Decent Racer

User Rating: 7 | MX 2002 featuring Ricky Carmichael XBOX

Yes, this title is dated. With 2002 printed in the title, it almost met the criteria for a retro review. However, it couldn’t possibly be boxed in with that label, as it is as fun today as it was four years ago. You guessed it. It’s another motorcycle game. I am such a sucker for two wheels. This one is fully licensed and carries a number of real life racers and motorcycles. You can finally ride as Pink’s over the top boyfriend and Surreal Life star Corey Hart. It’s a shame that when you done playing the game you can’t leave with Pink like he can.

The controls in this game are extremely tight. You better get familiar with the clutch and all real life aspects of cycle racing, because this game incorporates it all. As with any good cycle game, you can shift the weight of the rider on the bike at various instances for various effects. Example: Pulling back does a wheelie, duh. What really impressed me was the clutch work. You can do little tricks like opening up the clutch in mid-air, so you can over-rev the engine and have an explosive landing. You can also use this over-rev trick when manipulating other various obstacles, giving you quite the boost.

The sound in this game is impressive, although it sorely lacks user created soundtracks. As always when playing these games, the true test comes when you turn the music down and listen to the bikes themselves. These bikes do sound ultra-realistic. In fact, little details such as changing your tailpipe can change the whole pitch of engine. Very cool.

Did I mention changing the tailpipe? Yes, unlike the vast majority of cycle games, this actually has cycle upgrades alla Gran Turismo style. While it is nowhere as deep as GT, it is a refreshing change. Who doesn’t want to bore out their cylinders and put a massive pipe on the bike?

The racing itself is fun, if not all that challenging. The difficulty is based on what bikes you select. If you go with the 125cc, it seems quite easy and I didn’t have much trouble placing up front in every race. If you go with the 250cc, then you will have a much greater challenge. The computer based riders don’t like to be bumped, and they will retaliate if you are a dirty racer.

This game gives you two main types of racing, freestyle, and racing. What I really enjoyed was the fact that both of these styles seem to merge together. You can do all the freestyle tricks you want, while racing! However, use common sense. If you do some outlandish five move combo, it’s probably going to take a lot of time and you are going to fall back in the race.

This is a pretty decent title. It has loads of unlockables and is graphically acceptable by today’s standards. Do not let the date in the title fool you. This is one of the better racers of this generation. Cycle racers don’t seem to have the biggest fan base and seem to often be an afterthought on the shelves. They often debut at budget prices. But this is worth the play. THQ really did it justice.