Genre: Racing Developer: Artech Studios Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1994
Motocross Championship is one of few Sega 32X racing games available, and hands-down the worst motocross game I have ever played. I had high hopes for it because I remember back around when the 32X just came out and this game looked cool, and I wanted it so much. However, I didn’t get it until just recently, and sadly my fears were confirmed. Just about everything conceivable is wrong with this game.
The presentation is only the first area where Motocross Championship fails miserably. The graphics are really, really bad. I mean the graphics are so pixilated that it will give you a headache. The bikes look like garbage, and the backgrounds look really poor. A poor frame rate is even more insult to injury. Shouldn’t this be a title to show off the capabilities of the 32X? The visuals are more like another reason not to invest in one.
The audio is just as bad too. The soundtrack will grate at you like a bawling five year-old; it’s so loud and annoying. The sound effects are more or less what you’d expect from a racing game, as they’re nothing special, but at least they’re serviceable. There are a few faint voices, but they’re pretty bad. Luckily you don’t hear them much. All of this isn’t too surprising, given the infamous 32X sound chip. Still, decent sound was possible on the system, as was demonstrated by Star Wars Arcade. I guess its incredibly short life span prevented developers from ever really tapping its potential.
Presentation aside, the gameplay is Motocross Championship’s main failing point. A lack of options and features is the first main problem (of many). I mean that’s okay, because in 1994 most racing games didn’t have many options anyway. That would be tolerable if the gameplay actually held up. Motocross plays a lot like the classic Road Rash, but this time with dirt bikes. The problem is that these are two totally different types of racers, and bumping and grinding your way to victory shouldn’t be the main focus of a motocross game. Players should have to actually race, getting to know their bikes and each course. Being bumped around like a pinball gets frustrating very quickly. The twelve tracks and are good and all, but they are too small and cramped. I really wish there were a time trial or practice mode.
I don’t really see how anyone will come back to Motocross for more than a few plays. Sure, there is a tournament mode, but with the bad gameplay, your patience will run thin. There’s about nothing else to speak of to extend the time you will spend on this game. Split-screen is supported (with a very small picture), but good luck finding a friend to play with you.
Honestly, I still can’t believe Sega approved this game for release. Is Motocross Championship worth buying? No. You can buy it for almost nothing, but don’t really bother. If you want to collect every 32X game out there, then yes, go ahead and buy it. Otherwise, you’re better off leaving the stadium early and going home.