MX Superfly is the follow-up to last year's PlayStation 2 and Xbox motocross game, MX 2002 Featuring Ricky Carmichael. It's also the GameCube's first motocross game, and it's a pretty solid first attempt at the sport on Nintendo's console. MX Superfly contains a bevy of tracks and options in multiple dirt-bike disciplines. It also brings an array of minigames that unfortunately get in the way of what the game does best.
While it's listed in fourth place on the game's main menu, the game's main mode of play is its career mode. In career mode, you'll create a rider and start either a racing career or a freestyle career. The motocross racing career is the more straightforward of the two. In this mode, you'll go through a couple of tutorial levels and then make your way from course to course in typical racing game fashion. As you progress, you'll unlock new levels. The freestyle career is a little more convoluted. You need to earn money to advance from class to class, which you'll earn by competing in various events. The best events are the standard freestyle courses, but these are few and far between. Watering down the mode is a handful of minigames that will also earn you cash. Some, such as the bus jump and step-up competitions, which have returned from last year's game, are well done and effectively break up the monotony. But the wackier minigames--one that puts you on a golf course and asks you to drive from tees to holes, as well as another that asks you to pick up pizzas and deliver them to various points on the map--seem a little thrown together and really take away from the overall experience. The fact that you have to do well at these minigames to proceed only compounds this problem. Aside from the career mode, you can set up single races, freestyle competitions, and minigames. There's also a multiplayer mode and a pretty decent track editor.
As with last year's game, the main gameplay focus in MX Superfly is knowing how to effectively preload your suspension for big air and knowing when to goose your throttle for quick bursts of acceleration. Onscreen indicators let you easily view your suspension, so you'll always know how loaded your front shocks are at any given moment. Once you're in the air, you have access to a pretty nice trick system that gives you a lot of control over your bike's attitude while still letting you pull off some pretty outlandish maneuvers. Stunts are accomplished by holding down the trick button and entering a quick combination on the face buttons. Nac-nacs and rodeo airs are accomplished by hitting one or two buttons, but the truly insane tricks, like the experimental flip, require three button presses.
Graphically, MX Superfly looks quite good. Everything from texture quality to animation has a refined look to it, especially when compared with last year's game. Considering that MX 2002 was already a pretty great-looking game when it came out nearly a year ago on the PlayStation 2, the requisite improvements made when moving the series to the GameCube are a nice touch. The soundtrack is large and pretty eclectic, featuring licensed music that crosses a lot of genres. The artists on the soundtrack include Hoobastank, Dropkick Murphys, Souls of Mischief, Del the Funky Homosapien, and The Coup, all of which contribute to the game's title track. The rest of the game's sound is pretty amazing--the throaty tone of motorcycle exhaust is perfectly rendered, and the little touches, like the different sounds that your tires make on different terrain types, also add some flair to the audio.
MX Superfly may get bogged down from time to time by the overabundance of minigames, but behind that small obstacle is a motocross game with great gameplay and solid audiovisual presentation. GameCube owners looking for some dirt-bike racing and freestyle action would do well to pick this one up.