Review: Yamaha Supercross (Nintendo Wii)

Yamaha Supercross
Developer: Beyond Reality Games, Ltd.
Publisher: Destination Software Inc (Zoo Games inc.)
Genre: Racing
Release Date: 03/03/09

As the fella says, even a blind sow sometimes finds a truffle. If that”Ëœs the case, maybe someday Zoo Games will make a good game. We here at Diehard GameFAN hope for this day, but will continue reviewing Zoo games whether or not they can even properly be called games.

Let’s take a look at the Zoo catalog and its history with our great site to refresh our collective memories, eh?

1 vs. 100
So, basically, you play the game, mashing the B button trying to skip through all of the draggy routines and procedures of this style of gameshow, waiting and waiting to win a virtual million dollars, while the computer keeps asking you if you want to stop playing it.

Eventually the answer is a resounding, “Hell yes, I want to stop playing this thing.”

Army Men: Soldiers of Misfortune
Allow me to bottom line this game for anyone still reading: it looks like a first year CAD student’s demo package, has virtually no sound save annoying grunts and the occasional engine running, has the most impractical control scheme I’ve seen for a game aimed at kids, contains a non-existent difficulty curve that only goes up as the game’s myriad bugs get worse, and to top it all off, contains nothing for people to do after they’ve beaten the game. All this can be yours for $20! You know what else can be yours for $20? Six Happy Meals at McDonalds. The toys inside those are more enjoyable than this waste of plastic, you have change left afterwards, and considering the pain my left hand was in after playing this game, I’d argue they’re better for kids than this game. To clarify that statement, I’m talking about all six Happy Meals at once.

Bigfoot Collision Course
Even at $20, Bigfoot Collision Course seems overpriced. It’s not a particularly good game, and it certainly isn’t a deep game. It’s not hard at all once you get the hang of it. It probably took me about two hours at the absolute maximum to unlock everything and beat all the tracks. So, $20 for two hours? Not too good of a deal.

Chrysler Classic Racing
The controls are spotty and unresponsive, there’s no reason to play the game longer than it will take you to make it through the King of Cool mode, there’s little to no variety to the product, you can’t play with more than one friend at a time, the racing feels plodding and slow, and the game features collision detection issues and environmental glitches galore. Even as a budget game, Chrysler Classic Racing isn’t worth a second look; Chrysler fans might find a very small amount of enjoyment in playing around with classic cars from their favorite car company, but for everyone else, the most fun they’ll have with the game will be when they eject it from the console, and that’s only assuming they then take the disc and bend it until it snaps.

Garfield’s Fun Fest
Playing through every level took me 32 minutes. The game is barely half an hour long! That’s not even a full episode of
House!

M&M’s Adventure
M&M’s Adventure is, at its best, a horribly unpolished N64 game that relies on the power of its license to move it beyond the bargain bin shelf.

Margot’s Word Brain
It only took me around 20 minutes to play through all of Word Brain’s modes, and yet there was still a devil on my shoulder telling me to only play through half of them and just review it based on that (Don’t worry though, being a man of class and integrity I subjected myself to all of them). I say without any exaggeration that I’d rather just sit in a chair and stare at a blank TV screen for 20 minutes than have to play this game on it.

Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
It just doesn’t work. And to top it off, at one point, the game simply gave up. I was almost finished with the game, playing through a challenge to kill five sharks. The readout showed 3/5, I killed another, still 3/5. Another and another and another, still 3/5. You can’t leave a challenge without finishing it or dying, so it was almost like the game just gave up. Like it was bored with playing and decided not to.

This is how the machines begin to rise against us. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Shining Stars Super Starcade
This is a nightmare. Who would make controls like these?

Let’s take a deep breath, and talk about this here motorbike game.

yamaha-whatever
1. Story/ Modes
Both the instruction manual and the official site say that the story of the game is the following:
You are the promising younger brother of one of the biggest names in Supercross. He was hospitalized in the final race of the World Championships in an obviously intentional move by the lead rider of Team Nemeshisu, the toughest team to beat and the dirtiest riders in the world of Supercross. You must work up through the championships by winning each race, to finally meet the man that injured your brother in the World Championships, and avenge him by becoming World Champion.

How is this story told according to the website? By means of a “graphic-novel-style story in between races”.

In the game itself however, no such story exists. There is no mention of a brother. There is no mention of an evil race team, your own race team, or any race team at all. There is no graphic novel style story. I can’t find any hint of a story mode or any story at all. Near as I can tell the game only has two movies to play. There is one that plays at the idle screen. The same thing plays before Tournament mode. There is a second one. . .

Near as I can tell, the game has one movie.

Let’s see if we can give Yamaha Supercross some credit through MODES. There is a Tournament mode where you play a set number of races for a points championship. This mode would more accurately be called “Season Mode”, but whatever.

Next is Arcade mode. It is one or two players. You pick a location, with nine to choose from once all have been unlocked. You can choose between one and five laps. If you manage to win the race, you unlock a second race in that same location. There is no difficulty setting, and these races aren’t particularly challenging.

