Jeremy McGrath Supercross World
Jeremy McGrath Supercross World (JMSW) is a mix of motocross, supercross and freestyle competitions, not to mention the Baja freeride events. Such a broad coverage of styles in a single game is something that is difficult to achieve if the standard of the gameplay is to remain high. JMSW is a half decent assortment of biking elements but ultimately it comes across as only an average experience.
The game is comprised of a Single Event mode, Head to Head mode and a Career mode. The Single Event mode enables you to select a rider, a bike and a circuit to ride on. You can race on either a Baja, Indoor supercross, Outdoor motocross or freestyle. Head to Head is simply a split screen multiplayer variant of the Single Event mode. The heart of the game is definitely the Career mode. Here you pick a rider (see below) and attempt to progress through three difficulty stages, Amateur, Pro and Hardcore, for each style (motocross, baja, supercross and freestyle). You can go through the Career mode as you see fit. It is possible to complete all the difficulty stages of Baja and then go to amateur freestyle, for example, if you want to. Each of the difficulty stages for each of the different styles consists of a number of events. You have to be the overall winner of the events in order to progress to the next difficulty stage. Success unlocks extra tracks and features.
Jeremy McGrath is not the only professional in the game. Also included are the likes of Travis Pastrana, Tim Ferry, Grant Langston and Nathan Ramsey. Despite the wealth of professionals though it is disappointing that you can't create your own rider. Each rider has four attributes which are stability, cornering, jumping and stunt skill. In the career mode you are forced to choose one of the professional riders and to make matters worse all their attributes have been reduced to 1, with the idea that your successes will lead to you earning points that you can distribute to the skill levels that you see fit. If the developers were going to make you begin the career mode with baseline statistics why didn't they let you create your own rider?
Unlike MX2002 performing stunts during the races will actually prove useful to you. If you managed to accumulate a number of successfully landed stunts you'll fill up a boost meter. Once this boost meter is full you can press the 'Z' button to gain a temporary speed advantage. The boost meter can be filled many times. This encourages you to pull stunts. In MX2002 they were redundant unless you were in freestyle mode.
So far the game sounds pretty good but it's when you come down to the handling of the bike that things begin to take a turn for the worse. Control of the bike just feels too wooden. Powersliding is way too sensitive with only the deftest of touches almost turning the bike a full circle. Landing stunts are also far too difficult and time after time you'll see your rider sprawled out in agony.
Graphically JMSW is average. The game doesn't take advantage of the sheer graphical power of the GameCube. To make matters worse pop-up rears it's ugly head which is unforgivable. The developers obviously didn't optimise the game fully. The frame rate is constant for the most part although once or twice I noticed it drop ever so slightly. This didn't harm the gameplay though.
Thankfully the game is fine for deaf gamers. All information is given in text. The stunts are all acknowledged in text. The text is easy to read and uses a font that is easy on the eyes. The manual is brief but does mention some useful items and is well worth the five minutes or so that it will take you to read it.
Jeremy McGrath Supercross World is ultimately a disappointment. Essentially what we have here is the potential of a damn good game but it is let down by an unfriendly control system. If you persevere and adapt, you will enjoy this game. Most, however, will not want to persevere which is a shame because the series has real potential.
Overall Game Rating: 5.7/10 A flawed control system and uninspiring graphics let what would otherwise be a good title down.
Deaf Gamers comment: Absolutely no problems for deaf gamers with Jeremy McGrath's Supercross World.