Mad Trix are not for kids.
3DO has had less than a spectacular start on the PS2. Since the premiere of the system last year we've seen titles such as Army Men: Green Rogue, WDL: Thundertanks, and Portal Runner, all of which can now be found in the used section of any video game retailer for 20 bucks. 3DO has sort of been like that drunk uncle you never hope shows to the party, but inevitably always does.
Mad Trix features eight skiers to choose from, four professionals and four new freeskiers, each of whom is based on a real person except for a mysterious newcomer named Skier X. Kind of sounds like a villain from a Godzilla movie. Anyway, each player has unlockable equipment and costumes. Once you've chosen your character, it's time to hit the slopes.
The object of the game is to do what the title suggests - mad tricks, er, trix (ugh, 'extreme' spelling). You ski down various slopes around the world, trying to score as many points as possible. Most points are awarded when you get fat, ER, phat air and use the various shoulder buttons to do tricks. Before hitting a jump, you hold down X to charge. Most of the levels are unlocked when medals are awarded. A certain amount of points awards a bronze, silver, or gold. If, so far, you think you're reading an SSX review, maybe because of a bad link or something, don't worry - you're not.
Each character has a signature move. Jonny Moseley, for example, calls his signature grab the 'Nut Buster'. Ow. The signature moves lead to more points, though an easier way to get a big score is to find the point multipliers scattered across the course. There are also speed boosts, which, well, boost speed.
After almost every trick you perform, the annoying announcer tells you about it. If you perform a particular trick too many times, he'll say things like "I think we all know what that trick looks like," or "Is that all your momma ever taught you?" That's like forty bucks 3DO could have saved by not using this annoying voice actor. Luckily, you can turn him off. All the while the hip-hop soundtrack is reminding me to "get ghetto."
Aside from being a blatant SSX rip-off, Jonny Moseley hits a mogul when it comes to the physics, as they are completely unrealistic. This is most apparent when trying to rail slide. Pressing Triangle while next to a grindable surface will cause the character to slide on it with their skies. The problem is, you don't even have to be aligned with the surface. If the Triangle button is pushed, the character will magically cling to it, regardless of their location. It looks ridiculous riding parallel to the rail, pressing Triangle and watching your character do a 90-degree turn in mid-air to land on it.
Collision detection is also a problem in this game. I see that when I land I'm going to hit an ongoing train, but it doesn't matter because I go through it anyway. It's like playing the Patrick Swayze role in Ghost.
Graphically there isn't much to complain about because there isn't much there - snow and the skier make up most of the visuals. This also accounts for the games smooth framerate. Sometimes, however, there is too much snow and the lack of scenery takes away any sense of speed. Often times there is nothing in the background whatsoever. Not only does it make the game's seem slower, it's downright boring to look at.
Mad Trix is basically SSX minus the flair, physics, snowboards, zany characters and fun. Almost every aspect of this game comes from EA's snowboard hit. The moves, the announcer, even some of the menu screens are similar. The medals to unlock items and levels and point multipliers come from SSX. Oh brother.
But usually when a company tries to imitate a game, they take steps to improve it somehow in order to create an incentive to buy it. However, Mad Trix is only single player while SSX supports two-player. SSX also has more game types. Mad Trix has only two - counting the Training mode, folks.
While it's not inherently broken, Jonny Moseley Mad Trix tries so hard to be SSX that it loses any individual identity. If you're intent on buying this, at least wait for a couple of weeks so you can find in the pre-owned section for half the price. Or, better yet, don't.