MX2002 Featuring Ricky Carmichael
Bike games are often overlooked in favour of the four wheeled racing games and a look at the fantastic sales of the formula one games and the classic that is Gran Turismo 3, would seem to prove this. However if you like bikes or racing games in any shape or form you would be mad to miss out MX2002.
There is something for everyone in this motocross simulation. You can have straight motocross racing in Exhibition or Career modes (although you do get invites to take part in Freestyle events in Career mode) or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a daredevil you play the Freestyle mode and attempt to jump off/over buses amongst other things.
Ricky Carmichael may have his name on the box but the game is full of other official riders such as Jeff Emig, Greg Albertyn and Carey Hart to name but a few. The physics of the motorbikes is wonderful and you can feel the clutch and bounce of suspension through the vibrations in the gamepad. The handling of the bikes is also superb and you use either the analogue pads or the buttons, both offer very good control. The quality of the handling becomes evident in the Freestyle mode as the need for precise handling is never more so than when producing stunts such as Indian Air or simply pulling a wheelie.
Graphically the game is fantastic. Whilst it doesn't look as tasty as GT3, it still looks superb and there is no sign of jerkiness or graphical pop-up. Both the indoor arenas and the open air track look fantastic as the game takes advantage of the PS2's graphical brilliance. There is also the inclusion of varying weather conditions which adds to the visual appeal of the game.
The game is very accessible for beginners. In Career mode you must take part in 4 races before you'll be allowed on the 125cc circuit. In between the races there are tutorials that you can take part in if you wish. They are beneficial though and help you improve your lap times no end. The good news is that the tutorials are subtitled and the game pauses when they appear so you have time to read them. There is no real speech in the game and all info is textual so MX2002 is perfectly suitable for deaf gamers.
I have to admit that I am not usually a bike game fan as I usually either find them too arcade like or too difficult to control but MX2002 has won me over and both the straight motocross and freestyle stunts are furiously addictive. There is just so much that is right with the game that it just makes you want to keep on playing it. If you only buy one bike game for your PS2 make sure it's this one.
Overall Game Rating: 8.8/10 The best bike game on any platform.
Quality of text: 8/10 Good the tutorials are all in text.
Graphics: 8.5/10 The terrain textures are superb.
Interface:8.5/10 Very good, easy to use.
Gameplay:10/10 Supremely playable. A highly enjoyable motocross simulation.