Supercross 3D! I'm sure that this will get a lot of "trash" ratings. It's generally mentioned as one of the worst games in the Jaguar's library. I remember first reading about Supercross 3D in a preview in '95 and it looked promising. Once released, the actual reviews were far less favorable. I ended up buying it at Electronics Boutique when stores started liquidating Jaguar stock in the summer of '96.
On the positive side, control is simple and precise and the track layouts are well-designed and varied. Graphically, the riders, onlookers and tracks look pretty good when you're not moving. The jumbotron following the action is a great touch. I'm also impressed by the dirt being kicked up by the tires. There's even a brief replay of both accidents and finishes. It's all very "next-gen" for 1995 and it's clear that a lot of thought went into these aspects of the game.
Unfortunately, the graphical touches, particularly the use of texture mapping, are likely the cause of game breaking slow down. In "Race" mode, the frame rate is incredibly slow and the graphics are so choppy that the game is practically unplayable. This is most noticeable at points in a race where several riders are on the screen at once. The choppiness is distracting to the point that it can cause a wreck and the loss of several places. It's truly frustrating, especially in "Tournament" where the goal is to finish in the top three.
Then there is the unforgiving collision detection where any contact with the flat-shaded areas just off the track cause your bike to wreck. It really becomes an issue in tight cornering. And what fun is racing when you can't hug corners?
In "Practice" mode, Supercross 3D is almost enjoyable. With only one bike on the screen, the frame rate issues are a lot less distracting. You actually get a sense of speed. It's no surprise that "Practice" mode is what's displayed as the attract screen. Had Atari and Tiertex managed to hold "Race" mode to the same frame rate as in "Practice", they may have had a decent racer on their hands. As it is, the game is hard to recommend unless you're a Jaguar enthusiast.
I will say that there is something fun about trying to get through tournament mode despite the game's flaws. Supercross 3D challenges you to overcome it's frame rate and collision detection issues. That said, fun shouldn't come from fighting through performance and design issues.
I really want to like Supercross 3D but ultimately it was poorly implemented. The frame rate issues and collision detection combine to to make Supercross 3D much less fun than it should be. While there is fun to be had in "Practice" mode and in simply overcoming the game breaking problems, these aren't enough to salvage the game. I won't call it trash but it's a solid "Meh."
Thanks for reading and keep up the great work Shinto!