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ATV: Quad Power Racing 2 (GCN)
Publisher:  Acclaim Entertainment Developer:  Climax Studios
Genre:  Racing Release Date:  01/22/2003
ESRB:  Everyone More Info on this Game
By Avi Fryman | March 10, 2003
Not the best ATV racer around, but certainly worth a spin.
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Pros Cons
Excellent visual effects; good camerawork; solid gameplay. Like its redundant soundtrack, the game is simply too short.

The chaos that surrounds you,
the facts that astound you,
at last your number has found you:
your number is one. --Rollins Band

Whether you're pulling off insane combos in Tony Hawk or kicking an opponent directly in the face during a stunt-laden jump on a high-speed 4x4 in ATV: Quad Power Racing 2, there's nothing quite like the defiant motivational rush of a Henry Rollins track when you're doing your best to quash the simulated competition. In fact, once I learned that it's possible to exclude tracks from the unimpressive seven-song playlist in QPR2, "Your Number is One" by Rollins Band is the only one that wasn't promptly axed.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack isn't the only sparse element in this otherwise solid title. Despite its overall graphic luster and enjoyable gameplay, QPR2 is relatively short on variety, and, as such, woefully short on shelf life, particularly for enthusiasts in possession of ATV: Offroad Fury 2 for the PlayStation 2. Aside from Offroad Fury's exponentially larger courses, Sony's outing also features online gameplay, leaving QPR2 in the simulated dust for broadband savvy PS2 owners.

If you've never played an ATV game, the concept is simple. As in other extreme sports titles, you've got to pass challenges to unlock tricks, most of which you will perform while airborne on your 4x4. You've got a number of basic skills to start out with, all of which are quickly learned in the tutorial mode. For example, from the start, by accelerating with the A button and pushing down on the analog stick or controller pad, you'll pop a wheelie. Later on, once you've earned the right, you'll be able to perform handstand spins and the like in the midst of massive jumps. Nearly every track is full of jumps, granting you ample opportunities to fly high and strut your stuff.

During the standard racing challenges, there are several keys to success, beyond merely driving fast. Paying special attention to the weight and abilities of your vehicle is crucial. Landing with all four wheels squarely touching uneven terrain is crucial. Timing the preload acceleration technique (holding and then releasing the R button) appropriately prior to jumps is crucial. When you develop a good sense of your vehicle, honing these skills on the fly is deeply satisfying, particularly if it means putting a long stretch of track between yourself and the competition.

Keeping an eye out for ATVs falling on you from overhead is an issue as well. Some ATVs are prone to longer, higher jumps, whereas others are easier to handle on the ground. Either way, it's a good idea to perform tricks whenever possible, as each trick will add some juice to your boost meter. You can also steal another player's boost power by knocking them off of their ATV with a tap of the Z button. Holding down the X button will engage your boost, during which vapor-trail motion lines indicate that you are driving really, really fast. This too is deeply satisfying. Careful not to get knocked off of your quad or you'll lose all of your boost power.

Kicking opponents directly in the face is all in good fun.
Although limited to fifteen tracks in the racing modes, QPR2 features a number of impressive elements that will make it worthwhile for casual gamers and obsessive completionists alike. Graphical touches include blinding sunlight (arguably brighter on the Xbox), convincing water-on-the-camera-lens effects, a rich color scheme, well-designed tracks, and a nice variety of camera angles to sort through. The ability to kick opponents off of their quads certainly gives this title an extra edge, but additional extreme elements would have been welcome. (As in the other versions of this title, although the box boasts of "an arsenal of vicious fighting moves," your arsenal consists of a singular kick, each and every time.) Aside from the standard training, career, single race, arcade, time trial, and freestyle modes, there are two types of special challenges to keep players occupied for an additional stretch: ground and tower challenges.


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