How diversified can an ATV game get anyway? We already have ATV Off-Road Fury, which currently holds the title, and now we have ATV Quad Power Racing 2. What are the differences and how do you tell them apart?

Confronted by both games at the store I can't say that you would go wrong with either one. They are both good games that allow us to experience the thrills and spills of an exciting ATV race through a variety of environments. Where you could go wrong is in purchasing this game thinking that it's an improved version of Off-Road Fury. It's not. Quad Power Racing 2 is basically in the same leagues as Fury which is disappointing since Fury is more than a year old already.

Where Quad Power Racing 2 differs is in the difficulty aspect of the gameplay. This game is much easier to play. You will get much deeper into it before you start looking around for cheat codes. This is good news for occasional gamers. The controls are simple and pulling off tricks couldn't be easier. Launch yourself into the air and press the trick button while manipulating the analog stick. This will earn you points and turbo boosts which can help you catch up to the pack or maintain your lead, though it's really just a short-term aid.

The key to playing this game is in knowing how to handle your machine on the terrain. The environments include beach, dirt, forest, ice and a construction site. Aside from compensating for the surfaces, there will be plenty of hills and obstacles in your path. You can make short work of some of these obstacles by using the pre-load button. Simply press it when you begin to climb a hill and release it at the exact moment you reach the top. Like a recoiled spring, your launch will be more powerful allowing you to stay in the air longer, complete more tricks and land further down the track. Timing of the pre-load in the mogul section of a track is crucial.

An attack button allows for some aggressive gameplay whereby you can attempt to knock another rider off his machine and take over his position. This works both ways and it won't be long until you begin taking some shots out of nowhere from similarly aggressive players. It's like stirring up a hornets nest.

Modes in the game include Career, Single, Arcade, Freestyle, Challenge and Time Trials. The Career mode is where you unlock new quads and open new tracks. Freestyle allows you to get some practice in without the added pressure of a race, or you can just drive along at your own pace and appreciate the scenery. Challenge puts you to the test on the ground and in the air. An arena is filled with ramps, obstacles and a slalom course. You have to complete certain objectives within a time limit. You can also take the challenge of crossing a variety of bridges that span suspended platforms. I hope you're not afraid of heights because the depth and 3D perspective is awe inspiring.

Not the greatest looking game ever, at least the environments will keep you interested and there is always something new around every turn. The framerate is smooth for most of the game and the draw distance lets you see far down the track; it's especially noticeable when you reach open areas. The vehicles look great and display some nice reflective lighting effects. The riders are crude looking and suffer from marionette-motion syndrome. The tunes are hard rocking but at only seven tracks you're going to grow very tired of them.

Recommended for beginning to intermediate gamers, this game might not even be worth a rental to the veteran player as it could be construed as a dumbed down version of Off-Road Fury.

System: PS2
Dev: Acclaim
Pub: Acclaim
Released: Jan 2003
Players: 2
Review by Al