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ATV Quad Power Racing 2
Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Acclaim
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:
It was the best of games, it was the worst of games.

Well, okay - it wasn't really quite either. The back of the box proclaims (acclaims?) that ATV Quad Power Racing 2 provides 'Big Air, Big Tricks, BIG FUN!'. It doesn't say 'perfect graphics'... and there's a reason. ATV 2 is a 3D racing game, with a few different 3rd-person views to choose from, and usually the graphics are pretty good. However, every now and then the riders and their quad runners will briefly 'glitch'; the image will pixelate and distort much like some of the old 'sprite-based' 2D games of old. While not an extremely frequent occurrence, it is quite distracting when it happens. I tested the game out on two different PS2s, and a couple of different video displays to make sure it wasn't a hardware issue. Nope. It's definitely the game. When the graphics aren't glitching, the graphics are pretty nice. The character animations are lively and representative of the characters, the vehicles respond in a realistic looking manner and deform under high stress, and there's some nice water spray, dust and lighting effects. For that matter, even the camera works with no problems. If only the glitches didn't occur... what IS that anyway?!?

As for the sounds in ATV 2, the sound effects are well done, and the soundtrack is filled with some music that can help keep your blood pumping, from bands such as: Godsmack, Box Car Racer, Audiovent, The Reunion Show, Rollins Band, Midtown and Bionic Jive.

It all boils down to gameplay, doesn't it? Is the game fun to play? Well, ATV Quad Power Racing 2 is not a 'simulator', offering some challenge while remaining approachable. In this respect, the game is fun and offers some rewarding gameplay. There are some distracting glitches in the graphics and some clipping issues where you can get caught on (in?) a fence or similar obstacles. Both of these are fairly rare in occurrence, but are either visually unappealing, injurious to your time - or both. If you can overlook these issues, the game can be lots of fun. You can kick others off of their ATVs, do forward flips, backward flips, wheelies, 'stoppies' (like a wheelie, but with your rear tires in the air). You can do all of this while playing as a character you create yourself or as Dana Creech, Tim Farr or Kory Ellis. As you progress, you'll get to use better equipment and open new tracks. All-in-all, ATV Quad Power Racing 2 is a fun game.

Since the dawn of time, games have had one goal to aspire to: 'Easy to play, Impossible to master'. While ATV 2 is 'No Go', it has managed to provide something for every level of proficiency.

If you are new to the game, you can try out the ATV Academy Mode and practice the various skills you'll need to be a contender. One by one you can practice simple, and then more complex, maneuvers on your ATV working your way up to skills rivaling those of Dana Creech, Tim Farr or Kory Ellis. (You might not want to boast about that in front of them, however, as they are in the game and might prove to be better than you in the real world AND on your PS2. Just something to think about...)

If you're familiar with this sort of game and you find the races too easy (not likely), then you can either challenge a friend in the 2-Player Mode or try some of the arena stuff. (Warning... Some of the arena challenges are ridiculously difficult, have short time limits and depict things that simply shouldn't be attempted on any wheeled vehicle in real life...)

Game Mechanics:
The first issue that jumps out at you, slaps you, calls your mom names and kicks your dog is the graphics 'glitch' thing. I swear it looks just like some of the sprite errors that I haven't seen since the days of my beloved (and at the time, ailing) Commodore 64. The glitch is square in shape, like a sprite would be. The only thing I can figure is that ATV 2 is animating the characters in 3D, mapping them to a sprite-like 2D image and then overlaying this 2D image on top of the environment (which is rendered separately). Assuming this is the process used, it appears that occasionally the character rendering routine is not working; it either isn't updating as it's supposed to, or something is writing over the data. Either way, the result is a mess up in the video that makes ATV Quad Power Racing 2 a game that's okay to play, but a title you'll want to hide if you start to 'have it out' with your Xbox or Gamecube loving friends. Fun to play, but not a 'showcase' title, if you will.

As for getting stuck in the scenery, it happens - but once it happens a couple of times, you can generally avoid the places that are 'sticky'. In particular, I remember getting stuck in the fence on the 'boardwalk' in a swampy area. Let's just say that wasn't my favorite track...

If you only pick up the best titles, pass this one by. If you're a ATV fan and you can look past the occasional glitch, you might want to pick this one up. If nothing else, it's definitely a fun rental...

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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