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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC and Zaurus games

Motocross Stunt Racer, by Dig-Concepts (ported to Linux by Eon Games)$19.99
Reviewed October 2002

After gluing yourself to the TV watching X-Games VIII, here is a chance to get into some action yourself! No, I’m not talking about scraping your knees and breaking your elbows kind of action. I’m talking about doing verts in real locations, beating courses in different shapes and complexity, blasting your way through some windy curves and muddy pits while avoiding collision with other riders…in Motocross Stunt Racer by the talented Digital Concepts folks. You will be ripping through some fast races and leaping some big air tricks, yet leaving yourself in one piece.

Digital Concepts brings you the full motocross experience in Motocross Stunt Racer (MSR) with racing and stunt courses. The 45-level course design is one of the reasons you want to check out this game. Even though you won’t get the lengthy courses like the ones in console motocross games, MSR jams in all the major course attractions in its compact window. You will see jump ramps and tight corners on racing courses, and variety of vert jump locations in stunt courses. You must complete the requirements in each level to unlock future courses. The true thrill seekers will enjoy some really crazy racing mud pits like the Short Cut where you seem to be the only rider who knows the secret of shortcut, or the Suicide Run where the course winds like a letter B and every rider rounds up the corner in any direction, which makes your heart beats faster riding head on with other bikes.

Another reason you want to check out MSR is the graphics. The top-view rushing is super smooth while maintaining nice frame rates. The rider figure seems very small compare to the gorgeous and detailed course layouts. The 20 Racing courses, 20 Stunt courses and 5 Free Ride courses all have their distinct styles and setups, while you can pick colors for your ride. You can play the game in both portrait and landscape (for lefties or righties) modes with real time gamma correction.

MSR relies heavily on the stylus to control the game. It will take you a while to get used to the control if you prefer the D-pad. The stylus control gives the rider a smooth and realistic feeling of the bike’s movements, especially in racing mode. As long as you don’t crash into other riders, you will pretty much have a nice ride and are likely to unlock the next courses. The stunt courses require more control on sudden accelerations and brakes. I can do flips and big air almost in every stunt course, but I had hard time sticking to the landing after a big jump. The game does not give you that much of granularity in controlling the landing or performing more complicated tricks like Catwalk from Clifford Adoptante or Tsunami from Nate Adams, if you have come to admire them after past X-Games.

The sound FX are very realistic, adding the powerful feeling of your engine roaring. The music tracks are engaging. Both have several volume levels as well as the ability to turn the sound for each on or off. MSR supports all Pocket PC, Pocket PC 2002, XScale, Smartphone, and desktop platforms. It takes a little over 2 MB space.

Even though I can’t mimic the “Mad” Mike Jones’ Kiss of Death trick in MSR, this game is the first real Motocross game we have on the Pocket PC and I couldn’t have asked for a better start. And as an Extreme sports video game fan, you can’t help but hope that this is the first of many great Extreme sports games to come. Hey, it only took one guy named Tony Hawk to bring skateboarding to millions of console gamers.

Playing Hints and Tips

Use the stylus control if you can, it will save you lots of time practicing the controls. Not all racing courses give you generous shortcut breaks; so don’t always shorten the courses.

screen shot

screen shot

Pocket PC

Zaurus SL-5500


Read our interview with Douglas Beck of Digital Concepts!


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Smooth movements, great course graphic design, transparent shadows and many more nice features make the hectic rides fun.
Sound Different engine sound FXs, engaging sound tracks.
Fun Meter A polished package that includes all motocross goodies. Plenty of courses and vert jumps for you to sharpen your skills. I was hoping for some close-up tricks. It would also be nice to know how the scoring works since that determines if you will go further in the game.
Addictivity Offers a huge number of courses with full-featured setup. The level requirements guarantee good replay value. Whether you want to have just a quick fix or a long race or stunts, MSR has much to offer.

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