|Publisher: TRADE IN-PLAYSTATION
Released in 1999.
3 Xtreme rocks your PlayStation with an all new 3D game engine featuring lifelike characters and panoramic 3D courses. 32 environments include narrow subways, beautiful parks, pristine coastlines, slick riverbeds and tropical islands.
|ALEX KIDD : BMX TRIAL|
Edité par Sega et sorti le 15 novembre 1987 au Japon.
www.jeuxvideo.com: Bien différent des premières aventures du héros, le jeu Alex Kidd : BMX Trial sur Master System vous place sur un vélo. Alex doit traverser plusieurs environnements semés d'embûches et grouillant de pièges en tout genre. Plusieurs bonus l'aideront heureusement à franchir ces obstacles et à échapper aux ennemis présents sur le parcours. Les niveaux nous emmènent du désert aux profondeurs sous-marines et du fleuve du Nil à Radaxian, la patrie d'Alex Kidd.
|BMX AIR MASTER|
Video game Cartridge
For Atari 2600
You'll start in the half pipe. Run the bike up and down, performing as many tricks as you can when you get airborne. Particular trick combinations will earn you extra points (see the instructions for details). After 90 seconds, it's off to the quarter pipe, where you have only 3 attempts to nail that "perfect trick". In the final event, you must jump the ramp, attempt to do some acrobatics, then land safely. You're only allowed a limited number of falls before the game ends.
|BMX: CUNNING STUNTS 3D|
|Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, september 2009: Everyone has iPhone nowadays, and everyone inevitably loves to stare at them when life gets boring. So let's say you ride BMX, or at least that you used to and now spend most of your life looking at your phone. Jump Games has a developed BMX: Cunning Stunts 3D for the iPhone and iPod touch. I'm not a gamer, so I can't say if it's good or not. (I like Scrabble.) But here are some of the finer details.
Eight character to choose from.
360 degree view of 3D environments.
Seven "breathtaking adrenaline pumping stunts": Tables, Cancan, Backflip, Tailwhip, Superman, Decade, 720.
And here's the tag line from the game's site: "Take you BMX ride to next level and try to finish the level without breaking your neck!"
Ugh. I should shut up before I trash this thing. I'm sure it's entertaining and everything, but I get pretty breath taken and adrenaline pumped from actually riding my bike, so what do I know.
|Electronic game released in 1983.
www.retrogames.co.uk: BMX Flyer by Grandstand. 1980s Highly regarded LED Tabletop game, in which you ride a BMX avoiding and jumping over obstacles. This game features Tomy's Color-Laser technology, creating a detailed backlit colour screen.
|BMX FREESTYLE AMSTRAD|
|Classic software for Amstrad 464, 664, 6128, Commodore 64, Spectrum.
Original concept: Peter Williamson
Programming: John Ferrari
Graphics: John Ferrari
For Commodore 64, Spectrum.
Published by: Firebird
Programming: Jo 'Gi-Jo' Bonar, Dave 'Ubik' Korn
Graphics: Paul Doherty, Bob Stevenson (Loading Screen)
Sound: Rob Hubbard, Jori Olkkonen (Hi-score music)
For thrills, spills and skidz, ride with the BMX Kidz! that is how Firebird advertised the game on the back of the budget priced inlay, whether it helped sell the game or if it was more to do with the BMX hype at the time remains to be seen but BMX Kidz is one of the few enjoyable games of the genre on the 8-bit range as you'll see in our review.
Graphics: As you'll see from most of our BMX game reviews the graphics usually take on a strict side-ways on kind of perspective. BMX Kidz on the other hand uses a very different type of angle so that you can easily see your opponents and the obstacles ahead of you, colours are nothing special but they are bright and when compared with some Codemasters games of this genre they are much better. The game does suffer from some serious slow-down when the screen becomes overly active and when all of the bikers are on screen at once, this can hinder your performance and certainly does little to make the game any easier. There are some nice touches in the game though, take a look at the signs in the background and the various power-up and power-down traps that line the course.
