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TJ Lavin | Ultimate BMX | review | game | Lollipop

T.J. Lavin's Ultimate BMX

(MTV Sports for the PlayStation)
by Shane Yeager

Let's take one guess at the quality of a game with the MTV seal of approval on it, shall we? Trying to capitalize on the success of the Tony Hawk game series, MTV slapped together a haphazard extreme sports game with little innovation. While I'm sure Lavin pulled a fat paycheck to let MTV use his name, he's sure to say he had nothing to do with it. Play modes are the standard practice, career, or two-player. Practice mode lets you experiment with the particular ways the game designers have ignored the laws of physics in their little world, showing you what you would have scored for your tricks if you weren't just practicing. Career mode doesn't copy the "get tapes to go to the next level" mechanic of Tony Hawk; you have to collect "sprockets" instead, which is obviously totally different. Two-player modes include a clone of the graffiti mode of Tony Hawk, a timed or untimed head-to-head race for score, a variant where players must continually outdo each other's best tricks, an "interactive" race to 10,000 points (where half the fun is trying to make your opponent bail) and a "Tug of War," which ends when one player builds up a 5,000 point lead. The game looks decent, but breaks down when asked to do something, just like one of MTV's VJs. Add a forgettable soundtrack, starring people MTV will want to promote in five years or so, and you've got the entire game in a nutshell.

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