This track’s a 2; I hate it. LOL...that’s called an “attention getter” – something I use every now and then to grab the audience with. I’m fairly certain it got Mal’s (Malibu350, the author of this track) attention. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the guy came up out of his chair and drew his fist back at the screen after reading that opening line. Hehehe take it easy, bud...take it easy, now; it was only a joke – put the baseball bat down. Funny, I had actually entertained thoughts of really trashing this track for like...an entire paragraph, but I like Mal too much to expose him to such a high level of pain, anger, and humiliation. Either that or I’m in a really good mood today.
I have to think this guy must sit at home and say to himself, “hmmm...what can I throw at them next?” If you’ve never heard of Malibu350 or sampled any of his work, do yourself a really big favor and check out Arctic Waste II & Treasure Bay 2. I guarantee after running those tracks you’ll be searching for more of his stuff. Just so everyone knows, however, the aforementioned tracks are imports from 4X4 EVO 2, so don’t expect his earlier works to have the same visually stunning effect. Still, tracks like Siberia Creek and Rock Ridge are awesome, so if you’re an MTM racing enthusiast, check ‘em out!!
When I did my review on Treasure Bay 2, I was a bit skimpy with what I had to say thinking that no one wanted to read what my thoughts were about not only that track, but others as well. Well, my man Phineus set me straight by essentially saying, “Yeah Cope, go ahead man – talk your head off; we love hearing what you have to say”. Of course, those aren’t his exact words, but I think that’s what he was trying to convey. Mal himself gave me a plug in the readme file for this track expressing his thanks for my “great reviews”!! Well hey, I’m thinking along with the monthly checks he’s sending me to write this garba...I mean, “these fine literary masterpieces”, the kind words in his readme file almost guarantees him a good review every time! Hehe—seriously though, thanks a bunch man. The gesture very much took me by surprise, and to be perfectly honest, between you, Phineus, and of course, my track making wonder kids on SLO (Gutterboy, Preacher, and Fila) – I’m kinda recharged, so I’ll keep doing these things. Besides, I like hearing what I have to say, so maybe everyone else should, too! Hahaha
Ok, after ALL of that lead-in stuff I’m ready to talk about “Restricted Area: MTM 2. According to Mal, he describes it as being set in some God-forsaken desert out in the middle of the Nevada desert…and after having a look-see, I certainly concur with his description. Ahhh, but there’s more, much more! There’s some sort of military-based operation taking place around this track, and if you position this track as the very first pod, just underneath the number in your pod.ini file, you’ll get the full effect of all he’s thrown into this baby. Nope, nope...I’m not going to give it away. Besides, the surprise you’ll get is worth going thru the motions to pod the track at top and seeing it all yourself (that and Mal would probably be ****ed if I gave it away in this review). If you’re not sure how to go about configuring the pod.ini file to unlock the extras Mal has thrown in, ask myself or any SLO you see online – they’ll help ya out. : ) One other thing: to appreciate the sheer beauty of this track, as well as Arctic Waste II & Treasure Bay 2, it’s highly recommended that you crank up the antialiasing and max out your graphic settings within the game – that is, if you have the hardware to do it.. All I can say is if you’re not impressed, someone better be checking your pulse.
We’ve established that the settings are rather barren except for the military installation, and the track kind of goes around and thru it at various points. It’s a tight-knit, small circuit that has pretty darn good pace, and although the road itself is narrow, there’s actually plenty of space to pass due to the design and setting of the track. Once again, Mal wasn’t the track designer with this one or the other two EVO 2 imports (Arctic Waste II & Treasure Bay 2). In my review of Treasure Bay I sort of made reference to not knowing what all was involved in the process, and here’s what he had to say...
I've put together 8 tracks from scratch and the last one, saddleback took me nearly 14 months to finish primarily due to the number of textures that were made, roughly enough to paint 150 trucks hehe.. so much time is saved with converting since all the terrain artwork is already done, what takes the most time is converting the models over to MTM and editing the terrain altitudes but by the time its all said and done it takes about 3 to 4 weeks (75 to 100 hrs)... it could be done much faster I'm sure but I am very detail conscious.
As you can see there’s a ton of work involved with effecting changes to overcome the differences between the two games with respect to importing tracks – much more than I realized. Like anything else, I’m sure there are at least two ways of doing what he does; the pain-staking meticulously detailed way in which you get the kind of results he’s gotten, and the sloppy, hap-hazard way by which the time invested, or lack thereof is very evident by the sloppy workmanship. A case in point where detail is concerned: notice the strip of paved road between checkpoints 2 and 3, and the slight coating of sand or dust on it, and how it’s more predominant where drivers cross to the other side on the way to cp 3. THAT’S detail!! The only remotely objective comment I have about this track is that I feel the slight corner cut between checkpoints 2 and 3 should have been cut off all together. Yes, there’s a rather large cactus placed in such a way (either by design or by coincidence) that negates a direct line between the two cp’s, but there’s more than enough room there to circumvent a good portion of the track between the two points. Hehe—no, it’s not an issue at all really, merely a personal preference. I simply feel that unless a short adds to the thrill and excitement of a track (as in Paper Run, Bobsled Rally Way, Unamed, Untamed, etc), then it should be taken out. Tracks with layouts such as this don’t need cuts of any kind; they’re fun right out of the box (so to speak)! Still, there’s a small risk incurred by attempting the slight cut between cp’s 2 & 3. If you lean on the gas too much you’ll overshoot the turn to and thru cp 3, so to me that sort of evens it out – the slight risk involved, I mean.
Well Mal, what can I say, man – you’ve hit yet another grand slam. I’m tellin you, after maxing out my video card and seeing the extras, all the while cruising around this track...when it was all said and done, I stood up from my chair and clapped my hands...then I began throwing money at my screen. Hehe—I was that impressed with your work. Well...after all that, I’m guessing there really isn’t a need to make mention of how the “Copey Rating” system assessed this one. Pretty much if I’m on my feet after a run, cheering and throwing money in the general direction of my monitor...uh, you could probably pretty much guess what my rating would be. This baby is a 10 and then some – no doubt about it!!! A truly exceptional job on your part, Mal, and the special effects are nothing short of magnificent. And hey man, forget about thanking me; heck, I prefer to thank guys like you who give up your personal time to make all of these great tracks for us to play on. Putting down a few words to show my appreciation falls well short of you and others like you do for this game. Thanks again, man. Oh, and make out this month’s check for $60.00; you shorted me $10.00 last month (weasel). Hehehe—see ya next time around, partner!!