Supercross 3D

The Jaguar has two motorcycle-based games, one of which is considered (in retrospect) as one of the finest arcade racers of it's era...and one of which is considered one of the worst games on the system. The former title is Super Burnout...which leaves us with Supercross 3D. Is it really as bad as it's reputation would have you believe? In a word - no. Supercross 3D does have some serious issues, but before I cover those, I want to explore why I find the game fairly enjoyable and also expel some of the bad juju wafting around this cart. So, it's a motocross sim - you pick your bike and rider, a dirt track to race on, and then you get out there and open the throttle. Much like any other motocross game, the view is 3rd person so you get a good view of your rider's field of vision. Controls are pretty basic; you simply get a throttle, brake and a 'trick' button that allows you to execute the odd kick-out whenever you get good air. There are several race modes including a practice option, single race (which is actually three races culminating in a final which you must win in order to take the gold), and a championship mode which takes you to every track in the game, starting on the west coast of America and then travelling cross-country towards the east.

There are 14 circuits in total, and while this may seem generous at first, it quickly becomes apparent that they all look pretty much the same but with different layouts and dirt colours. That said, the tracks are pretty fun to race on, and once you get to grips with the slightly cumbersome controls, racing and tricking becomes quite engrossing. Not Far Cry 3 or Ocarina of Time engrossing, but it had me pretty entertained for an hour or so.

Now, onto the more worrying aspect of Supercross 3D. First, the sound is pretty bad. The menu music is the usual rock stuff, but the in-game engine sounds are pathetic - you just get the same 2 second sample of an engine being revved over and over again, which is very odd when it suddenly stops and you're racing along on a totally silent crosser. Competitor bikes don't seem to have any engine sounds either, which adds to the sub-par aural experience. Also, whenever you stray so much as a centimetre from the textured track onto the non-textured ground, your rider is flung from bike bike. Ominous undertones of V Rally (which is fairly anachronistic seeing as Supercross came first...), and it can get pretty frustrating at times so don't play this if you're highly strung. The biggest problem Supercross 3D has though, is with its graphics. Well, not so much the graphics, but the game engine itself - in screen grabs, the game looks about as good as a mid-nineties 3D game would be expected to look. Sprites scale well, the riders are nicely animated and the track textures are totally acceptable. No, it's when it starts to move and you realise that the frame rate is about 6 fps. With time, your eyes do adjust and the frame rate issues become less of a problem, but even with the best will in the world you can't totally ignore it.

Without these frame rate problems, Supercross 3D could have been one of the Jag's best racers; but as it is, the game is constantly labelled as an embarrassment to the console. I feel that's a little harsh and would recommend picking Supercross 3D up if you see it going for a reasonable amount.


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