Mention reboots around a group of gamers and you will no doubt start a heated debate. When you reboot anything (TV shows, movies, video games) change too much and you lose your initial audience. Keep everything roughly the same, and you may find your product isn’t relevant with today’s audiences. A few months ago, Microsoft teased footage (and later a playable demo) of a rebooted ‘Motocross Madness’, featuring the Xbox 360’s avatars. The game looks and plays completely different from the original Motocross Madness (released on PC in 1998), but does the game maintain that fun sense of speed whilst injecting the franchise with arcade-style gameplay?
Developer Bongfish Games’ name might not ring any bells, they certainly have a knack for arcade titles. Bongfish have previously developed hit arcade titles like Stoked, Red Bull Crashed Ice, and Harm’s Way. Harm’s Way in particular was a great game, and one that I personally spent a lot of hours playing with friends.
When Microsoft teased a new Motocross Madness (originally titled ‘Avatar Motocross Madness’) the footage and later playable demo created a mild buzz around the game, and with good reason. Absolutely anyone is able to play Motocross Madness, grasp the controls, and have a blast doing it.
As mentioned earlier, in Motocross Madness, players race using their Xbox 360 avatars. This is particularly fun as you begin with your avatar’s standard clothes, but you are also able to unlock motocross gear and themed costumes later. It adds that extra layer of customisability to the game, and makes multiplayer with friends more enjoyable.
Unlike the realistic tracks of the original game, this Motocross Madness has events taking place all over the world. There are nine tracks in total, and the cartoon appeal of the avatars goes hand in hand with jumping over pyramids and ancient ruins. Every track contains shortcuts, which can make the difference between a glorious victory and an embarrassing defeat, and many, many jumps and hills to trick off, which add to your turbo bar. The tricks are mainly over-the-top and unrealistic stunts you would be more likely to see in SSX Tricky than in a real motocross race. Naturally, the tricks compliment the game’s visual design perfectly, with your avatar back-flipping and enthusiastically screaming their head off.
There are two main modes of gameplay in Motocross Madness: Career and Multiplayer. Obviously Multiplayer involves racing random players and friends online, while career holds different events, such as championship races, stunt races and exploration events. Each event has a different pacing, and are completely different from each other. Races, as one would expect, task the player with finishing a set number of laps around a race track before rival racers. Stunt mode involves getting the highest score in a set time limit by performing jumps and tricks on different tracks, while exploration is played at your own pace, with different collectibles being placed around hard to reach and hidden areas around a large mass of land, made up of tracks from championships put together. It sounds boring in text, but it really is fun to figure out how to get that last floating skull, and they can also help you discover how to get the edge on other racers in the actual racers.
A popular feature of the original Motocross Madness (PC) was the inevitable crashes that occurred during a race. With modern ragdoll physics, the crashes in the new Motocross Madness are hilarious, and I’ve found myself laughing and reacting positively to a crash, even if it puts me well and truly out of lead of a race.
Despite the cartoon appearance of the Xbox avatars, Motocross Madness’ tracks look fantastic, especially considering they are in an arcade title. The only thing I noticed (though it was very infrequent) was texture pop-up, but it was only slight. I will say at times, it looks like there is a slight sheen on the avatars, but that isn’t a deal-breaker when considering buying this game.
The sound in Motocross Madness is adequate, but nothing to go crazy over. The music is all generic rock music, and whilst it is boring, it does sound right at home looping over and over in Motocross Madness. The bikes all sound different from each other, which is nice considering how different they all look and handle from each other. As I mentioned before, some of the sounds your avatar makes will definitely crack a smile on your face.
- Easy to play
- Good variety in the game modes
- Nice price at 800 Microsoft points
- Average sound
- Only nine tracks
If you are hanging for a decent, light-hearted arcade racer, then don’t hesitate to grab Motocross Madness. Its easily better than MUD, and the MX Vs ATV games, and it’s certainly more value for money, despite being a little light on tracks.
Score – 7/10