Then there is Practice mode, wherein you choose a track and race a ghost of the fastest lap time on the memory. It doesn’t really give you hints or help out very much.

Finally, we have Challenge mode wherein your dirt-biker goes on the Food Network and has eight hours to make a Disney Princess cake. It must be at least two feet tall and 70% edible.

Wait. That’s not right. I invented other mini-games for Yamaha Supercross as a defense mechanism to stave off boredom.

Actually, on Challenge mode you have to do a series of tricks in the air on your bike. Heaven help you if you don’t have your book, because the game won’t tell you how to do these tricks. You won’t be able to figure it out either, except for the Can-Can trick. You know why? Because most of the time, pushing the trick buttons doesn’t do anything. You are limited on the number of laps (read as: attempts) and you have to complete all the requested tricks in one go-round in order to move on to the next challenge.

Challenge mode is the only way to increase the stats on your bike.

2. Graphics
Graphically, this game would be impressive were it released on the N64. Well, that’s not true. This game does not look half as nice as Ridge Racer. And do you know what’s cool about Ridge Racer? You can see the tracks upon which you are racing! You can easily tell road from barriers. You can easily tell which way is the right way to go. Plus, in Ridge Racer, there was a nice variety of styles of cars to choose from, and you could customize the colors.

Oh, Yamaha. Right. Initially, there is one bike to choose from, and it comes in one color. You have to win two tournaments in order to get a choice between a blue or a white bike. The bikes and drivers all look the same, but you are afforded the option of choosing between nine different palette swaps for your rider. The riders never take off their helmet, so I guess any further customization would be a waste of the developers’ time.

The tracks are poorly lit, some worse than others. I turned my television’s brightness all the way up, and this was still a factor. The locations aren’t particularly memorable or interesting.

After a race, we are treated to a shot of the top three drivers standing on one of those First/second/third Olympics style platforms. All three stand stiffly. The winner occasionally raises his hands as though he were using an invisible Bowflex. The second and third place riders hang their heads in shame. This scene is the same after every race, modified only by the different palettes of riders. Genesis win screens were rarely this stiff.

3. Sound/ Music
There seem to be a couple of different music tracks ranging from repetitive Midi rock to repetitive Midi techno. It is best not to pay attention to the music.

There is no voice acting and few sound effects.

yamaha-jump
4. Control / Gameplay

Despite the fact that this version of the game was made separately from the other ports, it uses NONE of the controls that make the Wii unique. That’s just obnoxious.

The basic controls are as follows. A is your gas. B is your brake, and will make your driver walk backwards with the bike between his legs if the bike is going forward. The Nunchuk steers and leans your driver Forward and back. The D pad does nothing. 1 and 2 do nothing. + pauses.

Now, I thought – did nothing. Then, I checked the manual. It says that – changes the camera view. “That’s funny,” I thought, ” I was sure I mashed all of the buttons to change the camera view. The standard view is the preferred view of most of the racing game people I know: You are slightly behind and above the vehicle. So I started up a practice bout and hit my minus button. You know what happened?

The camera pulled back so slightly as to hardly be noticeable.

I pressed the button again. The camera went back another couple of inches. So I pressed the minus button again, and it went back to the original view, which was barely different from the third view. Seriously? No wheel camera? No helmet camera? No overhead? I can’t even get a rear view mirror? Why bother with this option if all three views are the freakin’ same!

The Power button ends the suffering, and the home button allows you to return to the Wii screen and make Miis.

Z and C are your stunt buttons. Most of the time, Z won’t do anything. You rider won’t register any movement at all, but this thought of a stunt is often enough to crash him on the landing. Pressing the C button while in the air will cause the rider to kick (more like casually swing) his right foot a couple of inches in a “trick” called the Can-can. Spamming the C and Z buttons like mad will occasionally result in a headstand or something else slightly more impressive. Usually, it doesn’t do a dang thing.

The first time I played this game it reminded me of something. It took a couple of minutes to put my finger on the thing, but I eventually did. It felt like a Tiger Electronics handheld circa 1990. The controls were wonky, collision detection spotty, and my rider would fall off his bike for no apparent reason.

It’s weird too. If I scrape the inside wall of the barrier during a turn, it usually just slows the bike down. Scraping the outside wall of the turn seems far more likely to crash the bike. It seems like I can only hit the other bikes from certain angles as well. Sometimes I seem to go through them, other times they barely touch me and it causes 6 bikes to crash.

When you do crash, it doesn’t really slow you down to much. My rider will flip over his handle bars and land in the grass, and a second later the bike will flash and be back on course. The computer bikes flash back to life like this two.

If you hit a jump and go over the barrier an onscreen message saying “Off Track” will appear and you will magically reappear in the middle of the track. It isn’t terribly detrimental to your position in the race.

Basically what I’m saying is: if you take a wrong turn, it is quicker to crash the bike than to turn around.

What else is weird is that you can jump over the barriers, but not drive through them. Some walls look like separate bales of hay. The spacing between looks like it could accommodate my bike, but there exists an invisible wall there.

