E3 2012 – Avatar Motocross Madness Hands-On: A Light-Hearted Reboot

Posted by on June 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Hiding in plain sight, Microsoft had a single kiosk dedicated to Motocross Madness on the E3 show floor. The game hadn’t been announced in any capacity and it was a bit of a surprise, but Microsoft deemed it worthy enough to fly one of its twenty-five developers from Austria-based Bongfish to show it off. Destined for a post-Summer release, Motocross Madness is a reboot of the series for Xbox Live Arcade, something that Microsoft actually came to Bongfish with after their success with the snowboarding title Stoked.

The Motocross Madness games, released around the turn of the century, were pretty hardcore games. They were the first titles that really showed me the power of physics in video games, years before Unreal Tournament had defeated foes tossing and tumbling like ragdolls. Being PC exclusives (Microsoft didn’t have a console yet), chances are you played them with a full-sized joystick or keyboard. Bongfish developer Michael Putz, who was able to answer questions about this new version, said he ‘lost a year’ to the original title, so it’s no surprise that the team is enthusiastic about this reboot. Taking place over several diverse areas (including Egypt and Iceland), you can race on individual tracks or rack up stunt points in their respective ‘sandbox’ modes.

The game plays like many recent motocross games, but even for an early build, it was still extremely playable. As you reach big air points, you can use the trick stick in combination with the X, Y, or B face buttons to perform stunts. These stunts can net you both experience – which can allow you to spin faster or jump higher – and cash – which can be used for cosmetic tweaks to your avatar, which can be imported and exported with all of their individual costume articles you’ve accumulated. Want to race around wearing Master Chief’s Spartan helmet? You sure can. Putz even teased that if this does well, other ‘Madness’ reboots may follow. I’m already having dreams of monster trucks…

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