Sound: Sound is pretty much dead on arrival, there are a few pings and beeps here and there but nothing to get yourself excited about. Firebird could have done so much better but it appears that a leaf of Codemasters book was used as a reference for this game.
Gameplay & Final Comments: As we said earlier BMX Kidz is a lot more enjoyable than some other BMX titles by bigger and better developers. The aim is pretty much the same, get from one end of the course to the other and try to do it before the rest of the kids, this is much easier said than done however as performance issues in the game will do nothing to improve your playing experience.
If the graphical slow-down was fixed then this would no doubt be one of the best BMX titles on your CPC, it's certainly better than BMX FreeStyle by Codemasters and a lot more enjoyable to boot but it could easily become irritating and will take 6-7 attempts to get past the first race course.
For Commodore 64
Programming: M. Lister
Graphics: P. Bellamy
www.cpcgamereviews.com: It's a fight between you and the BMX gangs as you perform bunny hops, wheelies and backflips to shake off the enemy gang members on their BMXs, skateboarders and scooters. A meter at the bottom of the screen shows how far you've got to go to reach the next level. It goes back to zero if you're knocked off your bike by the enemy, which is an all too frequent occurrence - the skateboarders are extremely tough to beat. The graphics are awful and there are hardly any sound effects; it's a sorry excuse for a game.
|BMX ON THE MOON|
|For BBC Micro
|For Commodore C16, C64, Spectrum.
Race through the city park on your BMX keeping to the track, otherwise you will hit the oil slicks and slide or crash. There is a maniac on the loose in the park who is trying to run you down but if you get too close to the old lady she is liable to put her walking sticks through the spokes on your bike. Don't lose your head and you can be champion of the BMX Racers!
For: Atari 800XL/130XE, Spectrum 48/+2
Authors: Original: Richard Darling, Spectrum version: Tim Miller.
Description: Top-down Supersprint-esque game involving bikes, where you have to simply race around several tracks attempting to beat the other rider. Very much like Supersprint and it's clones, except that collisions are possible.
Original inlay card text: AMAZING REALISM - the burms, bumps and ramps really work - seven different courses, each one harder. Two player option and fantastic ACTION REPLAY option with SLO-MO - all make this the best BMX game yet !
"Great fun, especially as a 2 player game, I'd say it'll go platinum" Popular Computing Weekly Oct.1986
BMX simulator is a brilliant version of the epic Commodore 64 game. Eye in the sky viewing - amazing realistic simulation, the starting ramp, burms, bumps, water splashes etc. all have realistic effect on the rider. Two player option is included. Seven different, progressively harder, courses will test even the best player.
Richard Darling has achieved yet another breakthrough with the first ACTION REPLAY option, whenever there is a close finish you can see it again on the REPLAY - and if that's not enough, press the S key and watch it in SLOW MOTION!
Press N to change the number of courses in the Championships. You must complete each course within the time limit in order to qualify for the next one. Press S to start the race. You are then told, RIDERS READY - PEDALS READY - GO!
Press Accelerate the instant you are told to go - timing is vital, don't lose precious tenths of a second. Race as though you are in a real BMX Championship. The burns help you turn, the rough ground slows you down. All the hills and different grade surfaces effect the rider as in real life. Number of laps raced and time elapsed are shown at the bottom of the screen for both riders.
For Commodore 64
For Commodore 64
Developed By: Jetsoft
|BMX TRICK RACER|
Released in 2003.
BMX tricks AND racing come together in one hot game. Players race against the computer or each other with up to 4 GameBoy Advance players linked together.
Race and rip through tricks on 15 vert, street and dirt tracks in unique environments that take you through cities, jungles, deserts, mountains, snow and ice. Rack up your points with 12 real BMX tricks like table top, tailwhips, backflips and barspins. Survive obstacles including loops, collapsing bridges, ramps and 5 other bikers as you push yourself to the limit and race like a pro. Players race against the computer or each other with up to 4 GameBoy Advance players linked together.
|Released in 2002
www.bmxxxx.com: Hilarious scripted events written by Hollywood's best comedians.
