Review by ThomasRN

"The extreme sports game is so extreme that Dave Mirra's moved his branding to another title entirely..."

The game is bound to be controversial, and that’s clearly the intention. While at heart it’s a BMX title much like its Diva Mirra predecessors, the game is most often mentioned in comparison with Grand Theft Auto 3. This is due to the prostitutes, violence and general rudery BMX XXX brings to the mix, because otherwise it’s totally different. In GTA you play criminal; here, you’re just a streetwise kid on a bicycle, turning tricks (no, not like that) for reward. Unlike its real competitors, such as Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2 and the Tony hawks series, however, the environment you’re doing it all in actually sounds like the street rather than just looking at it. A pretty bad street, admittedly, as it’s all over the top as you might imagine from an extreme sports title.

Much like Hawk’s latest, you time in each level itself is (potentially) unlimited, with objectives handed out by other riders and pedestrians. These are frequently timed and can be retried any number of times without penalty, which al least cuts out repeated reloads. Why is your time only ‘potentially’ unlimited? Because, curiously, you have a health bar. Each bail saps a bit of your energy, and once you run out you’re dumped unceremoniously to the main menu screen.

Fortunately this takes some doing, but it still adds spice to proceedings, especially if the clock’s running low. What may sap your own energy are the crashes themselves: occasionally they’re funny, but mostly they’re just embarrassing. The bendy-limbed physics of old remain, but it rarely looks right and body parts frequently disappear through supposedly solid objects. Still, you’ll probably be too busy trying to work out what you think of all the swearing to really notice.

Dave Mirra obviously worked out what he thought, and bailed on the whole thing, hence the shortened title. Acclaim’s BMX-ing splits down two paths from here on, with the XXX game going its own way and Dave Mirra BMX 3 – in the not too distant future. The age group this is aimed at is unlikely to be offended by the language used, of course (in fact, they’ll be titillated by it), but for more mature gamers it could come as a rather unimpressive surprise. It grates after a while, as beyond the ‘shocking’ language there’s little said of interest: but then again, this isn’t supposed to be finely crafted story telling.

And your tasks are frequently as ribald – there’s a word we never though we’d use – as the language they’re given you in. For instance in the very first level, set in New York, you must help a man beset by dog****. He’s wandering around the park with a leaf blower, and the risks he faces are obvious. So to help him you must get the pink poodle from the pimp on the next block, returning with it clinging to your stunt nuts. The dog will then gleefully screw the pooch that’s messing up the man’s park, keeping it busy long enough for the man to blow it all clean. And don’t worry – no double entendre is left unturned. Another mission requires you to backie five prostitutes to a hotel as quickly as possible, as there’s a bit of a run on. Guess a party of evangelists just got into town… Keep playing to find more absurd and risqué challenges. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Even more contentious is the inclusion of Scores, a real life New York strip club. Computer generated strippers would just be embarrassing, so developer Z-Axis has gone straight to the source an made videos of the club’s girls. Nice work if you can get it. Of course, you have to pay for the pleasure of seeing the flesh, and collected coins can be used to bribe the doorman into letting you in. The films start off pretty tame, but soon pick up to include – amazingly – full nudity. This will undoubtedly be the most contentious of the game’s features (which I imagine was quite intentional). After all, it’s a tenuous link between BMXing and naked ladies, other than them both being nice to ride, perhaps… sorry. Still, Acclaim seems unconcerned about such things, and there’s no denying these women are lovely. They seem very friendly too. If you feel such things might offend you, don’t buy it. Or buy it and then complain to your local congressman. It’s a free county. Do what you want. See if I care.

Should you want your friends to join in with all the hilarious naughtiness, there are three multiplayer modes. Skillz is the most conventional, where the two of you compete to take the highest score and win. Paintball is more unusual – one of you must collect items across the level while the other tries to home in with a sniper scope. This is perhaps one area where Z-Axis has wimped out, as it has the distinct feel of having been softened after the fact. The scope looks like any other game’s sniper target, and the name and bizarre smoke trails seem at odds with it. And then there’s Strip Challenge…the idea here is to score bigger and better combos, and with each triumph your opponent losses a bit of clothing. Good fore the shock factor, of course, but a gimmick. Quite an amusing gimmick. Much like the game as a whole.

Verdict

Uppers
-Very large levels
-Naked Woman
-Create a skater
-Tons of challenges

Downers
-Crashes look stupid
-Not as funny as it thinks it is
-Can be a bit nasty looking
-Not as polished as Hawk

Graphics – Decent, but sometimes look a bit simple 7
Sound – Licensed tracks from various big-name bands 8
Lifespan – Big levels, loads of challenges 8

Overall Score
BMX XXX provides all the tricks and challenges you want from and extreme sports fame, and wraps them up in salacious finery. However, some might find it gratuitous. 8


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/23/03, Updated 02/23/03


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