Platform: Gameboy Advance

Genre: Sports

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Hotgen Studios

ESRB: E (Everyone)

Released: Q4 2001

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Mat Hoffmanís Pro BMX

Score: 7.5/10

 

Pros

- Nice, varied gameplay

- Decent visuals

- Tricks are reasonably ease to execute

 

 

Cons:

- Some maneuvering tires out the thumbs

- Sound effects could use a little bit more oomph

 

 

Related Links:

Review: Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX (Dreamcast)

Review: Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 (Playstation 2)

Review: Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 (Gamecube)

 

"Mat Hoffmanís Pro BMX actually does a good job of providing a little something for everybody."

 

At first I was pretty skeptical as to how well this game would translate making its way from the Dreamcast to the Gameboy Advance.  It just seemed so necessary that the game stay in its 3D world, but after putting Hoffman through its paces itís still plenty of fun in its 2D, handheld world.  Decent visuals, responsive controls, and itís whole pick up and play quality are the high points of this game making it a worthy candidate for witling away a few hours on a lengthy road trip.  

 

mat-hoffman-pro-bmx-gba-1.jpg (25147 bytes)          mat-hoffman-pro-bmx-gba-2.jpg (20920 bytes)

The key positive aspect of this game is that it easily lends itself to being played in quick burst.  You donít have to worry about investing an hour or so at a time into the game in order to see any progress.  Each course has a number of things that must be accomplished in order to unlock the next track, but it doesnít feel like a chore at all.  In fact it feels a lot more like a game of Pac Man where you simply worry about outdoing yourself in subsequent runs on the course until you have gotten enough of the goals completed to get to the next course.  Once you get the hang of the gameplay itís not too difficult to get the rest of the tracks unlocked, but the challenge is still present in trying to complete absolutely every goal on every course.  Itís the exact same formula as the Tony Hawk series and it works just fine here.  

There are plenty of game modes to choose from with Tournament, Career, and free runs, allowing players to either put in a relatively length commitment to the game for a sitting or just kill 15 minutes while waiting for the bus.  Itís very versatile in the options it gives the player.

The presentation is a pleasant surprise here too.  With this sort of game we almost always see it in a 3D world so it has engrained itself in most gamers psyche to a degree that this is just the way they are displayed.  Luckily for Hoffman, this game actually looks just fine.  With a three quarter overhead view players still have a very acceptable view of what is happening while moving throughout the levels.  Moreover, nothing is terribly small or difficult to see on the screen unlike some portable games where squinting and straining are the norm.

mat-hoffman-pro-bmx-gba-3.jpg (22124 bytes)          mat-hoffman-pro-bmx-gba-4.jpg (20299 bytes)

Complementing the ease of view is the gameís ease of control.  While everything has been squeezed into a scant few buttons in the GBA version of Hoffman, everything that needs be done can be done with relative ease.  The most important maneuvers are handled by with the directional pad plus the A and B buttons, allowing players to easily go nuts with vert tricks and whatnot.  However, button mashing wonít do the trick, pun intended, when doing these moves.  Granted you can rack up a decent score this way, but to do really well learning each move and finding ways to string them together will yield far better results.  About the only gripe I have with the controls of the game is that my thumb gets all tuckered out working the directional pad on the verts, but other than that the controls are very smooth, responsive, and well laid out.

Audio, while serviceable, won't knock anyone's socks off.  The crowd cheers are surprisingly good, but everything else makes the noises one would expect, but through tiny, muddled speakers.  The music, though, goes a long way to make up for it.  Itís nothing out of the ordinary, with your typical peppy tunes to keep the energy up.  It gets the job done.

Mat Hoffmanís Pro BMX actually does a good job of providing a little something for everybody.  It has some depth for those who want a little meat on their gaming bones, as well as providing quick bursts of gaming for those who just want to kill a little bit of time.  But whatever side of the fence you stand, there is a lot of fun to be had here.

- Mr. Nash

(January 27, 2002)

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