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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Evolved Games
GENRE: Extreme Sports
PLAYERS:   1-2
June 27, 2006
 Written by Troy Matsumiya  on January 09, 2007

Review: Crappy demons.

Crusty Demons is based on the real freestyle motocross (FMX) extreme sports entertainment/competitive tour of the same name. The real thing is filled with exciting thrills, spills and is a ton of fun ? which makes you wonder why the video game version is so boring, frustrating and as enjoyable as watching mud dry. No, scratch that; watching mud dry is a lot more fun.

The game features five real FMX riders: Kenny Bartram, Seth Enslow, Ronnie Faisst, Dan Pastor and Twitch Stenberg. Apparently, the Devil likes FMX and so bought their souls in return for immortality; this gives the riders the ability to survive brutal crashes that can literally break every bone in their body and splatter the ground with several pints of blood. If the riders want to earn back their souls, they will have to successfully complete many challenges that take them from New York to Cancun, Amsterdam, Rio, Tokyo and Arizona. It sounds silly but sets up the hapless riders to endure some nasty crashes that are occasionally hilarious, but mostly frustrating.

Each rider (including 11 fictional ones) have unique statistics in four attributes: Flight (how far they will fly off their bike), Air Control (how much control you have over their trajectory while in the air), Smashability (how much blood they lose and how many bones they break in a crash) and Trick Skill (how good their balance is when performing tricks on the ground). They can drive any of 30+ vehicles (each with their own performance attributes) mainly consisting of dirt bikes and street crotch rockets, but also include ATVs, a beach buggy and 4x4, along with goofy ones like a golf cart, a mini pimp car and a riding lawnmower.

Single player is divided into three game modes: Freeride, where you are free to roam around any unlocked level and do whatever you want; Devil Rush, where you must complete a rather large list of complicated tasks within two very short minutes; and Story Mode, where you progress through the story by completing several missions and races. Along the way you can unlock new characters, vehicles, photos and videos of the real riders showing off their impressive talents.

On the surface, the gameplay sounds like a blast: performing cool tricks with your bike both in the air and on the ground; racing across rooftops in Amsterdam; popping floating love dolls in New York; rolling around a giant beach ball in Cancun; running over pimps; and dragging a hapless guy dressed as a parrot behind your lawnmower. Other times you have to launch your rider from his bike to hit targets; at first these are quite hilarious as your rider screams in agonized slow motion while crunching in bloody painful contortions when they hit something. You rack up points based on your performance, either by stringing together combos of tricks or by breaking more bones and spilling more blood. You can view an extensive list of stats like Longest Airtime, Longest Wheelie and Longest Jump, along with fun stuff like Greatest Blood Loss and Total Number of Bones Broken (which will number in the thousands by the time you're done ? if you have the patience to finish the game, that is).

Sounds pretty fun so far, right? Unfortunately, all of that fun potential is completely wasted thanks to the horrible controls. Steering is extremely twitchy, turning even the tiniest nudge on the thumbstick into a wild careening spin out of control. Add in the fact that the slightest brush against an object can make you crash and the level of frustration rises exponentially. So instead of enjoying cool stunts and funny crashes, the twitchy handling and horribly inaccurate rider launch mechanism forces you to repeat the same missions over and over until you feel like bashing your controller into the nearest person's head. This is extremely disappointing coming from Climax, developer of the planet's premier motorcycle racing sim, MotoGP.

The button layout is terrible too; instead of using the right trigger for the gas like every other racing game, they went old school and mapped it to the A button ? which would be okay if they also didn't map the Super Nitro Boost button to White, making it awkward to pull off the precise timing needed to complete the best tricks. Worst of all is that the nearby Black button will launch your rider off his bike, which can cause a flurry of unimaginably foul language to spew from your mouth when you accidentally hit the wrong button at the end of a nearly perfect run. Crashing your rider on purpose can be quite funny but helplessly watching them crash when you don't want them to is a great way to raise your blood pressure.

The maps are small but cramped and maze-like, making it easy to get confused and lose your bearings, adding yet another level of frustration when you're trying to complete a timed mission. The flaky camera doesn't help either, since it sometimes blocks your view by pulling behind a wall or sticks at an awkward angle that severely limits your line of sight.

Graphically, the environments are quite decent, but the NPC characters look and move like inflatable dolls, and the NPC cars consist of blocks on wheels. The blood splatters are generous but are really simple red blobs that are way too bright.

Worst of all is the horribly repetitive and annoying voiceovers. Hearing the riders yell the same inane and adolescent phrases over and over will grate on your nerves to the point where you wish you could make them crash for real just to shut them the hell up.

You can also play against your friends in split-screen multiplayer but if you disliked your friends that much, you probably wouldn't even let them in your house to begin with.

Bottom Line
Simply put, there are a lot better bike and extreme sports games out there. The only interesting thing about Crusty Demons is the ability to launch riders into a bone crunching crash, but the FlatOut games do this much better and are a hell of a lot more fun. If you're a Crusty Demons fan, you'd be far better off watching their DVDs or going to their shows and skip this exercise in frustration.

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