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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: December 4, 2000
What do you do if you are a small game company and want to enter a niche completely dominated by one of the industry giants? Well, you pick a name for your product that sounds just like that of your more famous competitor, choose a highly similar box design, and even make the in-game graphics have a striking resemblance. That way, unwitting consumers might walk into a retail software outlet and accidentally buy your offering instead of the more famous one. That is exactly the strategy little-known developer Deibus Studios and publisher On Deck Interactive (a division of Take 2 Interactive) have taken with the recent release of Motocross Mania, in their attempt to get a piece of the racing action controlled by Microsoft’s Motocross Madness series.
In Motocross Mania the selection of bikes — always one of the first things motorcycle experts look at to make their purchase decisions — is moderately wide, with three different bike classes available. When you play, the program creates a rider file that allows you to choose the rider name and the bike and rider colors. The file keeps track of how many events you have played, how many events you have won, and how many points you have scored. As you ride along you may view the action from four different camera angles — rider cam (first person), chase cam (third person), heli cam (freely positioned), and TV cam (pre-set camera placements) — or in reverse to see who is right behind you. You may create custom bike and ride skins and give them to your friends; and it is even possible to download templates to use as bike and rider skins. But Motocross Mania contains no officially licensed bike models as in Motocross Madness 2.
There are over 20 huge free-roaming environments, comprising in over 12 square kilometers (compared to over 40 environments in Motocross Madness 2). These areas include heavy foliage, barren deserts, and even frozen snowy regions. Some of the terrain is rough and slow, while other landscapes are fast and flat. You may venture anywhere in each game world, not limited in the slightest way by artificial barriers. These settings are filled with static objects — such as hay bales and trees — but little that is animated or dynamically interactive. Some tracks look like actual real-world locales, while others are purely the product of the designers’ imagination. There is a nice fly-by at the start of each race to show the nature of each course.
Motocross Mania contains four distinct game styles — Motocross, Supercross, Freestyle, and Baja. These include indoor stadium-based Supercross circuits with the need for precise bike steering, Baja courses with major altitude ups and downs between waypoints, Freestyle competition with a variety of open-ended racing options, and outdoor Motocross tracks with the need to adjust quickly to rugged terrain. You may participate in a single event Quick Race within Motocross, Supercross, Freestyle, or Baja competitions in either practice or race modes; Championship tournaments involving Motocross or Supercross racing; or Time Trials within Motocross or Supercross racing against the clock. In each case you may select the course, number of laps or length of time, and number of opponents.
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