<I>Tony Hawk's Pro Skater</I> from Activision became a megahit last fall. Since then, dozens of companies have tried to bring fringe sports like surfing, sky diving, and other "me, too" extreme sports titles to market, and all of them looking to cash in on the craze. Up until now, none have matched the quality or replayability of <I>Tony Hawk</I>, and only a small few have come close, including this month's challenger, <I>Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX</I> from Acclaim.<p> Instead of using a skateboard to race against the clock and perform dangerous midair stunts for points and prestige, this game is all about daredevil BMX bike riding, so that players can aim to pull off a "Superman," "Icepick," "Tailwhip," or "Toothpick." In total, there are over a dozen unique environments, such as Camp Woodward's backbreaking "Lot 8" or the San Jose Ramp Club, to name two.<p> First, players must select their rider of choice, be it repeated World Champion biker Dave Mirra, 1999 Dirt Circuit Champion Ryan Nyquist, or eight other stars of the sport. Each of the riders enjoys his own signature moves, plus even more riders can be unlocked over time. However, there is no create-a-player feature, as there is with a few other games of this kind.<p> Fortunately, controlling the rider is a cinch to learn for younger or novice gamers, and there's enough substance here to keep players pedaling long after the goals are met. In fact, along with the "Free Ride" mode, the timed "Session" mode, and the challenging, career-based "Proquest" mode, there are 10 different two-player games, including our favorite, dubbed "B-M-X", in which the second player has to mimic the first rider's moves (remember basketball's H-O-R-S-E variant?).<p> <I>Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX</I>'s visuals
Ride as Dave Mirra, 10-time World BMX Champion and Gold Medal Winner, in the 2000 X Games Street Competition; Ryan Nyquist, Gold Medal Winner in the 2000 X Games Bike Stunt Dirt Jump; or any of a group of other pros in this BMX game for your PlayStation. The open trick system lets you start with basic tricks and modify them to create new moves. More than 1,300 different tricks are available, resulting in infinite combinations. Make your way through Vert, dirt, and street-riding levels, each of which has multiple objectives and hidden areas. Master levels to earn support from such sponsors as Slim Jim, Adidas, Haro, and Specialized. Ten different multiplayer games are available, including B-M-X (a variation of HORSE), Longest Grind, Sickest Trick, and Gnarliest Crash. The soundtrack includes selections from Sublime, Cypress Hill, Rancid, Social Distortion, Deftones, Pennywise, and Dropkick Murphys.