Does Jeremy McGrath Supercross World achieve the same amount of excellence as ExciteBike 64, or does it fail as miserably as Jeremy McGrath Supercross World? You get one guess!
When Acclaim released Jeremy McGrath Supercross World on the GameCube, they proudly touted the title as being the very first motocross game for the system. While this was technically true, it’s pretty much the only thing Acclaim successfully accomplished. The mentality of buying Supercross World because it was the first GameCube MX game ever released is equal to picking up Universal Studios for being the first ever amusement park simulator. Even if you’re a die-hard motocross fan, the only people who I’d recommend this title are supercross enthusiasts who don’t take their helmets off after they’re done racing.
Graphically, Supercross World looks like an N64 game with an extra handful of polygons. I apologize to all N64 games reading this for the comparison. The game sports some of the worst textures this side of Body Harvest. Whether you’re racing on dirt, grass, or snow, the ground always looks so incredibly dithered and bland, you’ll be praying for a jump, just so you won’t have to look at it for a few seconds. While the draw distance for the ground is acceptable, the title amazingly features objects fading into the picture. I say amazingly, as the tracks are so completely barren, that you really wonder why the engine would have trouble rendering more than a dozen of the exact same low polygon tree models and two-dimensional plants. The only graphical saving grace of Supercross would be the racers (and their subsequent vehicles), which are nicely modelled and textured. Overall, the game is a major eye sore.
To temporarily push aside the overwhelming negativity that Supercross World instinctively harbors within you, the aural experience provided is quite nice. While both the obnoxious roars of the engines are adequately delivered, the game’s music is arguably it’s best feature. The dozen or so licensed songs, all of which can be categorized as either rock or grunge, fit the game perfectly. Though some may argue that there isn’t enough variety when it’s comes to the game’s soundtrack, I don’t think any other style would rightly capture the motocross sport.
Once you look past the musical side of the game, Supercross World paraphrases the Godfather by pulling you back into it’s world of crime agonizing tedium. Thanks to the control, Acclaim has rendered the multiple types of terrain purely cosmetic. Whether you’re gunning up a dirt slope, and pulling off a quick 180° turn on a snow embankment, the control (when it comes to resistance) feels exactly the same every time. To make matters worse, pulling off stunts is often a very sluggish task, and combined with the nonsensical achievement of mapping the same button for two activities (popping a wheelie and pulling off a list of tricks), you often get the feeling like it just could’ve been better.
Controlling Supercross World’s bikes is akin to riding a greased pig. There’s almost never any friction between the wheels on your vehicle and game’s tracks. Whether you’re zipping up a hill or wildly hugging a corner, the bikes never act realistically. Another failing facet is the game’s absurdly atrocious collision detection. Multiple times riders will be soaring through the air only to hit an invisible wall, which allows them a nice amount of time to pray for their death, and thus exit from the cursed world that they live in.
Whether you source Excitebike 64, Motocross Madness, or even a game in a completely different sport like 1080, lining up the angle of your vehicle with the ground before landing has always been important part of the game. Unfortunately, Supercross World manages to butcher this too, as one will often find themselves eating dirt after what should’ve been a perfect landing, and then pulling off the exact same maneuver a second time without changing one thing.
Finally, as if the player hasn’t suffered enough, the game’s camera is the final nail in the coffin. When a player powerslides either left or right, the camera, instead of keeping behind the racer, will only move partially. This camera system results in not only having your view obscured when it comes to any objects that you might be unknowingly turning into, but it actually allows the rider to drop off the screen almost completely whenever he hits a big jump. Contemplate the aforementioned inaccuracies when it comes to successfully angling your bike when landing, coupled with not being able to see the (angle of the) ground you’re about to land on, and you’ll hopefully understand the frustration within Supercross World’s camera.
Finally, the game does offer some nice variety when it comes to tracks. There are four different forms of racing, Baja, Indoor, Outdoor, and Stunt. While both Indoor and Outdoor modes are just your basic lapped races, Baja has you racing across deserts and wide areas of lands, going from checkpoint to checkpoint. The enticing feature Baja holds is that there’s no track, no line or track that leads you to the next checkpoint. This allows racers to decide whether or not they want to race through a valley or jump over it’s top, which gives the tracks more variety than the other two options. Stunt mode has you in a stadium littered with ramps and hills, attempting to rack up as many points as possible within a time limit. The career mode presented in Supercross World is perfectly acceptable for those looking for a single player experience. Players start off with low-grade bikes and amateur races available, and eventually progress to faster vehicles and more complicated tracks. For those of you wanting to bring over three friends to force them to play McGrath, Acclaim unfortunately only included a two-player option, not four. Though most people would view this as a negative, I see it as only losing one friend instead of three.
Yes, Supercross World is that bad. Though there is no way to know for certain, I’d bet Jeremy McGrath would be rolling over in his grave… if he were dead. And while unsuccessfully landing a jump will cause the rider to act less like a man hurled from his vehicle, and more like a mannequin having a seizure, that’s the most satisfaction one can achieve from this subpar game.