Track: Arctic Nirvana
Garage Settings: 16 med tires/soft suspsion
Lap time: 2:12
Music: "Custom Techno/Trance Jam with Dk's Voice"
The 1971 Ali vs Frazier fight in Madison Square Garden is said to be one of the all-time classic boxer vs. puncher match-ups in that sports' history. McEnroe vs Borg - the fiery serve and volley player vs. the stoic baseliner in 1980's Wimbledon Final is often cited as one of the greatest matches ever to be played on grass, unrivaled by comparison. Both are sports analogies, yes, but also clear examples of how contrasting styles can produce greatness. Such a phenomenon, if you will, isn't limited to sports, thank goodness. Heck it could be marbles, knitting, hopscotch, etc, and although we know of no documented history about those particular endeavors producing greatness, the concept itself still applies. For our purposes the topic of discussion will be limited to MTM 2 tracks and authors; more specifically, Arctic Nirvana by ZR1_DkriderX & ROX_Attitude_GZ. From their team characteristics, to track making style, down to individual personalities these two are a study in contrast. Yet for this year's Expo they chose to pool their talents in order to produce a track… and what a track it is! We're not sure what brought about such a pairing, but it really doesn't matter. The end result speaks for itself, and therefore we'll label it a successful union. Now let's get to the track.
You travel a smooth flowing gravel road through a rugged, dangerous and snow covered arctic mountain region with sweeping curves over what we assume to be frigid waters (we were too afraid too test that aspect of the track lol). You'll plow through tunnels brimming with icicles, leap over crevices that are nicely formed for smooth transitions and nose-down airtime, all the while taking in the eye pleasing winter environment which is enhanced by an attractive backdrop.
Arctic Nirvana fits quite comfortably in the "finesse track" category. What that means is you're not going to hop in a truck, mash the pedal to the floor, and go blazing off into the sunset. Many of the corners require demanding levels of speed and slide control, coupled with precision-like truck handling skills just to stay on the road, let alone executing the turn with respectable momentum. Adding to that are the many dangerous cliffs and drop-offs that will most assuredly help you practice your tumbling skills. Most aren't recoverable by way of driving, hence by the time you're done with this track (or it with you), you'll know everything there is to know about the helicopter pilot lol. The addition of guardrails or fencing at many of the exposed cliff ledges would have been a good option to preclude racers from falling (no pun intended) prey to the many pits and truck traps this track has to offer. Still, if you're a pro racer who fancies finesse tracks, this one is ideally suited for you. This track definitely has a learning curve, but after you figure out what you can and can't get away with, it's a beauty to run. We only found one small cut in en route to checkpoint 2, but that's it - the rest of the course pins you to the track, which is by no means a bad thing.
The snowflake & candy cane checkpoints, while whimsical, are perfectly suited for this track. The heavy dose of billboards is another matter, however. They seemed "jarringly out of place in this soothingly sublime landscape " to quote one judge, and in fact, that sentiment happened to be the overall consensus. The same holds true for the SLO_COPE billboard, but it did draw quite a few laughs. COPE himself was unavailable for comment. He mentioned something about meeting with his lawyer… and a defamation of character suit lol. Getting back to business, while the custom texture work was beautifully done, we did make note of a few seams and mismatches
in the road textures, which detracted from what would have been exceptional workmanship. The mountains are a tad spikey and could have used some smoothing, and we also noticed a few trees
that weren't planted deeply enough into the ground. Overall the model selection and placement was quite good despite, and to top it off was the custom music they inserted. The tone and tempo of the music certainly add to and compliment the track's serene atmosphere, and on top of that, there's one line in the song that serves as a tribute to the MTM community, while also "acknowledging" the Expo. There's much more to this track than its music, but that innovation alone makes it quite distinctive, and well worth the download if you're a fan of the game. A classy move by two guys who reportedly are already talking movie deals and going on tour to promote their track… and who can blame them lol. Great job you guys, and let's hope we haven't seen the last of this "dynamic duo". Excellent job, fellas - very well done!