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MX Unleashed Review - PS2

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Motocross. It's dangerous, dirty and dynamic. Even so, many developers are often veering towards car racing, leaving the motorbike locked up in the garage. Fortunately, however, THQ has been giving the sport a go for a while; they've strung out MX 2002, MX Superfly and now MX Unleashed. It only helps that MX Unleashed was developed by Rainbow Studios, the creators of the fantastic Motocross Madness, so combined with THQ's experience can we expect the PS2's latest motocross game to kick up the dirt?

MX Unleashed features an extensive Career mode that contains a huge amount of events to compete in; a Supercross mode, which allows you to race on any unlocked indoor track; a Nationals mode, which allows you to race on any outdoor track; and a Freestyle mode, which allows you to, as the name suggests, freely drive around a large, open track as you please. Each event in the Career mode contains a certain number of races, and the overall winner of the event is determined by the amount of points earned according to what place each rider came in each race. The freestyle mode has been developed so that it is much more than a free roam around a track; stopping in one of the four coloured portals situated at various points on the terrain will allow you to take place in a Hit event, Run event, Race event or Stunt event. The Hit event takes place on a small area of the track, and you must use glowing launch pads to launch off hills and land in target areas ten times before your opponents do. The Run event also features the glowing launch pads and target areas, but here you're alone and must complete the jumps in track form - miss a target and you'll have to start again. The Race event pits you against one of a number of machines, from a Monster Truck to a Biplane, and you must race the machine through a checkpoint-laden race. Complete the race in first position and you'll unlock the machine and actually be able to use it in the Freestyle mode. And, finally, the Stunt event sets you a certain score goal, testing your trick skills to see if you can achieve the set score within a time limit.

Before heading out onto the track, however, you'll be given the chance to customise your rider. You can choose all kinds of things, from your rider's name, motorbike, gloves, helmet, jersey, pants and more. The equipment that you're able to choose from has all been secured from real-world makers such as Spy, Fox and other top brands, which is a great touch. The name that you give your rider will be displayed on the back of their jersey while racing, so giving your rider your own name is a good idea if you want to play as yourself. For those of you who want to jump into the action quickly, you can always select a pre-made rider!

Each of MX ... (continued next page)