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Release Date

Q1 2003



- Very solid racing action

- Slick design

- Good track variety

- Generally good control

- Variety of game modes



- Tricks can be hard to execute

- AI can be a chump

- Why canít I turn on the frigginí headlights?



Review: ATV OffRoad Fury 2 (PS2)

Review: ATV Quad Power Racing 2 (PS2)



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ATV Quad Power Racing 2

Score: 8.6 / 10


Racing games always seem to be hit and miss for me.  Either I canít get enough of a title or Iíll switch it off mid-way through my second lap to avoid a big headache and symptoms of Ebola.  ATV Quad Power Racing 2 (ATV 2) falls into the first category.  Besides being executed with a lot of style and slickness, itís good fun.


ATV 2 features a good variety of game modes.  It has the mandatory Career, Single Race and tutorial modes, but also includes Arcade, Freestyle, Challenge, Time Trial and Custom. (All with the expected unlockables.)  Each mode is fairly standard Ė namely, beat your opponents across the finish line (except in Freestyle) Ė but the one that kind of breaks the mold is Challenge mode that really is a challenge.


After severely trouncing the computer AI (okay, sometimes trouncing) during the races, I turned my attention to the Challenges and was in turn trounced by the designers.  Imagine a bunch of elevated platforms connected by thin strands of roadway (complete with hills and bumps) that must be navigated to cross the finish line.  One fall and itís restart time.  Itís precision driving at itís most insane.  Even a slight miscalculation can send your rider plummeting, which is in contrast to the relatively forgiving nature of the racing portions.




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You could be dead last in a group of six riders with only one lap to go and still win.  The opponent AI tends to throttle back on their speed if you get too far behind, although as you rank higher, the opposition has a tendency to be more aggressive.


(Admittedly, the AI is such that a few lapses wonít usually sink your chances of winning ((or make you give up in frustration)), but during two-player games you really have to be on your toes.)



Riders are given a limited attack option Ė kicking to the side to knock opposing riders off their bikes Ė and the AI has no qualms about planting a boot to your head.  Of course, the best way to avoid being punted is to stay ahead of the pack with some fancy driving and building up your boost meter.


A boost meter increase is the reward for performing successful tricks. (Stealing boost power from successfully punted opponents can also increase it.)  There are 7 trick levels (with 4 tricks per level) that depend on your riderís skill level, which is increased by successfully winning races.  Beginners have simple tricks, but when you max out your experience level, performing successful stunts can be sort of difficult but do look spectacular.  But it's a three step process: to get the boost you need to perform the tricks; you need big air to perform most tricks; and to snag this big air you have to ďpreloadĒ your jumps, like ollying in the Tony Hawkís Pro Skater series.  The combination of all these factors means quite a bit of concentration is required to successfully stay ahead of the pack.  Surprisingly, none of this confuses the control system.

The tracks are great!  A checkpoint system is used to keep you on course and each large track is filled with a lot of twist and turns Ė and the occasional black hole. The ATVís have headlights on them so why canít I turn them on?  One race in particular features a jump that lands you right before entering a pitch-black corner.  Even knowing the corner was there didnít help.  I always managed to plow into it.  Working headlights are sorely needed in these circumstances but overall, the tracks are challenging without being frustrating.


Replicating speed is always a goal for racing games and ATV 2 meets the challenge.  Fast is fast, especially with the better ATVís, and the blurring effect during boost use really does bring that sense of speed home. (Or just crunch into something to watch your rider fly into the distance.)  On the whole, the graphics deliver without slowdown.  The same can be said of the soundtrack even though it relentlessly replays the same 7 tunes. (Kudos to the developers for allowing fine-tuning of four audio levels.)


As racing games go, grab ATV Quad Power Racing 2.  It has lots to offer outside the standard Career and Arcade modes and is executed with style and fun, which was enough to make me keep playing.


- Omni

(February 27, 2003)

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