Bunnyhops. Barspins. Wheelies. These are things Fl1ppy doesn’t understand, for fl1ppy is a skateboarder. So when Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX was advertised, I brushed it off as a cheap cash-in on the growing extreme sports phenomenon. I was kind of right, except now years later I’ve decided to give it a real chance. I’m going to explore the wonders of the grand and forgotten past of Activision O2, and you’re fucking coming with me bitch. Let’s learn what the Hoffman has that the Birdman doesn’t.
We first caught a glimpse of MHPB when the first level was shipped with THPS2 as a demo. In the demo, it states that the game was originally going to be released around Fall of 2000, but due to the release of Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, the game was delayed until May 2001. In an extra twist of irony, the game was developed by Shaba Games, previously known for their THPS ripoff ‘Grind Session.’ Apparently Activision took notice and decided that it would be better to hire the competition. Below is a commercial.
The gameplay is based completely on THPS2, but the clunkiness of controlling a BMX weighs far heavier than a skateboard. It’s one of those things you have to play to fully understand what I mean, but it shouldn’t be hard to imagine why. Perhaps I’m being biased, but Freestyle BMX just doesn’t invite the same fluidity as Skateboarding. The clumsy nature of hauling around a bike doesn’t translate as well to gaming as skateboarding does. The limitations become obvious when you notice the pattern of objectives the game has.
Each level will have you completing 5 objectives (as opposed to THPS2 which has 10): 2 high score objectives, 1 S-K-A-T-E style objective (called T-R-I-C-K), 1 objective that requires you to break 5 things, and finally 1 objective that has you collecting a ‘hidden magazine.’ It’s clear that not much thought or personality was put into the actual gameplay objectives. This causes an even bigger stink because the game is actually pretty fucking hard. Even though you have a mere 5 objectives to complete, just to unlock stage 3, you’ll need to have completed 8 objectives from stages 1 and 2… I still have no goddamn clue how to get the secret magazine in stage 1 and it took me 40 minutes to climb the crane in stage 2.
Despite these drawbacks, the game is still very fun to play. I completely attribute this to the levels. They’re spacious, creative, and downright fun. New York City Park is my favorite, and I have to say it would it make for a fantastic THPS map 😉
In fact, I’d say the designers of MHPB did such a wonderful job that even Neversoft had to take notice and learn from them! Check out the Construction Yard:
Remind you of anything??
Also we’ve got Deltron 3030’s masterpiece single ‘Positive Contact’ which later appeared in Tony Hawk’s Underground. Along with other great tracks like Outkast’s classic ‘Bombs Over Baghdad,’ the soundtrack is on the same level of greatness as its proskater counterpart.
Speaking of which, the main man himself Tony Hawk makes an appearance in the game along with 2 levels from THPS1:
(bonus quota from sr1 hee hee)
Now can we officially say that the Warehouse is the most overused level in video games? I swear. I hated it in THPS1 and I hated it in the 5 or so other games!
But we also have a granny..
Well, here we are, you’re at the bottom of the page, and I’ve run out of insightful things to say. I spent 2 hours going through the game’s data files and found nothing interesting, so I’m closing the bo- I mean I’m ending the article here. If you ever get a chance to play this game, go for it. It’s fun and it’ll give you another dose of that time when Activision games were pure. Until next time, see you in the streets.