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Supercross 3D - The Atari Times

Supercross 3D

Pathetic trash like this deserves to be bashed
by Ethan C. Nobles

February 11, 2002
Atari Jaguar fans have a rough time of it. The Jag has a lot of potential, but there are few games available that truly tap into it. For every great game like Tempest 2000, there are three or four miserable titles like Club Drive, Checkered Flag or I-War. Add Supercross 3D to the list of games which ought not exist.

To say I dislike Supercross 3D is putting it mildly. I've rarely seen a worse game for any system with the exception of, perhaps, Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 or Alien Invaders Plus! for the Odyssey 2. I hate Supercross 3D with a passion and believe the folks responsible for that sloppy cart ought to be ashamed of themselves for putting together such a low-rent piece of trash. Truly, it is that bad.

Let's start with the graphics. As sparse as they are, they're not that bad. Supercross 3D is, as the name implies, supposed to be a polygonal racing game in which the goal is to beat out other motorcycles on various dirt tracks around the nation. The motorcycles and riders aren't very detailed, but they look decent. The tracks, too, convey the idea of riding across a dirt surface through a course full of sharp turns and ramps pretty well. There's also a grandstand on each course with a static, formless crowd of spectators. The only real drawback with the graphics is that there's not much in the way of backgrounds here. You get riders, a dirt track, a very blue sky (evidently, the races all take place in a world with perfect weather), but that's about it. That would be fine if the races took place in barren deserts across the nation, but that's not the case -- the tracks are in locations like Dallas, so you'd expect some greenery to break up the monotony. Of course, the track!
They all look pretty much the same although the layout of each is different.

As for music and sound, they it's obvious no one was concerned about those. There's a bit of music when the game starts and when the player is choosing his motorcycle and rider. There's also just the slightest bit of 'whir' the suggests the motorcycles are in motion. However, this is one of the quietest games I've played in terms of sound effects and music. There's just not a whole lot to mention there.

While I could live with fair to middling graphics and rotten sound, what drives me crazy about this title is the absolutely frustrating gameplay. In short, if you wrestle with the controls until you get good at this thing, you have the patience of Job. First and foremost, the frame rate is absolutely horrible. This is supposed to be a racing game, but the framerate takes such a dive when other motorcycles are on the screen that controlling your bike is next to impossible. That all results in very touchy controls that make staying on the course difficult. Oh, and when you run off the course, you crash automatically. The course is well-defined, and you'll crash as soon as you stray from it. I'm not sure why that flat, featureless bit of dirt off the track makes my motorcycle wreck, but it does it every time.

The motorcycle can be controlled if there are no racers, but the framerate is still poor. None of that really matters, though, because of the difficulty one has in controlling his motorcycle when other riders are on the screen. Unless you can get far enough ahead of the riders to keep them out of view, just count on a lot of crashes and cursing.

The gameplay, simply put, is unforgivable and ruins any chance the player might have at enjoying this miserable excuse for a title. And, of course, the sense of motion of completely lost because of the sluggish framerate. That's truly a shame when one compares this title to Super Burnout and realizes that the Jaguar is capable of supporting a motorcycle racer that conveys a good sense of motion, control and is a heck of a lot of fun.

The game can be played by racing individual courses here or through a championship mode in which one tries to gather the most points over the 14 courses mapped out in the title. The difficulty mode can be adjusted from rookie through ace. Sadly, the difficulty imposed on the game by the miserable framerate doesn't change one bit.

The motorcycles can be configured to suit each race, and one can run practice laps on courses before racing on them. The idea is that each course is different and requires adjustments such as soft or hard tires and shocks to master. What I learned, though, was that none of the configurations makes that much of a difference. Still, my complaint there is moot because the abysmal framerate ruins any chance of running a solid race, anyway.

Sadly, this piece of trash is exactly the type of thing that Atari put out at the time when the company was in desperate need of some great titles for the Jaguar. I maintain that some work on the framerate would have made this title enjoyable, but no one bothered to put in the time to make that necessary improvement. The result is a game that's best left collecting dust on the shelf of your favorite used game store. Don't buy it for any price and don't even let someone give you a free copy of this. You'll just be frustrated.

Be afraid! Be very afraid!
On your mark, get set... SLOW!
It's just a shame this title didn't live up to the promise of the graphics. Thanks LEONARD!
"Ow. I've fallen and I just don't care to get up."
Supercross 3D
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Driving
Graphics Score: 50%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 5%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 15%

Reader Comments for Supercross 3D

A re-evaluation some time by Ethan C. Nobles on 2002-05-01 12:00:00
Honestly, this game is unplayable and not up to the standards of the few decent Jaguar games that are out there (compared to Tempest 2000, Missile Command 3D or even Flipout, Supercross 3D is just miserable). I hate that one about as much as Pac-Man and E.T. [for the 2600.] Perhaps I was a bit harsh in my scores for it as that's the straw that broke the camel's back -- after fighting with that one for a couple of days I said, "You know what? To hell with this" and promptly traded off my Jag in a fit of pique. It's kind of a "killer app" in reverse and one to be avoided like the clap
Supercross 3FPS by LS650 on 2006-10-18 13:52:57
I once saw someone refer to this game as "Supercross 3FPS" as in 3 frames per second. I laughed when I read that because it's true: this game is incredibly choppy - so much so that it becomes almost unplayable.
Motocross Championship 32 by someguy on 2006-10-23 16:32:27
There's a very similar and laughably bad game on the Sega 32X called "Motocross Championship". It wouldn't surprise me if the same people wrote both games!
I Hate this game!!! by Pete on 2006-11-08 10:10:22
I read the reviews, I knew it wasn't going to be good. But I had got to the point where their are only a few Jag games that I can buy that don't cost $80+, also I never played this game, and Super Burnout is one of the best Jag games. The problem with this game is realy only 2 things, #1 Frame rate as a multi player game was realy bad maybe take out a couple bikes or something because this would have to be fixed. but, you know what it would n't matter if this was fixed because, Controlling this bike is bad very bad, worst than Checkerd Flag bad....I don't even think it was described correctly above, if your bike goes outside of the race track dirt more than a 1/2 inch then you crash even though their are no bariers just rough dirt drivable, flat dirt you crash....worst than this is if you do not know to turn off the instant replay feature then it replays this crash before you can continue playing. So the game goes you drive up a hill turn a smigid in the air land 1 inch off the road crash, get a replay repeat and this is on the beginner practice round. Do not buy this game unless you want to see how bad the Jag can go... Atari note to self: a game can be many things, (crappy license, bad idea, dumb) but, a game must have good control, a beginning, and an end.
not that bad at all! by Mac-Falcon on 2007-12-27 07:34:24
As far as I can say, I do enjoy supercross 3D very much. It´s choppy, that´s right, but controls work much better than checkered flag. I would place it somewhere between Super Burnout and Checkered Flag. Most bad thing is missing multiplayer. Beside that it can make fun. Most of my friends liked the gfx back in the Jaggies days (long long long ago)...
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