Mind-blowing mature content that will have you belly laughing and coming back for more.
Create-a-Rider lets you make a BMX rider in your own image or you can build a bevy of BMX babes, your choice!
With the addition of Flatland riding, we now feature over 2000 different tricks.
Challenge your friends with a wide array of split screen multi-player games plus, for the first time: Paint Ball BMX, Strip BMX and more
Authentic competition levels - compete against other hardcore riders at UGP's Roots Jam 2002 or at the fabled Rampage Skate Park.
8 massive levels featuring superb game design and all of the freestyle BMX disciplines like park, street, vert, dirt and flatland.
BMX XXX is running on an unprecedented and unmatched 3rd generation BMX engine.
Lloyd Ramsay, www.fatbmx.com, december 2008: Total piece of crap. Dave Mirra knew a bad thing when he saw it and took legal action to have his name removed after it was initially attached in marketing promotions. The game depicted BMX'ers as sex crazed adrenaline junkies pedaling from one fix to another being Xtreme all over the place. The game granted you cut scenes of strippers for achieving goals and clearing levels. Several people will read this and buy this game instead of attending the next Interbike. Technically the game was very flawed with totally unrealistic physics and ugly block like graphics. If you ride a scooter in a concrete park or own an Insane Clown Posse album, this is the game for you.
www.agoride.com: Suite aux succès remportés par les deux premiers essais (2 millions d'unités vendues pour Dave Mirra 2 !), Acclaim prévoit de sortir prochainement Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 sur les consoles de nouvelle génération (PS2, Xbox et NGC pour ceux qui débarquent). Cette suite sera toujours réalisée par Z-Axis, développeur des précédents Dave Mirra. Au programme: 16 riders, plus de 1700 tricks, 10 environnements, un mode de création de riders, de nouvelles motion-captures et une bande son toujours aussi péchue !
Mais Afin de ne pas mélanger ce nouvel esprit plus "adulte " avec la renommée du rider professionnel Dave Mirra, Acclaim a changé le titre de ce jeu en BMX XXX. Beaucoup de X pour un jeu de sport qui ne manquera pas de charme. A noter que plus aucune licence officielle (sportifs et marques) n'apparaîtra désormais dans le titre.
Ce changement de programme vient du fait qu'Acclaim n'a pas souhaité associer les licences avec un esprit plutôt "trash". Du coup, Acclaim, toujours détenteur de la licence Dave Mirra, sortira un véritable Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 l'année prochaine, qui se voudra certainement un peu plus sérieux.
Acclaim sortira BMX XXX sur toutes les consoles du marché y compris sur GBA. Cette simulation de vélo reprend le principe de Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Cette nouvelle édition comporte toutefois une légère différence: le jeu propose désormais un mode Strip Poker. Dès que vous réussirez un objectif, une jolie demoiselle enlèvera l'un de ses vêtements (elle a peut-être chaud ?).
Il est vrai que BMX XXX ne fait pas dans la finesse. Il s'agit à la base d'un jeu de simulation de vélo acrobatique, réalisé à partir du moteur de Dave Mira BMX. Acclaim a cependant choisi un thème très décalé pour habiller le titre, un thème qui pourrait effectivement être résumé par les deux qualificatifs avancés par le porte parole de Wal Mart: vulgarité et nudité. Le jeu est en effet taché d'humour (très) gras, ponctué d'interludes graveleux, et a la particularité de récompenser le joueur avec de véritables strip-tease.
Acclaim assume parfaitement ses choix, "le jeu est cohérent avec lui-même", assure Gregory Fischbach, Président Exécutif d'Acclaim, interrogé par l'agence de presse Reuters. L'éditeur américain envisage toutefois la possibilité d'édulcorer le titre, si Sony le lui demande. Quant à l'éventualité qu'Acclaim modifie son jeu à la demande de Sony, aussi surprenant que cela puisse paraître, c'est malheureusement fréquent dans l'industrie du jeu vidéo. Avec 40 millions de consoles à travers le monde, le constructeur japonais à un argument de poids pour faire plier les décisions des éditeurs.
