Review by Dubble_G
"Best Game in its Genre"
Freestyle Metal X or (FMX) as I will be referring to it as later, was quite a pleasant surprise purchase for me. After picking it up in the local bargain bin, and not expecting much out of it, I can definitely say that FMX is a hidden gem of a dirtbiking game. Operating much like the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series in a dirt bike fashion, FMX brings the solid dirt bike gameplay of racing, jumping, tricking, and listening to rock soundtracks to all of last generation's systems.
Graphics : (6/10)
Graphically FMX is not stunning. The visuals are decent, but either not enough time was spent to make them stunning, or the developers just were not skilled enough to do so. Dirt bikes look realistic and everything, but the levels of the game could have used some more time and work. You have some nice different locales: a snowy mountain area, a rural farm, cities, a seaside park etc., but most of the texturing in the game is fairly low quality, and things like buildings, cars, and trees look kind of sloppy, or more in place with an N64 game. Aside from the fairly poor quality of graphics there isn't much to complain about aside from some frame rate issues.
Sound and Music : (6/10)
The music of FMX is about par with its graphics. You have a rock dominated soundtrack, but most of the songs are older, and come from obnoxious rock bands that get old very quickly. Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock gets old really fast, so I suggest just muting the trying too hard 80's rock soundtrack and listening to nothing, or your own tunes. Sound effects get stale quickly too, or aren't needed to be heard. The high pitched whines of the bikes about the only sound effect you'll ever hear, and you'll soon be sick of hearing that too.
Now for what you really came for in reading this review: the gameplay. FMX is set up primarily like a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game in which you have a series of levels to complete, each with their own goals to complete, tricks to do, race times to beat, and cash to collect. You'll start off as a rookie, and after completeing a tutorial you're free to roam the levels. For the career mode you'll go to levels riding around finding your girlfriend who gives you different goals to complete. There is a good breadth in what these goals call for you to do, and this keeps FMX fresh. In certain levels you'll be chasing coyotes, jumping over buses, jumping bridges, or doing tricks over a church. There are ten of these goals in every level. Some take a few seconds to complete, and one try, while others will take longer and get more challenging as the game progresses. Each level has challenges unique to its environment and layout. For example, the city levels will involve challenges and jumps over buildings, while the snow level has you tearing down ski slopes.
Besides challenges, each level has a trick contest to beat, and a race to win. Tricking is also a large aspect of this game. You do tricks on the D-pad with the Gamecube controller, and they are easy to pull off. Just a tap of the direction, along with X to pull the trick off. There are many tricks to choose from, from Supermans, to Cordovas, and Can-Cans. And what kind of game would it be without a large list of ridiculous special tricks? In this game you can pull of a large amount of amazing looking special tricks that will net you a large amount of trick points, and help you win those contests. In addition to those events, there are Dare Devil events. These are short little events that are pretty difficult, and just help you score some dough. As you progress in the career mode, you will unlock more dirtbikes, get cash to upgrade and tweak your bikes, and unlock more levels. Cash, and collectables are scattered in each level as well. Each level has money floating in tricky to reach spots for your inner collecting needs, as well as some in-game rider bio videos, and posters. These collectables help make getting to remote areas of the level worth your while, and help add some breadth to the levels once you complete the challenges. In addition to all of that, FMX throws a level editor at you. It's definitely not great, but you can make a few interesting levels if you have the knack. The level editor gives you a parcel of land to build on, and then gives you different objects to choose from and add to the land to make your park. Objects include dirt ramps, small bowls, barns, pipes, and buses. But in the end there aren't enough options, and forms of ramps and turns to make a very good park that just flows. It's worth your time to screw around in, but could've benefited from some more work.
FMX has multi-player game options as well. With a friend you can have races, trick contests, or do hill climbs. I especially like doing the hill climbs with a friend because they lead to hilarious moments as you try to make it up the semi-impossible slopes with FMX's glitchy nature.
FMX gave me the most fun that I've ever had out of a dirtbiking game. I've got to say its definitely the best one I've played, over Excitebike 64, MX Superfly, and Big Air Freakstyle. From the wide expanse of levels, to the fun challenges and collectables, and the ability to create your own park, FMX delivers pretty solidly in most areas. It does have flaws though; there are some graphical glitches, fake deaths, and some collision errors. The soundtrack gets old quick, and the sound effects in general are not great. But if you can get over these small problems, and are interested in this genre of games, you'll most certainly have a fun fifteen or so hours with the game. If you can find it, give it a shot. You may just be surprised.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/09/08, Updated 10/27/08
Game Release: Freestyle Metal X (US, 09/12/03)
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