For those not familiar with Joe Danger, he is a former star making a comeback in the world of stunt bike racing. A number of tours each consisting of a few events makes up the career mode in which he must complete each event to progress to the next. The aim of the game is to get Joe to the finish line, but nothing is ever as easy as getting from A to B because this is stunt riding and there are many obstacles to overcome.
Some comparisons can be made with games such as Exitebike and Trials HD, and to an extent it is a mix of these games. The events in the Career mode are filled with obstructions and hazards such as death-defying ramps, speed bumps, shark filled tanks, spikes and many more. The tracks have three lanes which you can race on, you can’t change lane at any time and may only do so when there is a lane switcher, usually before a hazard or to offer an alternative route. There are a good mixture of events which keep the game feeling fresh and fun; from speed runs in which you must collect all the coins before the time runs out, racing against your younger rivals called ‘Team Nasty’ and technical events which require a bit more skill and patience. They can vary in difficulty i.e. rival races are generally easy once you learn the optimal routes to take, but the overall difficulty increases as you progress through the career.
Each event have a varying number of challenges which earn you stars that are used to unlock further events. These include collecting items such all the stars and spelling DANGER by finding the letters, a tough challenge as the words can be hidden away in harder to reach places. Skill based challenges come in the form of hitting targets on the race track, completing the event within a time limit and perhaps the trickiest of them all keeping your combo meter at 100% by continuously performing stunt combinations. New to Special Edition are 25 ‘SE Pro Medals’ which are gained by completing all the challenges in certain events. These challenges are what keep you coming back for more after you complete the events and add a lot of replayability to the game.
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Also new to Special Edition are ‘The Labs’ set off track in a blueprint design type scenario. This is a new series of events which acts initially as a tutorial to learn the basics and then moves on to advanced tactics and level design. But don’t pass this off as only a tutorial as there are over 20 events which in the later stages are very challenging, more so than the career mode. They are quite tricky and require patience and quick reflexes as the obstacles are placed to cause presses of the Back button to restart much like Trials HD (see trailer at end of the review).
Two more modes are found in the game and while not new to Special Edition they do add value. The first is the Sandbox which allows you to create your own events using the built-in editor. The editor is extremely easy to use with a simple menu listing all the available items such as ramps, traps and scenery that you can place on the track. Once you have built your masterpiece you can play it or share with your friends. Unfortunately there is no central server to download custom levels from, so you will have to do a bit of networking to make friends and get them to send you the levels. The second mode is a local split-screen two player race which has 11 events to compete on. It would have been great to have an online mode and would have added a lot more replayabilty but sadly you will have to stick to local.
A game like this can live or die on its controls and thankfully Joe Danger handles his bike very well. Accelerating and decelerating/reversing use the trigger buttons, and when in the air this changes to moving forwards and backwards. Stunts are easily performed by using a combination of the analogue stick and bumper buttons, this refills your turbo boost as well as increasing your score. Jumping and ducking can be a little tricky in the heat of the moment as they both use the X button. Holding the button will duck and releasing it will perform a jump, whereas tapping it will perform a jump. It can lead to some occasional cheap deaths if mistimed or an accidental slip of the finger.
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The cartoon style graphics used throughout the game fit the humorous theme. Nothing is taken too seriously, especially with the many ways to die such as being impaled by spikes or falling into a shark infested tank. The graphics are on par with the PlayStation version and are colourful and almost relax you compared to the grittier graphics style used on Trials HD. There is some customisation provided in the form of playable characters including monkey and chicken suits complete with alternative star icons. The music is a collection of 60’s style lounge and funk tunes which in my opinion sound great, some people may differ and find it annoying after a while though.
There are a good 12 hours worth of content to get through with over 100 events to play, and don’t forget you can go back to collect all the missing stars which will add a few more hours on top. There is a bit of everything in the game to suit players, whether it be racing, winning every single star and even some simple puzzle solving. Owners of the original game may find there is not enough new content to warrant another purchase, however if you missed it first time round or have been waiting for the XBLA version it is worth 1200 :MSPoints: and I highly recommend it!
A very enjoyable game with a good difficulty curve. Plenty of replayability by going back to earn missed stars. Sandbox and multiplayer also add lifespan to the game.
Good presentation, seamless menu design. Colourful cartoon style graphics suit the theme of the game.
A nice mix of 60's style music goes well with the game, though it may annoy some people.