Ever since the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series of games, extreme sports games have done pretty well, and are usually pretty enjoyable games. The game MTX Mototrax was created by the guys at Neversoft, the same company that created the Tony Hawk games. It originally was made for the PS2, but Aspyr took on the task of making it run on Windows and Mac. Interestingly, the CD set contains both versions.
If you’re familiar with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games (which have also been ported to Mac), then the only major difference you’ll see is the fact that you’re on a motorcycle, instead of a skateboard, and things like “MTXpoints”.
For those of you who are not familiar with these types of games, don’t worry – it’s really simple. You start out as a basic guy off the streets, who can ride a motorbike.
The game’s characters go through some training with you – teaching you how to handle the bike, do tricks, and race in competitions. As you advance your way through the competitions, you get money, which means that you can buy more stuff. It’s pretty straightforward once you’ve gone through the training.
As you go through the game, you encounter characters who will challenge you to complete certain objectives – races, tricks, etc. If you complete them, you can gain money, or you gain recognition that allows you to move on to competitions, which, if you win, advance you further. There is plenty of stuff to unlock. Even after you beat it once, you could always go back and try to collect all of the loot, which gives the game some good replay value.
In addition to the regular game, MTX Mototrax offers what most other games have – practice modes, building tracks, and multiplayer over LAN or Internet. Internet play requires installing Gamespy software.
The only complaint about general gameplay is that the player tends to sometimes be a bit sensitive to things like changes in terrain. Maybe it’s just me, but my character often went face first into the dirt. Also, sometimes, he would take turns smoothly, but other times, it didn’t work so well.
Mototrax’s graphics are amazing. The detail is good, everything is smooth, and it really pulls you in, like a good Pixar movie. There are a number of different options for resolution, anti-aliasing, etc. The only problem is on some machines with lower-end processors and video cards – any that just barely meet the minimum requirements: you’ll see a slow-down in graphics some of the time. It’s very demanding on your card, especially when a number of characters are on the screen at the same time. But if you have a later G4 or G5, you shouldn’t have much of a problem at all.
The sound is pretty cool, too. The creators have taken clips that sound pretty real for the engine sounds, revving, things like that. Voice recordings are pretty well-done (though some of the characters are a bit cheesy). Background music? It’s mostly Slipknot, Metallica, and other heavy-metal pieces. If you like their music, this will blend in with the gameplay fairly well.
Like I said, the game is pretty straight-forward. There’s plenty to unlock in the career mode, as you work your way up. Even after that, you can create custom maps to ride on. Overall, the game’s pretty good. It has some glitches, but is worth the $20 tag (on Amazon.com). You can even play it with your Windows-cursed buddies, since this is one of those “hybrid” CDs.