Until its demise in 2004, Acclaim, had the only legitimate claim to be a rival to Activision’s action sports franchise, although with a roster not nearly as deep. What Acclaim lacked in depth, it made up in quality, and yes, I’m pretending BMX XXX never existed.
While I thoroughly enjoyed “Aggressive Inline,” and have written as much previously, “Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2,” released on September 6, 2001, is Acclaim’s finest offering in the genre, even surpassing Activision’s Mat Hoffman franchise.
While the game wasn’t perfect (some camera glitches, the inability for both players to ride simultaneously during multiplayer and the absence of a quick restart menu option during Proquest runs, for example), where Mirra 2 stands helmet and pads over the rest is in its trick system. The ability to combine tricks, modifiers and spins into entirely new tricks went unparalleled until EA’s “Skate” series years later.
As is the case with the Tony Hawk series, my favorite levels have always been the ones based on real world locations and Mirra is no different. The very first level beautifully recreates the famed Camp Woodward, the mecca for aspiring and professional riders and skaters. It also contains the single most frustrating challenge in any video game I’ve ever played, in which you must grind 525 feet down five slightly curved rails. Timing your jump from rail to rail perfectly is key and almost impossible. Online strategy guides tell you to just grind what you can jump off the rail, manual until you get to some other nearby rails and finish the goal that way. It took me months to complete that goal, but I did it the way it was it was intended.
The soundtrack for the game is also supurb featuring tracks from Rage Against the Machine, Black Sabbath, Sublime, A Tribe Called Quest and Godsmack, among others.
While there was a Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 in 2002, it was exclusive to the Game Boy Advance rather than consoles. What would have been the third Mirra-endorsed game for consoles ended up being the ill-fated “BMX XXX,” which was to Acclaim what “E.T.” was to Atari In 1983, except that over the past 30 years, “E.T.” was defended, beloved and eventually redeemed, none of which will ever happen to “BMX XXX.”
Despite its age, “Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2” holds up remarkably well and still provides a fun experience.