La sortie de BMX XXX est prévu pour le 19 novembre 2002 sur PS2, Xbox, GameCube et GBA.
Developed by Epyx
Available on DOS (1988), NES (June 1989), Atari 2600 (1988), Atari Lynx (1989), Amiga (1988), Sega Master System (1989), Genesis (1991), Commodore 64 (1987), ...
There are four events in California Games. The BMX bike race is a run through a hilly, obstacle-infested course as fast as possible. Surfing lets you hit the waves, doing stunts like riding the tube or 360-degree spins before running out of time. Similarly, halfpipe skateboarding gives you a time limit to try and perform as many handplants and aerial turns as possible. Finally, you can play with the footbag, which consists of keeping a small beanbag airborne using only your feet -- style counts.
California Games II released in 1990.
Lloyd Ramsay, www.fatbmx.com, december 2008: In 1987 California Games was the first game I can recall that ventured into the realm of the sports we love and that other people called us "crazy" for. Surfing, BMX racing, Skating and I think it even had a Roller Skater where your character was a girl. On the Skate ramp at a certain point the big one (earthquake) would hit Cali splitting the Hollywood sign in the background. Pixelated as hell and hard to steer the BMX racing was frustrating as much as it was a fix to get some sweet air off a jump. Looping out on the face of a jump was too easy. The track itself was a straight lined Helltrack littered with logs, tires and potholes. Very basic but a good start.
|PlayStation - 1997 - (...) vous pouvez sauter en cross up, table top, no foot, 360 et backflip. (...)|
|Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX|
|When: Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX for the PlayStation® game console hit retailers on september 14th, 2000.
Developer, publisher: Acclaim Max Sports, a division of Acclaim Entertainment.
"I am very stoked that the game is coming out. Being a gamer myself, I worked real hard with Acclaim to make sure this game is authentic to BMX and totally fun to play," commented Dave Mirra, who recently won the gold medal in the X Games Street Competition, making him the most decorated athlete in X Games history.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX focuses the aggressive spirit and tremendous energy of BMX riding into an accessible, trick-based action game for the PlayStation® game console. Riders are given an open track, a set of tricks, a bike, and the rest is up to them. The challenge: Take their rider from zero to hero in their very own freestyle BMX career.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, developed by Z-Axis, features: 10-Time World Champion Dave Mirra, along with nine other BMX superstars (Ryan Nyquist, Leigh Ramsdell, Mike Laird, Troy McMurray, Kenan Harkin, Joey Garcia, Shaun Butler, Chad Kagy and Tim Mirra); an innovative open trick system with over 1,300 possible BMX tricks; 12 interactive environments, 6 competition-based and 6 objective-based levels focused on vert, dirt and street riding; soundtrack featuring Sublime's "What I Got," Cypress Hill's "Dust," Rancid's "Maxwell Murder," Social Distortion's "Don't Drag Me Down," Deftones' "Be Quiet and Drive (far away)," Primer's "Loose," Pennywise's "Greed," Dropkick Murphys' "Never Alone," 59 Times the Pain's "Got It All In Sight" and Swingin' Utters' "Stupid Lullabies;" and the first BMX video game to have authentic BMX tricks motion-captured by Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is backed by a five month nationwide television, print and online campaign; a dedicated website on www.acclaimmaxsports.com; a comprehensive in-store merchandising program, including pre-sell video, window posters, valence cards and comp boxes; and cross-promotions with Slim Jim, UGP, Dog on a Bike Films, and Split.
|Dave Mirra 2|
|Released november 5th, 2001.
