Look Ma, no hands!
Don't you love it when you come across a game that flashes you back to your younger years? Remember the game Paperboy? That game took me back to my days as a wee lad tossing papers through the neighborhood windows. Ah, the fond memories.
Likewise, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX reminds me of the days I spent flying wildly down dirt hills on my trusty old bike. Fortunately, this game is much easier on my butt than my old bike ever was.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX on the Dreamcast is everything that its PSX predecessor is and a little more. If you have never seen the PSX version or didn't read my review of it, allow me the pleasure to praise it again. DM BMX is a free-roaming, high-flying romp in the dirt that offers hours of addictive entertainment and stiff challenges. There, I feel better.
Each level gives players a two-minute time limit in which to meet as many of the level goals as possible. There are three degrees of difficulty for each level: Amateur, Pro and Hardcore. You start off with amateur challenges; simple stuff like hopping over a log or scoring 5000 points in a run. Completing these will gain you access to new levels and earn you sponsorships.
The challenges quickly get out of hand by the time you hit the Hardcore level and you'll find yourself trying over and over again to do insane stunts, like pulling three consecutive back flips across a six-pack of dirt mounds. Don't worry, because all your hard work will pay off in the end to the tune of new bikes and outfits.
The control is a trick/modifier scheme reminiscent of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games, which allows for countless combinations resulting in a ton of trick combos. After a few rounds it becomes so instinctual that some incredible stunts start becoming second nature. As an added feature, pulling a new trick like a 720 No-handed Superman will add itself to the trick list, so you can remember how you ever pulled it off in the first place.
The levels are big and well designed. It's easy to keep flowing from ramp to ramp with some sweet grinds in-between. There are also plenty of secret areas to either unlock or discover. This really adds to the longevity of this game as it's gonna take a long time to get sick of any of the levels.
Graphically, you won't find anything special. The environment is a bit clunky and the levels feel like they were built with Legos, since everything is in big rectangular blocks. At least the textures are good, and the character animations are cool. I was just waiting to see bones poking through skin after some of my more extreme bails.
To keep the adrenaline flowin', Acclaim mixed a great soundtrack. From old-school punk like Social Distortion to the rap stylings of Cypress Hill, the music really keeps the energy high.
I like the fact that the game incoporates full screen two-player; DM BMX has some impressive levels, and splitting the screen would only drag the game down. Turn-based games like H-O-R-S-E or highest single trick score are fun.
Still missing in action is a level editor; it seems like every game of this type from Tony Hawk to Sno-Cross has one. I was hoping that one of the developers had read my previous review before porting this over to the DC, but I guess that just wasn't the case. Well, no use crying over spilt milk. The lack of a level editor doesn't detract from the gameplay; but it definitely would have been a nice addition.
New to the Dreamcast version is a pause feature in the replays. It's not as precise as NFL 2K1, but you can pan around a little bit to catch that moment before you eat the pavement.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX for the Dreamcast is another success. The addictive gameplay along with clean textures and smooth animations produce a rock solid game. The lack of a level editor is something of a letdown, but I guess we'll have to just wait for Dave Mirra 2.