For a game with ‘Madness’ in its title, you would forgiven for expecting something truly off the wall; perhaps even wacky in the vein of SSX Tricky or the kookier Tony Hawk games. But, unless seeing your avatar riding a dirtbike donned in Gears of War head-gear and cowboy boots sounds in any way ‘mad’ to you, Motorcross Madness doesn’t quite hold up its end of the bargain. What’s on offer here is a plain Jane arcade racer with about as much personality as a stack of cardboard.
Motorcross Madness trades in typical racing game tropes in pretty much every way that counts. The loose racing is familiarly arcadey and makes use of ramps and bumps to propel you into the air where a small number of X-Games-ish tricks and flips can be performed. You accrue boost this way as well, and there’s options to tweak your bike’s capabilities on top of buying new ones for later on when the difficulty begins to spike. Plus, the game’s career mode lets you take up a decent number of unique event types amongst the three distinct locations, ranging from standard racing fare to a slightly more palatable sandbox area in which you explore an area to find any number of collectibles scattered throughout the environment.
A basic online multiplayer suite works well enough to upstage the more predictable A.I. opponents found in the single-player side of things; and the Bike Club, which acts as a hub that tracks various in-game milestones, is also pretty neat. Perhaps the most distinguished feather in the game’s cap is its use of avatars as riders during play. If you read that last sentenced and winced at the idea of avatar inclusion actually being a ‘distinguished feather in the game’s cap’ then you were probably right to do so.
It’s a hard feeling to shake–there’s a good chance you’ve played this game before, just by many different names. The racing itself is perfectly fine and the tracks are well-made for the most part, but it’s all so incredibly conventional and boring. Unless you’re actively looking for a new generic arcade racer to play, there’s no outstanding reason to give Motorcross Madness a spin.
Have you downloaded the latest issue from GamerZines yet? Check it out here!