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Like your motorcycle games big, bold, and beautiful? All those superlatives and more apply to Motocross Madness 2, the sequel to one of the most fun (if not the most realistic) motocross simulations ever created.
This sequel improves on the original by offering larger racing environments, more modes of play, and much more detailed graphics. The environments now have a full complement of trees, cacti, bushes, and other solid objects to smack into, and some game modes even introduce highway traffic into the mix. There's nothing like jumping over a moving semi on your way to the finish line! The new Pro Circuit career mode adds a lot of replayability (and long-term strategy) to the game, and fun multiplayer modes like tag offer a refreshing break to standard racing when playing online.
On the downside, all the new graphical goodness requires some serious computer hardware. While a 3-D accelerator isn't required, that's a little like saying your car doesn't need an engine because you can still push it. With a decent 3-D card, at least a 350 MHz processor, and plenty of RAM, however, the game really comes to life. Those of you with 3-D audio cards are also in for a treat, as it becomes possible to tell where other riders are just by listening.
It took some time to get used to Motocross Madness 2's completely over-the-top physics. Hitting even a minor jump launches the bike straight up into the air, and bigger hills can leave you staring down at the treetops for over five seconds. It's a little ridiculous, but once we gained some familiarity with the tracks it actually made the game a lot of fun. More air time means more chances to perform outrageous aerial stunts, from the Tail Grab to the back-bending Cordova. Unfortunately, it also means unfortunate encounters with trees are much harder to avoid.
If you buy sports games based only on their ability to realistically portray the sports they are simulating, Motocross Madness 2 will disappoint. For those of you who like big air, big stunts, enormous open environments, and lots of challenging arcade action, this game is better than its predecessor in every way. --T. Byrl Baker
- Detailed, interactive environments
- Career mode keeps players coming back for more
- Outrageous arcade physics model
- Steep hardware requirements
- Computer opponents are extremely challenging regardless of difficulty level
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The game has a few glitches on Windows 2000 that I've learned to live with. Occasionally, the keyboard controls stop working. I've had the game crash on me a few times, and I've had difficulty getting other players on the LAN to see my hosted matches on occasion, but can usually get it to work after a few tries. Additionally, the guys I play with claim that the game gives me a 3 second advantage in some network games, and I'd have to concur. I've had several occasions where visually I come in behind another rider, but in the standings, I'm shown in the lead. These glitches aside, the game is really fun.
I noticed someone mentioned how realistic the physics model is, and I'd have to disagree completely. Part of the fun of this game is that it is totally unrealistic. Gravity is significantly weakened, which gives the feeling of riding on the moon. Quite a bit of the game is spent in some outrageous jumps, which can be challenging to land, but are great fun.