Review by Pyro Vesten

"It's no Tony Hawk killer, but may be worth checking out for BMX and extreme sport fans."

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the awesome Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games by now. Not everyone however, will have heard of Dave Mirra Freeystyle BMX games. Born on the Playstation, the game has now foud it’s way onto the Dreamcast. Will it be a case of Move over Tony Hawk, because Dave Mirra is the new King of extreme sports games? Or is Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX just another of those ‘extreme sport’ games we’re seeing so many of lately? Read on and see…..

Before I get to the reviewing, you should know that this review will be a bit of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater/Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 vs Dave Mirra Freeystyle BMX affair, because the games seem to be in almost direct competition with each other. Let me also say right up, if you want to know which to get, and are only interested on ONE game, then get Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 without question, it’s one of the best games ever created and you can’t compete with that.

The bikes in Dave Mirra Freeystyle BMX feel fairly decent to control, but somehow don’t quite fell like they should. It’s almost as if the game is using the engine of a dodgey skateboarding game… *cough* *cough* Although it can be a bit annoying at time, it’s not a major hassle once you get used to the controls and physics of the game engine.

The main single player mode is ProQuest. This is pretty much the equivalent of Career mode in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The other single player modes are Session, in which you just ride a 2 minute run, and Freeride, where you can ride for as long as you want to, and tricks don’t tally up. Freeride is a good place to get to know levels a bit better.

In ProQuest on the normal levels you have 12 challenges to complete over three difficulty levels, Amateur, Pro and Hardcore. As you can guess, the Pro challenges are harder than the Hardcore challenges, and the Hardcore challenges are really that, hardcore. Grinding 60 ****ing meters in one go? Even in a video game, that’s just nuts. This challenge is pretty much just the usual as far as the hardcore challenges go, which means that beating the game won’t be a simple task. When you complete all 4 challenges on one difficulty level you will unlock a tip, new sponsor, new outfit, new level or special trick as well as the next 4 challenges.

There are over 10 different levels for you to ride in, some indoors, some outdoors, some dirt, some competition. Different challenge objectives will vary from level to level. The levels are fairly well designed but do however lack the genius design found in that other game.

As you progress through the game you can get new bikes (with better stats) which will help you out on some of the harder challenges. There are over 10 riders to complete the game with as well.

One of the big flaws of Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is that all-too-often you’ll come across a range of different glitches. Usually these are clipping issues (like getting stuck to walls and in corners). It’s a shame that they weren’t at least fixed up a little in the transition from Playstation to Dreamcast, but they don’t get in the way of gameplay too often..they’re just bloody annoying at times.

There’s plenty of stuff to unlock, and overall the game plays pretty well, but like I’ve said, it’s got NOTHING on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games.

The game is far from jaw-dropping visually, I’ll tell you that. The textures are a little on the dull side, and could have been a lot more detailed, as well as varied and unique. I guess being originally designed on the Playstation can be blamed for this.. The character models are pretty decent, but again, nothing worth writing home about. The models are certainly much better than the Playstation version, but at the same time they haven’t been fully optimised for the Dreamcast which is a shame.

Everyone knows that an extreme sports game is not complete without a rockin’ soundtrack. Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX’s audio is a real mixed bag. The sound effects aren’t much chop but they do the job. The music is where the real problems come in to play though. The music tracks are all licensed songs (however they’re not sampled at a very high quality). Some of the songs are horrible, while others aren’t too bad. I suppose it’s up to your musical tastes for the most part, but I can still find myself appreciating songs I wouldn’t normally like if they suit the game well, unfortunately the game features a playlist of songs that don’t seem to fit in as well as they could, so it’s a matter of taste really. If you’re looking for a great extreme sports soundtrack, go play hawk.

I’ll give Dave Mirra Freeystyle BMX one thing. It has piss-loads of multiplayer modes to play. Includes are best run (you’ve got two minutes to get a massive score. Highest score wins), high five (you and a friend each get five attempts to pull off the best trick combo), B-M-X (just like the HORSE game from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. One player does a trick, the next player must do a better trick or they’re stuck with a letter from a word. First to spell the word loses), the self explanatory longest grind, highest walltap, furthest jump, big air contest and longest manual and more.

The multiplayer modes themselves can get a tad boring after a only a few tries, but due to the nice selection when you get bored of one mode you’ve got plenty more to give a whirl.

Once you’ve completed the game with one rider, you may or may not want to complete it with another. Unlocking everything will require players to go through the painfully tediuous task of beating the game with all rides. This would be fair enough if the game was as fun to play as certain other games, but being how it is, you’ll be lucky to want to beat it more than once or twice.

I’d have to say that Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is a bit on the hard side. Some of the challenges are very, very difficult to successfully complete, and it seems at times that your stats aren’t high enough for the game to be of a reasonable difficulty level. Combine the difficulty with slightly clunky controls and some clipping glitches and I’d say the game leans just a little too far towards the hard side of things for my liking.

Pros
- ****loads of stuff to unlock and earn
- Heaps of objectives
- Over 10 tracks
- More than 10 pro BMX riders
- Lots of multiplayer modes

Cons
- The Graphics are nothing that great
- The sound could have been sampled at a higher rate
- Most of the music is pretty crap

Overall Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is a fairly decent game. It could have been much better, and has got nothing on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games but it’s not horrible. If you’re a BMX fan I’d check it out, and if you’re after an extreme sports alternative to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 then you may also want to look into it. There are however plenty of other alternatives on the market that are better than Dave Mirra.

If you do decide to check it out, I’d highly suggest rending or borrowing it before laying down the cash to buy it. I got it cheap so it was worth my money, but the game is nothing special.

7.1/10 – Somewhat flawed but worth checking out for BMX and extreme sport fans.
(Rounded to 7/10 for GameFAQs)


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/06/01, Updated 11/29/03


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