Motocross Madness 3 is a game that was very successful for Microsoft on the PC platform about a decade ago with its combination of excellent physics, over the top stunts and generally just extremely fun gameplay. When Microsoft brought the Xbox out there was obvious the huge assumption that Motocross Madness would make the jump, and it finally has, but not in a way which is going to please fans. For a start, Microsoft didn't make the game nor did they publish it, and other than QA, has nothing to do with it. This is only the start of the game's problems.
Motocross Madness 3 is a game which combines the violence of road rash and the physics of the previous games with minimal effect. While the concept sounds fantastic on paper, the execution has been poor and this may be due to a low budget as the title is being sold at lower than regular price. There are a number of game modes to select from however for those who do take the plunge with the title. Included are the stock standard modes of championship, single race and time trial but other than that there's not much to speak, besides online multiplayer.
Motocross Madness 3 has some potential and if you overlook some of its flaws a fairly stable game can be found. As mentioned before it's a combination of both Road Rash and Motocross Madness which does work fairly well, they just haven't explored the game as much as they could have. Deibus Studios, the developer, has history with motorbike games creating the fairly impressive MTX for Midway. As you would expect most of the game is spent racing around courses but there is one major change this time around and that is the weaponry. Each character has a certain health limit, and once depleted, they are wiped out of the race. This somewhat mixes the gameplay up, especially online but the rest of the game just falls down.
In the career mode you will find a hub which is used to start races, upgrade the bikes or rider or buy a new bike. These upgrades range from armor for a rider, chassis engines, wheels etc for the bike and you can also buy weapons to use during the races. Each weapon has a limited amount of uses and their power and lasting ability determines how much they cost.
As expected the developers have chosen to include the same race types from previous games including the Baja competition and you can still do tricks during the races. However you will find yourself much more focused on belting other players rather than performing tricks, and doing so leaves you open to a vicious hit which is a lot more painful during a trick. For those who want to just perform tricks, the time trial mode is there but only offers those tracks unlocked in the championship which leads to our next problem and that is the fact it is so hard to get started. The first race lulls you into a false sense of security, but the game is hard and progress is slow. Considering most of the game is locked from the outset this wasn't a very smart move on the part of the developers because it doesn't encourage you to keep playing and just causes frustration.
The tracks are not laid out well either, we missed turns because they simply weren't displayed. There is an arrow on screen sometimes to guide you, but even following that can be tough. The tracks are fairly fun to ride and offering a lot of variety but when it boils down to it, nothing really stands out and many other games have done better before. You will find tracks set in the desert and the city with different hazards for each. For instance the city track tasks you with avoiding traffic while racing which can somewhat mix the game up but it doesn't really feel fun to play and you feel like your going through the motions rather than actually liking the game.
Visually the game is a mixed bag. The riders and bikes are a bit disappointing but the draw distance and environments are detailed quite well. The tricks and ragdoll animations work well in the game as does the fighting engine and combat during races. Soundtrack is what you would expect with fast rock tracks making most of it up and you can also play the game on Xbox Live with friends.
Motocross Madness 3 is a fairly well done game but the lower budget harmed it. Fans of the original two games may be disappointed but if you can look past the flaws, you will find a fairly accomplished and stable racing game to play. It's just a shame it's so hard to get started in.