Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX

Powered by a modified version of Neversoft’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game engine, Mat Hoffman lets you ride as one of eight BMX pros across eight courses. Each course has specific objectives you must complete in the allotted time, and if you’re successful, you’ll unlock additional tracks and better equipment for your bike.

5_1The tracks are well-designed, and afford a lot of opportunities to pull off crazy stunts. The real meat lies in trying to beat a course’s high score, and this is where the game really shines. Catching huge air and pulling off a Superman One-Hander is an absolute blast, as is trying to land a flurry of stunts as time expires. (The Superman One-Hander is truly insane. In the air, you hold onto the handle with one hand while your body extends out away from the bike.) Other tricks include the Rocket Queen (which may be the only bike stunt named after a Guns N’ Roses song) and the Bar Hop, a truly death-defying maneuver.

The bike tracks include a London Underground scene, a construction yard, and a treatment plant. The Blue Torch Competition is a great track — one continuous course with a ton of ramps. It’s the one that feels most like a challenge race. It was definitely my favorite — you keep moving forward and have plenty of opportunities for stunts. Be sure to bring along a gamepad for optimal control.

Sadly, there are too many instances where the game’s flaws reach out and smack you upside the head. The collision detection is seriously messed up, and it’s common to get trapped in or on structures. Adding to the frustration is that too often you’ll crash when landing, even though you’re lined up perfectly with the ramp. If you’re willing to tolerate those quibbles and some below-average console graphics, Mat Hoffman is good fun.

With a great soundtrack of underground ska and rock, you’ll never be at a loss for good tunes. There’s also a track editor so the really committed can design their own stunt courses, and dual-player LAN multiplay lets you challenge a friend to a high-score battle.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233, 32MB RAM, Win95

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