Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000
Poopercross is more accurate. - Review By Mad Carl
My brother-in-law is an avid Supercross guy. He even competes in amateur races, and has actually done quite well for himself. Recently he decided to test the tensile strength of his left leg by flying over the handlebars of his bike, and letting said bike land on said leg. Oddly enough, this didn't deter him from wanting to climb right back on that bike and try it again. Silly me... I always thought when something went through the trouble of making it so I couldn't walk for six weeks, I should probably stay away from whatever that something was. Then again, that's why I write game reviews instead of competing in the X-Games.
While my brother-in-law was recovering from his accident, we played a lot of Excitebike on the N64. He even told me, in very excited tones, that Jeremy McGrath had a Supercross game coming out soon. The theory he had was this: if Excitebike was as good as it was, a Supercross game with Jeremy McGrath's name on it should be that much better. Even for a cynical old bastard like me, I had to admit that this theory sounded relatively plausible. After all, the first sports game with a star athlete's name attached was so revolutionary, it needed two big names: Larry Bird vs Dr. J. In its day, that game rocked. I also have fond memories of Mike Tyson's Punch Out on the old 8-bit NES, and more recently we have had the stellar Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Sure, you get your occasional Knockout Kings or WWF: Attitude, but in the case of major sports games, the ones that have a star's name attached are almost always good. Almost.
First up are the race tracks. In single-race mode, you not only have a choice of track, but can also select the time of day and the weather conditions you will race under. This adds a bit of replay value to the tracks, since you can try it once in the bright sunshine and again in the pouring rain. In addition to selecting tracks for single races, there are series races comprised of outdoor and indoor nationals. You can even create your own series by selecting from all of the available tracks. This is good stuff for two player gaming, since you can each pick a number of tracks, trying to pick courses that you think will benefit you and hinder your friend.
This screenshot looks pretty nice, huh? Don't believe it, it's a trap!
A few quick notes: The track editor is well done and easy enough to get the hang of quickly. It's too bad you can't design outdoor tracks, but what is offered is nice enough. The controls are passable, if a bit tough to get used to. Fortunately you are able to use the rather robust options screens to remap the controller functions in whatever setup you deem proper. Speaking of the options screen, you are able to adjust every thing here from controller configuration to sound effects volume to game difficulty and number of laps per race. It's good stuff for the control freaks of the world.
Then there are Jeremy McGrath's voiceovers. I imagine that a lot of reviewers might put these firmly in the Bad category, but there was just something so unintentionally hilarious about them that they found a place in my heart. You see, on the Motocross tracks, Jeremy offers up his advice on how to best run each particular course. Aside from Jeremy's uninspired, emotionless line readings (One Take McGrath, I suspect was his nickname in the studio), he will tell you to watch out for features that aren't in the game. Take the track getting slippery in the rain -- I never noticed a difference between sun or rain. He'll also warn you of poor track design. On the Steel City course he says to watch out for the "tricky off-camera corners." What the heck does that mean? It means the game designers and programmers were too sloppy to make their track function properly, so they had McGrath come along and sell it off as a feature! To me this is as close as most games ever get to high comedy, and thus lands it firmly in The Good.
This game is the definition of "blah." I can't manage to get any emotion whatsoever from JMS2K. Hate it? Not really. Like it? No. JMS2K exists in our universe, and I accept that fact. It is, however, so mediocre as to have made me avoid reviewing it for several days. It's not a good game. But it's not as colossally bad as, say, Spirit of Speed. How the hell are you supposed to write a review about something so dull and so perfectly below average? JMS2K reminded me that growing up, my friends and I treated the Acclaim logo as more of a warning sign than as a corporate logo. "Ack! Lame!" was our insisted pronunciation of the company name. Now I remember why.
Freestyle mode lets you perform tricks, although we're not sure why you'd want to bother.
First off, the graphics are incredibly average. So-so textures and low poly models from the PlayStation version of this game have made their way over to the Dreamcast. It bothers me that whomever was in charge of this stillbirth of a title didn't have the foresight to create the best, highest-poly assets that they could, and then have them downsized for the lesser platforms. It seems simple enough, really. If you have an artist spending X number of days creating a crappy looking, low-poly Jeremy McGrath with terribly bland textures, why not have him spend those same days making a good looking high-poly model, and then remove the extraneous polys for the PlayStation and N64 versions?
Next, the animation looks more like a marionette show than any kind of Supercross game. Aside from the fact that every racer at the starting line goes through the same set of animations at the exact same time (giving the start of the race the odd feeling of a trip to the Chuck E. Cheese Pizzatime Theater), the in-race animations are stiff as a board. I never felt like my racer was leaning into a turn. When the bike would jump, it felt as if it weighed nothing when I landed. There was just never any connection between the animations and what was actually happening.
Next: More Bad and The Final Word