New levels, new riders including Zach Shaw, ...
|For PC Windows 95/98
Your main goal in Freestyle BMX is to win all the competitions by performing awesome tricks. Eventually you will attract a sponsor and be able to get better bikes as well. Once you have attained sponsorship, head to the local bike shop and pick out a new bike. Keep in mind, you must you unlock each competition by spelling a word at the bottom of the screen. To spell out words, you must complete the corresponding tricks in the proper order. Each area has 2 competitions. You must beat each competition to progress to the next level.
|GRAND THEFT AUTO|
|Lloyd Ramsay, www.fatbmx.com, december 2008: San Andreas, BMX makes an appearance but in the form of a rather dated drug dealer looking ride. Roam around aimlessly on the bike to find jumps in between car jacking people and listening to the radio. I believe it is near the first safe house in GTA IV, there is a decent mini ramp under a freeway but sadly you can only skate it.|
|GRAVITY GAMES BIKE: STREET VERT DIRT|
|Plate-forme : PlayStation 2 (PS2)
Sorti le 26 Juin 2002 aux USA.
www.gamekult.com: Gravity Games copie avec maladresse le genre et nous propose là un gameplay stressant, sans fluidité ni intérêt face à la concurrence déchaînée ces derniers mois. Coincé dans les calendriers entre un Aggressive Inline innovant, et un futur Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 logiquement dans la veine des précédents épisodes, il ne fait nul doute que le titre de Midway doit de se tenir à l'écart de votre PlayStation 2 avec sa réalisation médiocre qui viendra à bout des moins exigeants. A éviter.
|Commodore 64 - 1986|
|MAT HOFFMAN'S PRO BMX|
Released in 2001.
C4tini, www.bmx-test.com, june 2001: I thought this game would be the greatest video game ever to be produced. Once I had played the demo I knew I had expected too much. Then I said to myself, "Those boys are sure to make the full game loads better than the demo." With that thought in my mind I waited in anticipation for the full game to be released. Once again after playing the full game I realized I had still expected too much.
I think I hate this game so much because I love BMX and know a few things about it. The regular video game playing 9 year olds who don't ride will probably think its great and will probably enjoy it. If you look at the game it is pretty plain to see that the makers just wanted to make a quick buck and decided to adapt the Tony Hawks Pro Skater into Mat Hoffman Pro Biker without little thought or research. By its nature BMX is not that similar to skating. Even though the Dave Mirra game wasn't that good at least they gave it a little more thought. Those people recognized that BMX and skating aren't the same. They realised that in BMX you can modify the tricks, Mat Hoffman's didn't. So in Dave Mirra you can do a no footed back flip but in Matt Hoffmans you can only do a back flip and then a no footer.
The controls for Matt Hoffmans really are terrible. Why would anyone who knew anything about BMX make diagonal down right and square an X-up? An X-up would clearly be right and then square. That just shows they know nothing. Another thing that's shows they know nothing is that they call a sprocket stall a disaster. Seeing as they supposedly know about skating they would know that a disaster is a skating term which is 180 rock, but no they obviously don't!
The grinding is a pile of shit as well. What the hell is toothpick grind doing as the default grind? Go up to a rail and just press triangle and you get a bloody toothpick!! The default grind should have been the double peg. And how come there were only 6 grinds (7 if you count a disaster down a rail)? Why the hell wasn't it exactly the same as Tony Hawk 2 where you have 4 stalls and the possibility of 12 grinds. It's not like BMX is lacking grinds at the moment. Get Jim Cielencki out and he'd probably invent a few more for the bleeding game.
Another thing, which really lets the game down, is the animation of the riders. Some of the animation looks OK but then you see the Mike Escamilla handplant or the Rick Thorne footplant 360 tailwhip. These look like they have been animated by a man with pins in his eyes. Another bad point is the choice of tricks. Tricks like the Neil Armstrong and the toadstool. Where the hell was the tabletop, fufanu, abubaca, turndown and the wall ride? And I doubt very much if the riders had anything to do with their choice of tricks. I doubt we'll ever see Butcher doing candy bars or tabletop back flips!
