Trials Evolution is an XBLA exclusive from RedLynx. A physics-based motorcycle racer, it’s a title I would define as a modern take on the pernicious piss-stain that is Excitebike. (Perhaps the latter 1985 release, an incontinent octogenarian in video game years, grew ashamed of its corpulent flesh as wrinkled as a scrotum alcohol-ravaged physique, and decided to clean up its act. Mr. Excitebike took up karate for seniors classes, learned how to kick would-be muggers in their unsuspecting villainous nutsacks, and spent time on the treadmill. Thus, he has been reborn as Trials Evolution, in the style of that bird who was mocked for being about as attractive as a Bulldog’s balls but eventually emerged as a sexy beast indeed. You remember that childhood story:
“Stop posting flaming sacks of dogshit through my bird-letterbox! I may look like Satan’s rectum after an attack of explosive diarrhoea, but I’ll be a swan one day. I don’t think I need
to tell you what belligerent bastards those things can be.”
That’s The Ugly Duckling to the best of my recollection, anyway. My mother did tend to drink heavily, so the story she imparted to me all those years ago may not be quite the official rendition. My point, whatever it was, is there nonetheless.
There’s an expansive single player career. You and your anonymous biker-dude progress across a series of courses, earning medals for quick times that enable you to take the next license test. As your rank increases, you’ll unlock better bikes, customizable gear and a more nefarious crop of tracks. You remain connected with friends throughout via Live, allowing you to instantly compare your woeful performance with others. It’s all rather time trial ghost-esque. (In the sense that that’s damn well exactly what it is.) Indeed, their own scores will be represented as you play alone, sans bike. Rather, they’ll take the form of a lameass little dot with a Gamertag attached, speeding inexorably ahead and leaving you choking shamefully on their shameful exhaust fumes of shame.
“CEASE YOUR INGRESS, GHASTLY FRIEND-DOT!” I frequently howl, chagrined. “MY PITEOUS ABILITIES MUST NOT BE REVEALED IN THIS MANNER! CURSE YOU AND YOUR DERISIVE CIRCULAR BASTARDRY!”
Personally, I’m convinced that these fellow players aren’t mere human flesh-bags at all, but Satan himself. When he’s not buggering miscreants or performing testicular acupuncture with flaming needles, you know he’s down there playing Trials Evolution.
“MWAHAHAHA! My malevolent machinations know no bounds! I shall pose as somebody’s gamer friends, setting high scores that they’ll surely spend literally minutes trying to surpass! I’m so damn fiendish, it makes my balls itch! My glorious, giant red demon-balls. I love them so.”
It’s this multiplayer element, primarily, that makes the game ridiculously entertaining. The tracks are, in truth, more of a series of obstacles to traverse. It’s akin to an Evel Knievel crazy-time simulator, rather than a racer. You will start with comparatively simplistic hills and such, before later negotiating a whole ludicrous labyrinth of obstacles, whose apparent goal in life is to shatter as many of your vertebrae as possible. They will then point and laugh at your mangled corpse, because anthropomorphic trees or hedges or the like can be major assholes like that. When this is combined with RedLynx’s divine ragdoll physics, hilarity will ensue every few seconds. Particularly when alcohol is involved, that magic elixir that makes everything infinitely more entertaining. (Including the ‘eat my turd’ bet. Which, I’d like to stress, never happened. Although, the day a wad of dollar bills isn’t worth rather brown teeth and the breath of a dog that’s been licking its ‘nads is a sad day for humanity. A sad day indeed.) Trials is a game that demands great care with the controls, to keep your dude from becoming a hideous blood-bleeding viscera stain on the floor. The slightest mistake, ill-timed somersault or poor landing will send you sprawling on the floor like a dive from an overpaid perfumed soccer player. (It’s not all Wipe my ass with an ostrich feather! Then scratch my balls for me! for those guys.) It’s monstrously entertaining when engaging in local multiplayer, more so when hampered by drunken dexterity.
“How in the name of Satan’s scrotum did I land upside down? In a ditch? On a stick of dynamite, which sent my already-eviscerated self flying into the stratosphere? In sum... what the shit?”
It’s like some fantastical farce-party, and everyone’s invited. Even that hobo in town, with the suspect skin condition and the piss-soaked pants. I’m obliged, also, to reiterate the huge amount of content on offer for the budget XBLA price. Most importantly, though, it’s infinitely more amusing to screw up than succeed in this game. Which is a refreshing rarity indeed.
Finally, two gameplay videos for your delectation. One shows how it's actually done, while the other demonstrates some of the grotesque schadenfreude-tinged hilarity you can expect:
Article by Chris Littlechild
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