up against a slope and essentially lock the balance meter into place, letting you set the controller down, walk away, and continue earning points on your combo. Since only a couple of events actually reward you for high scores, this isn't as big of a problem as it could have been.
As previously mentioned, Freestyle MetalX really doesn't look very good. The most problematic aspect of the game's look is its frame rate, which is all over the place, taking serious hits in some spots, which makes timing your tricks pretty difficult. Adding to that, the game's textures are all pretty muddy. The environments are large, but none of them look very good. The animations used for your tricks are fine, but the bike models look and move pretty poorly. You won't even see the tires spinning half the time. Other animated items, like pedestrians, look absolutely horrible. Their jerky motion is laughably bad.
The game's sound is OK, with exhaust noises that are just as grating as the real deal. The default sound settings are poorly configured, putting the speech way too low in the mix, but that's easily fixed. The game's soundtrack contains songs from Motorhead, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, and more.
Freestyle MetalX is worth renting if you're a fan of the motocross genre, but the game has enough problems to keep casual fans from finding too much to enjoy here. The trick system might be cool, but the rest of the game can't really pull its own weight, leaving behind an uneven final product.