Dirt Trax FX

I was actually hoping this would be a different game. One that didn’t suck. Turns out I was thinking of Stunt Race FX, not Dirt Trax FX. Oh well, better luck next life.

I was nearly fortunate enough not to be able to load Dirt Trax FX at all, what with it being an interleaved Super FX ROM and everything. Unfortunately, my journalistic integrity got the better of me and I decided that I couldn’t possibly review a game without having played it first. So I persisted – read some literature on the subject of interleaved ROMs, downloaded a rival emulator, and re-downloaded Winzip (my evaluation period had just run out for the umpteenth time, and I’m a dirty, filthy pirate) – just to experience this polygonal prodigy. It’s a pity, because it could have escaped relatively unscathed had I based this entire review on a black screen and the title music alone (which was all I could see/hear prior to my research). But it’s not a black screen with a satisfying snare hit and cheesy rock riffs anymore. It’s an abomination in the eyes of Our Lord.

This will be my first and final warning to you: do not play this game. Remember in Oedipus Rex how the titular character struck out his eyes with long golden pins when he found out he had married and copulated with his biological mother? You’ll want to do that too after witnessing this travesty of a game in action. Even now, I type this message to you on my braille keyboard overlay.

Dirt Trax FX opens with a character selection screen, but don’t be fooled! Your selection has no bearing on anything. There is an extensive range of grotesque-looking heads on display here, enough to make an ancient Melanesian blush. When your cursor hovers over a particular character’s head, its giant maw opens and closes like a goldfish gasping for air (water?).

Come and see our wide range of generic, disembodied heads down at your local Head Barn on sale today!
Check out our wide range of generic disembodied heads down at your local Head Barn on sale today!

It’s rather disturbing to watch, but not nearly as unsettling as the sensual onslaught that follows. Essentially, your choice of dying-goldfish-head dictates three things:

  1. Which theme song schizophrenically overrides the cheesy rock riff for no apparent reason during each race.
  2. What colour garb your motorcross rider is wearing.
  3. Which character’s disembodied head appears in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

I was feeling pretty cool, so I went with Fang who wore his baseball cap backwards in a decidedly ‘street’ manner. Ballin’. Here is the result (please remove any sharp instruments in your immediate vicinity):

Wait a second, where's the yellow backwards cap?  Oh, there it is, in the bottom-left corner, so you know who he is on the inside!  And that's what really counts, isn't it?
Wait a second, where’s the yellow backwards cap? Oh, there it is, in the bottom-left corner, so you know who he is ON THE INSIDE! And isn’t that what really counts?

OH GOD MAKE THE HURTING STOP. Even my empty eye sockets burn as I bring you screenshots from the abyss. Polygons pop in and out almost whimsically as 2D biker sprites scribble over them with their ugliness. The music changes about as frequently and gracefully as two old-timers fighting over a gramophone – you can almost hear the screech between record changes. You can’t even run over the flag-waving official. And once you’ve completed 22.63 laps of socket-stabbing torture, you are ‘rewarded’ with this:

"I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ!!"
“I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ!!”

Play Road Rash 3 if you must. It’s less ugly and you can run over the flag-waver.

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