Despite all the fanfare of the XBOX launch, Eidos' Mad Dash seemed to get left out of the hoopla. The game wasn't advertised much, if at all, and it quietly snuck out on shelves at launch with little notice. So does this title stand up as a solid XBOX performer? Yes and no.
Mad Dash has fantastic graphics, with bright colors, huge expansive tracks, and blistering speeds - at times. Unfortunately, the framerate sometimes drops below 30fps during play. At the beginning of every race, the camera pans around the starting line to show all of the racers; and, every time it gets the sides of all four in view it stutters, dropping below 30fps for a second. While running, you will see slowdown occasionally depending on the board, and the number of racers in your field of view; the underwater board seemed to have the most instances of slowdown. In 2-4 player multiplayer mode, there are even more hiccups, and in 2 player mode the splitscreen is vertically squashed. This game is centered around speed, so framerate hiccups do detract from the overall experience. If the game ran at a constant 30 or 60 frames per second, I would have given it an 8.8 in graphics and a 9.0 in gameplay. Unfortunately, because of the hiccups which may affect play I must reduce its score to a 7.5 in graphics, and an 8.5 in gameplay. Don't let this totally scare you off, though, as the game is still very fun and playable.
Mad Dash supports Dolby Digital 5.1, and has a moderately aggressive soundtrack. Sound effects and music are both very good as well. The only thing that brings Mad Dash down is that you can't use your own CD-ripped soundtracks; however, you do get to pick and choose which of the songs you want to hear while playing Mad Dash from the selection Eidos licensed.
This game is easy to play, and can get addictive quickly. Running, jumping, using powerups, and most importantly picking the right path through the 5-minute-plus long boards is all part of the game. There are several different characters, which all have strengths, weaknesses, unique personalities, and special abilities to help them win the race. This is also an excellent multiplayer game as well, which will provide you and 3 friends with lots of fun. Load times are, however, an issue sometimes; in single player mode, it takes 10 seconds to load before and after you run a race, then another 3 seconds to load "player data" once the menu screen to pick the next race comes up. Multiplayer doesn't have the "player data" delay, but it still has the 10 second track load. Lastly, there is the replay value, which may be an issue for some here. Though the tracks are huge and varied, there aren't many of them, so you may get tired of single player mode after many hours of play.
If you can get around the framerate hiccups and seemingly unnecessary load times, this game is a worthy purchase and addition to your XBOX library, but be warned you may tire of single player mode after many play hours.