Overall I hate this game and I would not recommend anyone to buy it. Wait a few weeks and the thing will be in the bargain bucket. I don't believe that Mat Hoffman put his name on it. Dave Mirra's game has its flaws but it's still better than this. Maybe if the both of them worked together and researched BMX more they could come up with a decent game. I now live in hope that the sequel will be good?
|MAT HOFFMAN'S PRO BMX 2|
|Lloyd Ramsay, www.fatbmx.com, december 2008: This game really brought the level of the BMX video game genre up with the ability to pull flatland tricks, really good maps/spots, clean graphics and having some kick ass riders as playable characters. As a tie in with the game a road trip was held and filmed with all the riders involved in the game hitting up the spots from all the game levels. An edited down version of the video appears as an extra in Hoffman bikes Testimony video. The game gave you a decent amount of freedom for example even letting you pull corner pocket airs and finding huge gaps. It was more of a park/street kind of game with the dirt riding being its weak point. Not quite able to break out of the mold set by the Tony Hawk game franchise but a good game nonetheless.|
|Paper Boy 1984|
The basic premise is the same but the gameplay has been twisted around so much it bears only a passing similarity to the original. You're still a paperboy (or girl) with a heap of fish wrapping to throw at subscriber's houses but nowadays there are houses (or tents, or trailers, or anything really) on both sides of the street. The objective is now a bit more ambitious, too - instead of just delivering a set number of papers, you have to build up a subscription base on each street by making prompt, courteous deliveries. This is a lot harder than it looks, thanks to the twisted streets and varying obstacles that are constantly coming your way.
Graphically, this isn't exactly pushing your N64 to the limit. In fact, Paperboy is "64" in name only, with untextured polygons all over the place and simplistic animation. It takes a while to get used to the cartoon-style look that this game has, though by the time you do you'll have been hooked by the fiendishly addictive gameplay.
|PRO BMX SIMULATOR|
www.cpcgamereviews.com: It's time to get on your bike again, as you race against three other BMX bikers to complete three laps of each course before your time runs out. Believe it or not, up to four players can play against each other. There are three sets of tracks - dirt biking, desert riding and quarry racing - and there's also a choice of playing in either standard or expert mode (where you have to choose chain and wheel sizes for your bike). It's tough enough even in standard mode - the first two courses are quite easy, but after that, the time limit becomes far too tight to beat.
SKIDZ is a sports game for the Atari ST.
"Hit the streets & take on the town on your skateboard or BMX bike. Your aim is to be the hippest & smartest kid in town!"
An arcade style racing game in which you ride around on either a BMX bike or a skateboard. So basically it's a Paperboy clone, an average game with reasonable enough though limited gameplay. Zzap! review: All those government ads where yobs dropping litter become instantly unattractive to the opposite sex are working! It's rad to be tidy, so you've set out to clean this city up by collecting litter while zooming around on either your BMX bike or skateboard.
On each of six levels your objective is to collect 75% of the litter. Only ten items of rubbish can be carried, so it's as well there's plenty of bins around. Picking up stopwatches increases your time limit, while half-eaten choccie bars and apple cores (urghh!) boost energy. But watch out for holes in the road, jaywalking pedestrians and pigeons!
Completing a level allows you to visit the shop to spend any money you might have picked up on repairs - to your bike and your self. Complete all six levels and you get to race against two other, computer-controlled rad lads (this event can be practised at any time).
Zzap! Issue 64, August 1990, p.74
|Available on PC.
Choose from 12 unique courses 5 tech bikes. There are various riders with different degrees of personality and guts. Do jumps and tricks from Bunny Hop and No Hands to "Time Traveler", a double back flip. There are 4 classes of trick with hundreds of combos and some extreme tricks. Start out on the Metro. Ride around town doing tricks to try to attract a sponsor. Unlock competition areas by completing selected tricks.
The box includes a Tech Bike as pictures. CD includes bonus screen saver and wallpaper.
