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Z-AXIS
Acclaim
Sports
1-2
11.28.01

Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2


Far and few between do extreme sports games actually come off without a hitch. With several extreme sports games out on the market these days, you'll find that the pickings for the XBox and the GameCube are rather limited in what to offer. A release on both the GameCube and the XBox marks the beginning of the emulation in which both companies try to gather as many titles and create a library for their respective systems! While this isn't a bad thing in any sense of the word, you will find that if you've played through the PS2 version of Dave Mirra 2, there are just no visible improvements that you will find in the game play or anything else for that matter.

The true difference between the two versions is the control factor. While the XBox controller has too much bulk and is a little awkward to work with, the GameCube controller has its set-up and design a little off-kilter for my tastes. Considering that there are thousands of possible tricks that you can link together, it takes plenty of practice and patience to get through the game and do so effectively without going too crazy on the control pads! With a brand new trick system in place that allows you to perform over 1500 different tricks, as well as several large and expansive levels that will test your trick abilities, Dave Mirra sits on the top of the pile, holding the extreme sports title.

Gameplay

Where to start!? Dave Mirra has some of the most comprehensive game play to date in terms of the amount of tricks, trick lines and in game challenges anywhere. You can select from thousands of tricks, for 16 different riders, your skills will be put to the test through 7 different stages with over 20 challenges for each! You'll ride through the infamous Woodward Camp, to an industrial area, and even through a busy highway at dark. The game revolves around being able to perform several different challenges that rank from the easy to the insane, and through this, you'll gain Respect Points which will allow you to advance to different stages, unlock new bikes, and invite you to the different competitions.

Dave Mirra also features a gnarly multiplayer mode that allows you to do different events from proving that you're the supreme trickster with a Best Run mode, or to appease the twisted gamers out there, break your head open with a Wipe Out option! Aside from that, you'll find that there is virtually no change from the Playstation 2 title to both the Game Cube and the XBox. This will come as nothing of a surprise to some gamers, but those of you who are looking for some system-only type of improvements, just will not find them here in these two versions of Dave Mirra. Everything, from the Park Editor to the different stages that you have to complete challenges in has not changed in one single way since the PS2 release!

Tight control, and tight control means that pulling off tricks is easy to do with enough practice! Different buttons perform different actions, and the control set-up allows you to perform multiple tricks without much difficulty. Anyone who has played through the Tony Hawk games, will recognize the control set-up and beomce rather accustom to it after a few minutes, or it can easily be changed in the options interface. The only thing that I can say about the XBox version of the game is that the controller is so large and heavy, it'll take some gamers a little bit of practice to get through the different tricks and complete some of the level goals. While this isn't anything that some practice and patience won't get you through, it can be a little tiresome to try and link together a high scoring combination in a contest, and only have it fail because your finger touched an over sensitive button! The XBox controller just doesn't seem to have the right feel and overall handling that you may have run into with the PS2 version of the game. Disappointing to say the least, the XBox version was the more difficult of the three versions of the game that I've played, and it truly does take some serious practice to get the high-end tricks to work.

Sound

Sum 41, Ozzy Osbourne and several other well known musical groups all contribute to the soundtrack of Dave Mirra 2. There is nothing like listening to Ozzy crooning and a Tribe Called Quest blaring while you're busting out a huge trick combination! The sound effects on the other hand are relatively low and boil down to grinding sounds, cars honking and the grunt and groan of your rider smashing into the wall or ground when landing wrong! With the Play Station 2 version being chief among the versions because of an earlier release, you'll still find that the XBox and the Game Cube both do the game music and sound justice throughout Dave Mirra, simply because of the CD format that the games are printed on! As with the other version of the game, everything here is virtually unchanged in the audio department, and gamers on either system (XBox and Game Cube) will find that there is plenty for the ears to help guide them through the game with no problems.

Graphics

Clean and clear, every rider is life-like, and each stage is huge and well detailed with plenty of action in the tricks, and in the background as well! What keeps this from being perfect is the fact that with some tricks in certain areas, you'll find that the image slows down, or that the camera angle blocks the way of seeing your rider. Other than that, everything moves with proficent speed, and you'll be a little dizzy when trying to bust out a no hander double backflip, and trying to get your landing just right for the maximum score! Again, with both of the versions that are available through the XBox and the Game Cube, there are no noticeable difference between the versions, other than the Game Cube looks to be a little more muted than the XBox version. These smaller differences with the game will not really throw too many people off who have played the game before, and if you've never played the title on the PS2, then you'll find that both versions of the game are just as clean and fluid as the other!

Dave Mirra is the closest that you're going to get to a good extreme sports game for a while, and it does beat out anything on the BMX game market right now. With impressive speed, killer soundtrack and a sick trick list that can be modified up into the hundreds, gamers will have plenty to do, and hardly anything to complain about! Worth a rental at the very least, hardcore BMX fans will probably want to add this to their collection with all of the famous faces and all the killer tricks available in this title. But that is where the comparison of the game really begins, because it is nothing different than the PS2 version, having been available for quite some time now.

Bottom Line:

The XBox version of the game is something that is worth taking notice of, simply because the visuals aren't as muted as they appear on the Game Cube version of this title. Although the game is the same title that you'll play elsewhere, and nothing has been added to the overall game play itself, the control interface that you're dealing with here is something that just doesn't seem to cut it! The over-sized controller just doesn't seem to have the ability to effectively throw off the tricks that you're looking for, and if you're into high-scoring runs, it might just take you a while to get through them.

-Drew Guirey



9.3
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