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July 30, 2001

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page


Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2




November 2001


How many BMX games have been good enough to spawn a sequel? Xbox gets in on the BMX action.

While "alternative" sports titles have been around since the beginning of time (does anybody remember the original Skate or Die?), it is only with the recent moniker switch to "extreme" sports that the genre has taken off in popularity. This new popularity is reflected in the wide scale acceptance of such extreme sports titles as Tony Hawk and SSX.

While not as flashy as the boarded sports, BMX has been around for a number of years. One of the stars of the sport recently had a game named after him that not only pleased critics, but also sold respectably enough to warrant a sequel. That sequel is headed for Xbox.

Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 doesn't look to bend the "extreme" sport videogame genre out of shape, but merely deliver upon the promise of the first title. With eight pre-made levels that are four times the size of on the previous title, gamers should be in for a nice treat.

For example, Woodward Camp, in the previous game, was broken up into four separate levels. In the sequel, it becomes one gargantuan place to get lost in. The levels are not only massive in size, but in the amount of detail as well.

Almost every aspect of the environments will be interactive in one form or another. The construction zone in the Commercial District will feature a building that, if you are not careful, will give you a five-story drop. Other levels include a warehouse and train yard, as well as a swamp area.

But you won't be restricted to the levels that come packed in the game. A level creator is being included, with hundreds of pieces with which to choose from. After seeing the amount (and detail) of items this particular feature has, this could be one of the major selling points of the game.

Of course, if you are going to put Freestyle in the name of the game, you had better code some tricks into it. Developer Z-Axis isn't sitting on its laurels in this department. Utilizing a trick modifier, gamers will be able to string together two separate tricks, enabling the creation of a new trick. All in all, 1,500 trick combinations will be available.

While each trick has been motion captured, the transition from trick to trick has not. In order to do this some crafty programming was needed, and the S.I.K. (Skeletal Inverse Kinematics) was created. This bit of programming is what will allow gamers to fluidly move from one trick to the next.

Of course, not just anybody is on the bike performing these tricks. The game may be sporting ten-time world champ Dave Mirra's name, but he isn't the only rider available. Joining him will be Ryan Nyquist, Colin Mackay, Joey Garcia, John "Luc-E" Englebert, Kenan Harkin, Leigh Ramsdell, Mike Laird, Rick Moliterno, Scott Wirch, Tim Mirra, Todd Lyons, Troy McMurray, and Zach Shaw.

Naturally, riders will have their own signature move. You will have the chance to take the pro of your choice through the ProQuest Experience and earn the sponsorship of over 40 real BMX sponsors. One wonders if the game might be called BMX Champ Sim.

Of course, this type of game will require the proper sounds. So far, Ozzy Osborne, The Cult, Methods of Mayhem, and Godsmack have lent tunes to the title. The graphics on the early build of the game looked impressive as well. And with the planned inclusion of multiplayer options, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX could be a welcome addition to any game library.

With a release date sometime in November, Z-Axis has plenty of time for the minor tweaking and graphical fixes needed to make Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX one of Xbox's most sought after extreme sports titles.

Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Remembers the birth of BMX.

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