Recommended Minimum System Requirements: Windows 95/98 (works on Windows 2000/ME), 266 MHz Pentium, 64 MB RAM, 125 MB hard drive space, 8X CD-ROM, DirectX 7 compatible video card w 6 MB RAM.
|TJ Lavin Ultimate BMX|
|Produced by THQ in 2001.
Available on PS1, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance, ...
Featured riders: TJ Lavin, Fuzzy Hall, Jamie Bestwick, Colin Winkleman, Brian Foster, Chris Doyle, Mike Ardelean, Dave Freimuth, Chris Duncan, Matt Beringer.
Up to date soundtrack and songs.
Selectable pro-riders, each with their signature moves and current sponsors.
Six distinct environments encompassing three separate BMX styles: Dirt, Street and Vert.
Tons of distinct land and air tricks like the Superman Seat Grab, Indian Air, 720's, grinds and more.
Fridtjof, AKA Matt Paddock, www.gamevortex.com review: Graphics and Sound: T.J. Lavin's Ultimate BMX screen shot Most things in life aren't certain, but one thing you can always count on is that a game with the MTV license will have a rocking good soundtrack! THQ doesn't disappoint with the latest in the MTV Sports lineup, T.J. Lavin's Ultimate BMX for PlayStation. Probably the most well-known band is the Kottonmouth Kings, but other rockers like 187, UXB and Millencolin make for some excellent tunage. Falling on your face after trying to get Wright Brothers with a bicycle has never sounded better! I'll be the first to admit that the X-sports trend in gaming has been played out almost too much, with the good games often obscured by a slew of copycats and posers trying to horn in on good marketing value and pop culture kiddies with money to blow. Ultimate BMX could easily have been another face in the crowd, but it works hard to stand out, and succeeds. The expectations for graphics are always going up, with Tony Hawk as the engine to beat. THQ manages to build some nice looking riders with good animations and decent tracks for them to race on. Sometimes, you'll run across a grainy surface or bad edge, but most of the seams in these levels are sewn tight. Although it's kind of weird, the funniest animation in Ultimate BMX comes when your rider crashes, and sprays blood on the ground. It's like Unreal Tournament meets X-treme Sports... Levels are wide-open and easy to navigate but I wished there could have been more to choose from, or at least some bigger tracks to explore and shred. The design is solid, but where's all the real estate?
Gameplay: T.J. Lavin's Ultimate BMX screen shot It's close to impossible in this world to expect some genres to innovate. Fighting games, driving games and extreme sports games have only to live up to last week's release, and everybody goes home happy. Which is not to say there's anything wrong with being very good in your own field. Games like Ultimate BMX make the point that it's okay to follow as long as you don't fall behind. If you watch ESPN or MTV for the extreme sports action, T.J. Lavin is a name you know. Not having been a big skater, I can relate to bike riding. I tore myself and more than a few bikes up back in the day, so I guess I relate more to this kind of action than the skating. All right, I admit I could never roll more than a few feet on a skateboard without putting myself in the hospital. There, I said it... Starting a single-player game in Ultimate BMX means you either take practice runs or jump right into the action with Pro Circuit Mode. Practice Session is one of the cooler tutorial modes I've seen, because even though the clock isn't running, you get a visual cue by pulling off new tricks. When you take off from a jump and land something you haven't done, the piece of ground you land on turns a different color. You can move around trying different areas to see what gets you max air for tricks, and even practice grabbing the items present in Pro Circuit levels. If a track isn't unlocked, you can't ride it, but especially since the items are present and accounted for, the Practice Session is a great way to perfect your moves on a Pro Circuit course without worrying about the timeclock. After you feel confident in practice, move to the Pro Circuit Mode and find the real meat of Ultimate BMX in both playability and depth. Following the now-classic model of Tony Hawk, each course comes with several tasks that earn you sprockets, along with objectives for points that also earn sprockets. Tasks are funny, and mostly center on damaging things around you with your bike. Parents may not find it funny, but I think setting off car alarms and scaring off pigeons while getting crazy air and pulling stunts is totally cool. With the sprockets as your currency, you buy your way into a higher stage, but can always go back and replay for points, sprockets, whatever... The main thing is that it's fun to try and get the tasks done, and while some games may have you rushing on to the next level, I found myself more than one time staying in a level long after I had to, looking to earn that last sprocket! Task-oriented games are hell for perfectionists. Levels are broken up between Street (urban levels with lots of stuff to jump on), Vert (big trick potential, crammed into a small space) and Dirt (not asphalt, not grass), so there's more than just one type of terrain. Each of the 10 riders can bring unique talents to the tracks, and you can choose the strongest rider for the track style you like best.
