A group of hard-riding extreme bikers are killed while performing an insane stunt, only to be offered a deal by the Devil himself. He'll resurrect them and offer them immortality in exchange for them offering their crazy motorcross skills to do the Dark Lord's work. Sounds like a perfectly decent idea for a video game, right? Unfortunately, that promising concept never comes to fruition in Crusty Demons, a lifeless and frustrating Xbox concoction which, beyond its otherworldly storyline, offers practically nothing new to fans of extreme riding games.
Crusty Demons' story mode puts you in the riding boots of one of the real-life freestyle motorcross riders who make up the Crusty Demons team--including Kenny Bartram, Ronnie Faisst, Seth Enslow, and Twitch Stenberg--as well as a number of fictional riders who are even less interesting than the real thing, which is saying something. Once you've picked a character and a bike to ride (both have different attributes and characteristics to keep in mind), it's time to head to the local trailer park for the game's training mode. Here, you'll be flagged down by a number of locals who put you through your paces as you learn the basics of the Crusty Demons approach to riding motorcycles--namely, pulling off crazy ground and air tricks, and crashing into everything in sight.
In Crusty Demons, crashing your bike is more fun than riding it, at least at first.
You see, when Satan offered the Demons immortality in return for their souls, there was a catch: They might live forever, but they can still get hurt. In the game, that means you can crash into practically anything solid and watch as your rider's body hurls through the air and painfully smashes into walls, moving cars, or anything else that gets into his way. You can even purposefully launch yourself off the bike, shooting through the air like a flailing, wailing bullet until you inevitably splat against something really solid. The slow-mo sound of the riders' cries for help and blood effects when they hit a wall are funny the first few times you see the crash animations in training mode. Unfortunately, these same animations will be the bane of your gaming existence for the rest of Crusty Demons' story mode, because it's simply much too easy to crash in the game, even at relatively low speeds, and it takes too long for these animations to play through in order to get back on the bike and try a particular stunt over.
The game's training mode is amusing not just for the novelty of seeing the crash animations for the first time, but also because of the third-rate voice acting. The voices and god-awful Southern accents of the screeching redneck harpies that populate the trailer park and dole out training exercises will haunt you long after you've discarded Crusty Demons onto your pile of ill-advised game purchases.
Once you're done with training mode, it's off to a number of cosmopolitan locales, such as New York City, Amsterdam, Rio, and...Arizona. In each of these open-ended levels, you'll have a number of challenges to complete in order to move on to the next level, but you can also just ride around and perform stunts, bail off your bike, and crash as you please in the limited space available. And we do mean limited. The New York City level, for example, is confined to a space no larger than a few city blocks, and even on the later levels, such as Tokyo, things don't open up that much. Even with the relatively small size of the courses, it's still easy to get lost. The Amsterdam level, for example, features one section of town that is seemingly only accessible by driving through the second floor of a certain building and crashing through a window. The game makes periodic use of a minimap feature, but it's so vague that it's practically useless, which makes things extremely frustrating when you're trying to track down objectives during timed challenges.
Race against the devil to make it to the next level. Sounds like the lyrics to a CrÃ¼e song.