Title  : ATV Offroad Fury
Platforms  : Sony PlayStation 2
Publisher  : SCEA
ESRB Rating  : Everyone
Game Rating  : 8.0
Review by  : Larry Tipton

ATV Offroad Fury puts you behind the wheel of an all terrain vehicle in diverse offroad racing environments from wide-open spaces to indoor arenas. ATV Offroad Fury features eleven ATV models from the top manufactures. The action can be intense at times while simultaneously maintaining a certain level of realism. This mix of arcade and simulation creates an off road gaming experience that is not to be missed. 

The game borrows heavily from the Motocross Madness series for the personal computer. The reason for this is quite simple since the same Pdeveloper created that terrific series. 

Graphically similar in many ways to that series, ATV's racing environments are rich in detail. The tracks look stunning. There are over twenty tracks in all. There are spacious outdoor tracks and supercross-style modes in both indoor and outdoor environments. When I first played one of the outdoor events I had a deja vu experience since the lay of the land looked similar to Smuggler's Run, another PS2 title with plenty of wide-open spaces. 

The developers have done many things right with the game engine. There are no invisible walls to keep you from leaving the track. They have created a control scheme that is intuitive and responsive. The control is nearly perfect. The frame rate keeps up with little to no slowdown anywhere. A four-player split screen mode is included and it too has a great frame rate. That said, there is some fogging but it does not detract from the game play. You are rewarded for good driving skills. The physics model is terrific. The vehicles behave in a realistic manner when turning, jumping, landing and crashing. Sometimes the jumps look a little too over the top though, as your ATV seems to literally fly too far if you are not careful. 

The actual ATV models look realistic. Each performs, as you would expect them to based on the track's varied terrain. The animated riders are richly animated but are not overly detailed. Arms, legs and bodies are fluid in their movements. As in most of today's extreme sports, expect plenty of visually appealing bailouts, crashes, tricks and more. 

A neat little feature that the developers have included to help you feel like you are in control of your ATV and to help maximize your chances to win races is the cleverly designed vehicle jumping system employed in the game. A simple gauge gives you the visual clues that you'll need to maximize your ramp jumping skills. This, in conjunction with your lean will help you get the most out of each air born moment. 

Perhaps the only thing suspect in the game is the artificial intelligence practices deployed in the game. It seems that if you get too big of a lead the other drivers can close that lead quickly. The same can be said if you fall behind the other drivers seem to slow down a bit. This style of "intelligence" is all too common in today's games. I was hoping for something a little more realistic in this regard. Sometimes it seems that the other drivers are purposely trying to cause you to crash. Far too often I've had a CPU ATV land right on top of my vehicle after a jump. 

Sony's choice of music for the game is best described as popular grunge. I guess this was Sony's attempt at giving the game attitude. It does not get in the way but it does little to add to the game. The game sound effects are pretty nice and fit in perfectly. 

ATV Offroad Fury is a deeply satisfying game. It is the kind of game that you can quickly get into and one that will keep you playing long after you have mastered the many circuits. 


This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 19-Mar-01