Review by: Mike Laidlaw
Published: October 18, 2001
The infinitely quotable Oxford English Dictionary defines “mania” as a “mental derangement marked by excitement and violence,” or, “great and excessive enthusiasm.” Depending on your point of view, the entire sport of Motocross could manage to fill both of these definitions with ease. Certainly Take-2 Interactive and developers Deibus Studios think so, and they’ve set out to prove it with a release for the venerable PlayStation aptly entitled Motocross Mania. Hoping to capture the relative insanity of flinging yourself into the air on a lightweight and powerful motorcycle, this release is the latest entry into a swelling field of extreme sports titles. Given the somewhat sordid history of supercross and motocross games on Sony’s original system, though, one has to wonder whether the curse can be broken this late into the platform’s life.
Before tackling the challenge of Motocross Mania, it’s a good idea to sit down with the options screen and configure your preferences. While many releases in this genre will offer up a career mode separate from the rest, this time out everything you do affects your rider’s profile. As such, it’s a good idea to customize your man before he heads out to the track by applying a custom name and noting your career goals. Put simply, these involve building up a bigger bike, a bigger repertoire of tricks and racking up more gold trophies than you can shake a throttle at. As you play the various modes, your rider will be awarded prize money, and freestyle riding will award him trick points, which can unlock new moves that aren’t initially available.
Within the options screen, you can also hunker down in the garage and take a long, hard look at your bike’s configuration. Not sliding that rear wheel enough? Lower the pressure of the tires. Riding too stiff on the hills? Simply adjust the suspension. You can also tweak the bike’s engine to offer more acceleration or better top speed by sacrificing the other, while you can tweak the other end of things by changing the brake sensitivity and balance. While different courses can require different settings, any bike can benefit from an upgrade which improves one of the bike’s engine, brakes, chassis or suspension. These upgrades are sequential, and each level of upgrade costs more than the last. Careful purchasers can balance their expenditures to provide the dream bike by upgrading the suspension multiple times while ignoring the brakes, and so forth.
Motocross Mania consists of three main modes of play, including Quick Start, Single Race and the requisite Championship mode. The first of these, predictably, launches you straight into a race with minimal fuss. Pick whether you’ll race indoors in the supercross circuit or outdoors as a motocross rider and you’re quite literally off to the races.