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TOXIC GRIND  ( XBOX / PS2 ) 
Toxic Grind
79%
Interesting Angle
Demanding Gameplay
Tricky Controls

Well this was interesting. A extreme BMX game with a storyline? Original to say the least, but could Toxic Grind shine much like other games in the extreme sports genre, namely Tony Hawk and Agressinve Inline? I popped in the disk to take a look. 

You play the able-BMXer Jeff in present-day downtown USA, who before long is sent headfirst to 2090 where he finds himself as a contestant in a particularly lethal BMX game show. The prize? his life. You see, in 2090, BMXing is frowned upon. Dixon von Glass has seen to it that everyone engaging in such illegal practices with be dealt with in his futuristic arena. 

The story is pretty nicely presented in a cartoon storyboard format. Split screen two player mode is supported and completed levels can be used to create your own custom tournament. All levels have a list of objectives which need to be achieved to progress. It has to be said, some of these seemed incredibly difficult to achieve and at times frustration set in after coming off my bike for the twenty-fifth time in the same location. 

As you wade though levels you get less time to achieve the objectives. This is due to a genetic altering device that releases deadly toxins into your body causing instant death after a certain amount of time. All good fun for the viewers, but bad news for Jeff. Fortunately a mysterious person assists you by providing antidotes to give you more time to beat the level. Trust me, you will be using these a lot! 

Visually, Toxic Grind is nice to look at. Most levels look good and it seems to run as smooth a glass no matter how busy the screen is. Controls are tricky, especially if your not really a big fan of extreme sports. The tutorial helps here, but much of the enjoyment of Toxic Grind will only really kick in mid-game when you are fully familiar with the control pad and the storyline gathers momentum. The sound is nothing special, but some nice dialogue makes the whole environment enjoyable. 

All in all Toxic Grind hardly gets the most out of the XBox. The storyline angle is new and interesting but it is easy to get frustrated at the almost insanely hard manouvers and jumps. True-BMXers will probably dig it however and for them I would definately recommend it purely for the new angle THQ have worked into the game here, but if your just looking for something different than a first-person shooter or driving game on the console - I'd say this is a rent first!

Screenshots
 

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