Not all of us can get out to the motocross track or have room for a bike, but almost all of us do have a gaming console. For this reason, there are a lot of people that love motocross video games, even if they’ve never ridden a bike themselves. Over the years, we’ve been treated to a lot of great motocross video games, but which ones are truly the best? Here are our picks for the five best motocross video games of all time.
You can’t talk about motocross video games without mentioning the one that started it all back in 1984. Initially released for the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System, “Excitebike” was a side-scrolling 8-bit racer that taught players the importance of finding the right speed for jumps on a motocross track. Sure it was difficult, but NES players had a lot of fun with it.
Not only did “Excitebike” set the tone for other NES side-scrollers, but it also launched a slew of sequels in the franchise including “Excitebike 64” and “Excitebike: World Rally”. People are split on the actual quality of the original “Excitebike”, but there’s no doubting its importance to video games overall and introducing a lot of youngsters to the sport.
4. MX Superfly
There was that special era of video games where you couldn’t yet race online but could purchase downloadable content including new songs and racers. “MX Superfly” was part of that era, and was released on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube in the summer of 2002. A sequel to “MX 2002”, “Superfly” improved a lot from the first game and felt like the first true simulation in motocross.
The game hasn’t aged particularly well compared to others on the list, but “MX Superfly” was an amazing game for its time that featured outdoor racing, supercross, and even a stunt challenge. “MX Superfly” received generally positive reviews overall no matter what system it was on and motocross fans still come back to this game every now and then.
3. MX Unleashed
“MX 2002 featuring Ricky Carmichael” was the first of the THQ motocross trilogy, with “Superfly” being the second. The final installment of the series was “MX Unleashed”, which was released in February 2004 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but surprisingly not the GameCube. “MX Unleashed” further tweaked the style that made “MX Superfly” so enjoyable and added some new features to go along with it.
“MX Unleashed” felt like a true “Superfly” sequel, and fans were treated to it many years later when it became available on mobile phones and was included in Xbox’s Games With Gold program. While the graphics are what you expect from a PS2 game, the gameplay definitely withstands the test of time.
2. MX vs. ATV Reflex
Following the success of the MX Trilogy by THQ, the publisher set out to expand their horizons, getting ATVs included and launching the “MX vs. ATV” franchise in 2005 starting with “MX vs. ATV Unleashed”. There have been several games as part of the series since then, with “MX vs. ATV Reflex” being at the top of the list of fan favorites.
To get the full enjoyment out of “Reflex”, though, players would be better suited to use the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions that received great reviews as the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable versions didn’t get the same type of love. It takes some getting used to on the controls after playing the MX Trilogy, but the payoff is worth it.
Getting away from THQ for the top spot, Italian video game publisher Milestone has the “official motocross videogame” with their series MXGP, which was first released in 2014 on the PlayStation 3 and 4, as well as the Xbox 360. Since then, there have been several installments, with the top being “MXGP3”.
Where the THQ series of games is more arcade-esque, “MXGP” is a better simulation of what it’s like to be in a race with over a dozen other riders. CPUs racers are incredibly smart, even down to whipping their bikes over a jump. Overall, “MXGP 3” received positive reviews and helped push the series to where it is today.