Eventually, I figured out how Yamaha Supercross wanted to be played. I will share with you this secret, and you should be able to breeze your way through all the arcade races and at least the first two tournaments.

Are you ready?

Hold down the A button (for the gas). Don’t let go of that.

Hold back (towards yourself or the ground depending on your grip) on the Nunchuk. This will make your rider squat down on the bike. It will prevent you from flying high into the air on the bumps, and will make it much more difficult for you to crash.

Use B to drift in every turn. This will also keep you from crashing 9 times out of 10.

It takes a couple of minutes to get used to this as holding back on the joy stick tends while using the joy stick to steer can cause some over-correction at turns. Once you do get the hang of this, thought, the races become even more boring. You can do tricks on big jumps and try to make it more fun, but I don’t recommend doing it. First off, as stated before, the tricks rarely work. Second, flying high into the air slows your rider down tremendously; honestly, you loose less time crashing. Third off, big jumps tend to end in turns, so very often going for a stunt means that you will land on a barrier.

5. Replayabilty
The game forces replay ability by locking most of its stuff. You have to do the stunt challenges to increase your bike stats. You have to win a race to unlock its extra track. You have to win tournaments to unlock locations and the next difficulty setting. You start the game with only one bike. You have to win a tournament to get a second. The second tournament can only be played with the second bike. Win that and you get a choice of TWO colors for the next bike up.

None of these prizes is interesting enough to really merit more of the bland and glitch gameplay that it requires. The unlocked bikes lack variety, with each one just increasing the stats of the previous one. They all pretty much look the same. Winning the Beginner tournament nets you a poorly rendered gold plate. Winning the Novice tournament rewards you with a poorly rendered gold trophy. The tracks lack personality. The main distinction from one to the next is how visible to the track is, with ranges from murky to forest at midnight.

I’m guessing that all in all, a good player could probably unlock everything in about three hours, provided he lucked out and the stunt buttons actually worked.

6. Balance
This game is ridiculously easy on the Beginner setting. Ludicrously, boringly, remarkably easy. Unfortunately, you have to complete a season’s worth of beginner to unlock the next difficulty setting: NOVICE. Novice is also ludicrously, boringly, remarkably easy. The bikes are somewhat faster, and sometimes it rains. You have to beat an even longer season on Novice to get the next difficulty setting: AMATUER.

So, if you haven’t guessed it, Tournament mode has four levels of difficulty. Three of those are given names that are synonymous with “EASY” in most other video games.

Frankly, the main challenges of Yamaha Supercross are as follows:
5. Patiently racing through hundreds of laps to get to a difficulty setting that isn’t a synonym of EASY.

4. Being careful not to hit a bump without holding down on the joy stick, as you will go flying off the track or over the barricade.

3. Not getting hit by other motorcycles when you lap them.

2. Trying to force unresponsive controls to do what you want them to do.

1. Seeing the track.

lineup
7. Originality
Let’s see. Are there any racing games for the Wii?

Oh right.

As it stands there are at least two other MOTOCROSS games on the Wii.

8. Addictiveness
The racing is boring and the stunts don’t work. There is no selection of getting a bike that drifts well versus a bike with high acceleration. You can’t change the look of your bike. The rewards are underwhelming, and I can’t even pop a goldurn wheelie.

This game is less addictive than cleaning gutters.

9. Appeal Factor
Dirtbikes are cool. Motocross is cool. People like racing games, if movie theater arcades are any indication.

10. Miscellaneous
This game is content to do absolutely nothing new. There is nothing in this game that I haven’t seen done before in the past, and done better.

For instance, one of the few things you can customize in this game is your bike’s number. You can choose any number you want so long as it is 3, 6, 10, 21, 33, 34, 47, 49, 50, 54, 59, 62, 80, 83, 92, or 98. Is there something I don’t understand about motocross that makes these sixteen numbers special?

It’s the little things that really bring out the fail in this game.

For instance, no button is assigned the function of going backwards through the menus.

For instance, no matter where you ended the last race, you always start the next from the same position.

For instance, the options menu only lets you adjust the volume of the music and effects.

For instance, the practice mode only lets you choose between 1 and 5 laps.

For instance, sometimes it rains in tournaments but it doesn’t have much effect on driving.

For instance, you can’t adjust the weather in practice mode.

For instance, multiplayer just means 2-player. Are you telling me you can’t split a screen 4 ways?

Granted, this is a $20 game. BUT, is that really an excuse for apathy?

Do you know what is cheaper than $20?

The Scores:
Story/Modes: Awful
Graphics: Bad
Sound: Below Average
Control/Gameplay: Very Bad
Replayability: Mediocre
Balance: Bad
Originality: Worthless
Addictiveness: Dreadful
Appeal: Decent
Miscellaneous: Very Bad
Final Score: Bad Game

Short Attention Span Summary
Yamaha Supercross is like any number of racing games around, only less dynamic. Its graphics are on par with a Nintendo 64 title, while its gameplay and audio presentation would be more at home in the 16 bit generation. All in all, I think the $20 dollars for this game would be better spent getting Mach Rider on the VC for you and three of your friends. In that game precipitation meant something, dagnabbit!

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