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
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.