2-Player Modes are awesome, and help take up the slack when you beat the Pro Circuit tracks. The coolest mode for me in 2-Player is Turf War. Just like in Practice Session, pulling tricks off a surface in this mode marks it as your `turf.' The player who grabs all the turf wins when time runs out, and you can even grab your buddy's turf by pulling off a better trick than she did. Cool! Several modes rely on scoring the most points before time's out, and then there's Bomb Mode and The King. The King is funny, like a game of tag. Players chase each other down to be King, which is important since the non-King doesn't score points for tricks. Bomb is just like it sounds, you riding around with a ticking package that needs to be delivered to your opponent. These modes are great fun, and would make for a good time even if people didn't love the idea of extreme sports or biking.
Difficulty Level: T.J. Lavin's Ultimate BMX screen shot The sprocket system used in Ultimate BMX means nobody gets left behind. Sure, the individual goals can be difficult, but you can always leave off the hardest and still move ahead. Within later levels, the goals are consistently hard, but the point totals needed to earn a sprocket keep climbing. So, it really pays to string tricks together and learn how long they take so you know which jumps can support the big tricks. One thing that helps this is a feature that amplifies your rider as he nails tricks, until he becomes supercharged and can pull off crazy combinations. Without this, you're probably not going to make the really high point totals.
Game Mechanics: T.J. Lavin's Ultimate BMX screen shot The engine Ultimate BMX runs on is nice. Not Tony Hawk nice, but nice all the same. Riders feel somewhat loose, but pulling off tricks is easy as pie. The tricks are always button+D-Pad, and you know what button to use based on where you are. The () button does Bike Tricks, usually something crazy like a flip or bar-spin. The (O) button does Body Tricks, which include things like Can Can, No Footer and the lovely Superman. Finally, pressing the triangle button does Surface Tricks, mostly grinding or stalls. The amplified tricks are done by double tapping and using one of these three buttons, after you put together more than a couple great tricks. Points work on a modifier scale, depending on things like hold, air, difficulty and combinations. Control with the analog stick is fine, and since none of the tricks depend on combining button pushes or tapping LRLLR, you can relax and enjoy the ride. Some people may not like the simplicity of trick-control, and it is true that combinations requiring at least 3 buttons keeps you from pulling off the wrong trick. But, a small gripe in my opinion; most people will like not having to constantly keep the manual next to them to refer back to while learning. Ultimate BMX is instant gratification, but not to the point that the quality suffers.
PS2: The special PlayStation driver settings smoothed out some of the textures and seemed to lower load times, but the graphics are good enough already that you probably won't bother. The improvement was more noticeable in 2-Player Mode, maybe because it's more intensive on the PS hardware.
While most of the big-name extreme sports franchises are moving to PS2, Ultimate BMX is great for anyone who still wants this kind of action on the PlayStation. The fact that it's a bike game makes it all that much more interesting, and it's nice listening to some good tunes for a change. Sure, the formula has been done before, but since the whole industry generally thrives on copy-cat titles, I won't fault Ultimate BMX for being just what it is. In fact, the 2-Player Mode has enough good stuff to make this a recommendation over at least a few of the other extreme titles. Rent this for fun, and you just might end up wanting your very own copy.