BMX XXX Review
You may have heard about some of the controversy surrounding BMX XXX. Acclaim has taken their Dave Mirra BMX title and created an adult-oriented game out of it, andoncerned citizens have been up in arms about the nudity and adult language appearing in the game. On the other hand, Acclaim has billed the game as having an adult sense of humor targeted at today's maturing gamers. As is often the case, this has been much ado about nothing - from both sides of the fence.
BMX XXX is primarily an extreme stunt riding game of the type that has been popular the last few years. You get expansive parks full of objects and features that allow you to jump, grind, and perform stunts for points. You also get a set of 20 goal-based challenges that you must complete to unlock new parks, riders, bikes, and the infamous stripper videos. Populating the levels are a variety of characters such as fellow riders, pedestrians, and a whole host of colorful characters such as strippers, prostitutes, and wiener vendors. These characters provide what passes for comic relief in the game, shouting one-liners as you race by, and also sometimes issuing challenges for you to complete.
The level design in the game is good, and there are plenty of ramps, rails, and features for you to use to launch your tricks. The levels are expansive, but not as large as at first appears. There are a lot of areas that serve no purpose other than to enlarge the level, since they are devoid of anything you can ride on or interact with. The levels aren't timed (although some of the challenges are), so you're free to explore and try tricks whenever you feel like it. Instead, you're given a health meter which is drained every time you wipe out. Once the meter is empty, your game is over.
The game provides you with a large number of tricks to pull off, and the trick animation is generally pretty good. Control is a bit iffy, though. You can pull off a trick with a button combo and then try it again using the same button sequence and timing, only to find that it doesn't work the next time around - I'm not talking about successfully nailing the trick, it won't even be initiated. Frustrating, to say the least. Also, a quirk in the game engine makes it pretty forgiving when pulling tricks. If you hit the grind button on your way down you're pretty much guaranteed to catch on to any nearby edge or rail even when coming down at a bad angle.
Although you are free to do whatever you want, you're going to have to try to complete the challenges if you want to unlock additional levels. Unfortunately, the game's challenges come in two forms: ridiculously easy and unnecessarily hard. To make things worse, the challenges are often ambiguous and offer no help as to how they should be completed. How many people know that ghostriding a fruitbooter means jumping off your bike and letting it crash into a rollerblader? Why not show players the location of the switch they're supposed to hit within sixty seconds? Also, many challenges are essentially the same in each level, so you'll find yourself giving rides to clowns/prostitutes/mascots and doing stunts while dragging a poodle/bully/etc./etc. all over again in each new park.
Because of the control issue and challenge difficulty, it can take quite some time to unlock additional parks and game features, including the game's controversial nudity. To unlock the stripper videos, you must collect 45 coins/beer bottles/donuts/etc. scattered about the level in a single game. A lot of these items are gimmes, but the last few are quite difficult to reach and require split second timing and a minimum of crashes. To make matters worse, after doing all that work the videos are a major letdown. They're short, slightly grainy, and most don't even contain any nudity. The videos that do show bare breasts are in reality very tame - you can see more nudity watching HBO at night. Perhaps the game should be titled "BMX R" or even "BMX PG13".