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     " This game doesnít make it too hard by using super cheap AI like some other games I like ***cough Ė ATV Offroad Fury -cough***. "

      Title: Championship Motorcross 2001: Featuring Ricky Carmichael by THQ

      Format: Racing for PSX

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: Motorcycle race with hi resolution graphics, more than fifty trick combos, and 28 top professional riders! I'd love to say more but...Well...It's just that.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: At first I was not impressed with the graphics in this game, but then I realized that I was comparing it to games I had been playing on the PS2. Of course these graphics canít compare to those, but for the PSX they are pretty damn good. There are plenty of textures and the riders have decent models. Even the crowds are better than most. They are still 2-D sprites, but at least there are a bunch of spectators, in a large variety positions. One of the problems, however, is that there are too many riders who look exactly the same. When you choose which rider you want to control, you are presented with about twelve riders, they all have different stats to suit your style, but they come in only two colors - red, and blue (well, ok there is also a greenish color that is barely distinguishable from the blue). So when youíre on the track it is reminiscent of Excitebike where you are the only driver that stands out among a bunch of clones. The other big gripe is the amount of draw-in that this game displays. I didnít notice it too much for the first few tracks I played (because they hid it well with winding, hilly tracks) but when I played the first indoor track it was god-awful. Every time I went over a jump I would see another one appear out of nowhereÖAt all times there is some part of the track either popping into or out of the screen. This is inexcusable, and takes a lot away from the presentation of the game. 3.5 out of 5

      Sound: The revving engines, the roaring crowd, the sound of tires scraping the dirt track, and of course the hard rock blasting through your speakers, it all seems so perfectÖ except when you race a track that has a crappy song along with it. And there lies the problem, you canít switch songs, so if you get a song that you donít like (which is the case most of the time for me) you have no choice but to grin a bear it, or turn the music off. I vote for the latter. At least when the music is off you can hear the sound effects more. These arenít bad; they fit the game well enough, they could have been clearer, but at least they wonít distract you too much. 3 out of 5

      Game Play: Although not as cool as other motorcross games that I have played this one does have its qualities. The racing controls are very simple and easy to pick up. Winning the first race is absolutely no problem. When you figure out how to equip your bike for different terrain (which I would have figured out faster if I had read the manual right away) you will find yourself able to win most, if not all of the races fairly easily. This game doesnít make it too hard by using super cheap AI like some other games I like ***cough Ė ATV Offroad Fury -cough***. Rather, in this game you have to win by being good, not lucky. You will find it hard to catch up to the leader if you fall behind, but the opponents will find it just as hard to catch up to you if you break away. Also your opponents wonít ever land their bikes on top of you. But it is a bit too easy to stay on the track, mainly because there is and invisible wall that prevents you from ever leaving the track (lame). The worst part about it is that there is almost no penalty for bumping into the wall. It may slow you down slightly, but it wonít cause you to crash unless you hit it really hard, dead on. 3 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: There is quite a bit of diversity in the levels. Most of this comes from the type of terrain you will be racing on. From mud, to dirt, to sand, and hardpack you will want to be prepared for each race. The backgrounds and surroundings range from being tree plentiful, to large open fields. But in a racing game the track design is the most important thing, and these tracks are really cool. They are full of high jumps and tight turns (sometimes right next to each other) so learning the layout is as important as preparing for the terrain. 4.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer: In almost all cases, I wonít buy a racing game unless it has four-player supportÖthis game doesnít. But that doesnít mean that the multiplayer aspect is completely absent from this title. You can play in two different two-player modes- single race, and championship. The races are still just as fun as in one player mode, everything moves just as fast, and the amount of popup is exactly the same (it couldnít really be any worse), but it uses the vertical split screen instead of the horizontal. I donít like the vertical split and I also donít like not having a choice. 3 out of 5

      Replayability: The fact that this game takes so little time to beat (in championship mode) gives its replayability a boost. Also the two-player mode helps out, but most importantly, it is pretty fun too. The only problem is that when you buy parts for your bike, they only last for two races, so you canít just have a super bike all the time. This is unfortunate, because it is always fun to race around on a bike that no one else can come close to matching you on. 4 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: No story. Probably good...Since anything they may have tried to add would be scary.

      Instructions and Learning Curve: You donít have to memorize a whole bunch of buttons, all you really need to know is the gas, and slide buttons, and how to steer your motorcycle. The rest you will figure out fairly quickly, but even if you canít there is a hint section at the back of the manual that is very helpful. There isnít a tutorial in the game, but there is a practice mode so you can race around the tracks until you think you are good enough to play against the AI. And the manual really does a good job of telling you all you need to know in a very short time. 3.5 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: This game supports the Dual shock Analog controller, and I must say the vibration that this game causes is some of the most fitting I have ever experienced. It takes up one memory card slot (it even checks both cards). The load times are reasonable, and it utilizes the power of the Playstation fairly well. A bit more time and they could have polished it up a bit. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:


       Over all this game was much better than I thought it would be. The graphics are good. With few problems, the game is fast and fun, with easy (if somewhat unrealistic) controls, and you can advance at a decent rate. But sometimes it is too easy because of the invisible wall that surrounds the track; this can actually help you if you hit it rather than hindering you. And the rumble is just so good!

      The Good: Decent graphics, varied and complex tracks, and a really good use of the Dual shock vibration function.

      The Bad: Tons of draw-in, mediocre sound, an invisible wall on the edges of the tracks that doesnít penalize you for hitting it.

      The Overall Ugly: There are better motorcross games, but as far as PSX games go, this one is good enough to keep you playing. It is fun in two-player mode and, if you donít have friends, there is plenty of ways to play by your sad, lonely, destitute, pariah Monkey self.

      What it's Worth: This is worth a good $19.53

Buy it direct from Amazon.com

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