Admittedly, I’ve never heard of Third Day, but you can best believe I’m a fan now. In fact, I’ve just come from KC’s where I looked up a few of his other tracks, so I’ll definitely be checking those out! As for this track…I’ll tell ya, I always get kind of excited when the game first starts up and I take in that opening view of the track and its surroundings. Depending on what I see, I might say “oh hey, this should be a doozy here”. Sometimes I’m immediately overwhelmed, but overall I make every attempt to keep a neutral mindset. I know all too well that things are sometimes not necessarily what they appear to be; thus I try to never make hasty judgments about new tracks based on my initial visual impression.
As for Long Jump, my first thought was “hmm…this could be turn out to be something worthwhile” and low and behold, it was that and more! First off, I have to tell ya it’s got a sense of “otherness” that you just don’t find in a lot of tracks these days. I kinda think this guy aced trigonometry and is making use of lessons learned because some of his angles and banks are outrageous, and I love em!.
Visually it’s got that early MTM 2 look--you know, like Alpine’s “Cascade Summit” or around that time frame. I’m not sure if his intent was to go retro or if that look is just “his thing”, but it took me by surprise. Oh hey, I’m not saying I found it unpleasant – not at all, it was just surprising! The layout is radically different from anything I’ve seen in…well, ever. Third Day’s approach is anything but typical, and I like that! Just as the name implies, there are several long jumps, but he’s also thrown in a few other notable features. To start with this guy is either in bad need of a new smoothing tool, or he likes his corners on the rough side. Personally, some of it is ok, but there are a few spots where smoother roads would’ve been preferable. Admittedly the rough stuff does challenge you, often times giving you what I call the “jump before turn” effect. By that I mean the track pops you up in the air right at the corner, eliminating any chance of negotiating it successfully if you’re pace is a tad on the high side going in. Additionally his corners require one to employ a considerable amount of accelerator control, but as I said, I think less of the rough stuff would have been a better option.
He used a couple of different models for his checkpoints (cp’s), which is something else you don’t see in modern day track making. A couple of his cp’s are hidden as well, so if you’re thinking of taking what appears to be a sure thing corner cut, you’d better glance up at your cp pointer. : ) I like the tire he used as a hoop to jump through, and although I’m not a huge fan of water on the track, I thought he used it smartly on this one – consistent with respect to the elevation…if that makes any sense.
There are a couple of flaws worth noting. The most glaring is cp 10 doesn’t register if you go wide to the right on the road. He has one cp positioned in that spot, but he failed to extend the range out across the width of the road to allow it to register when people take that turn on the extreme right. The other one is slight; cp 7, which is a backhoe, sticks out a little farther than it should – the invisible portion of the model, I mean. It’s not much, but it’s enough to catch you if you’re cutting that cp close. Lastly, the tunnel you go through in route to cp 2 doesn’t make full contact with the road, resulting in a rather sizeable gap between the road and the bottom portion of the enclosure.
Taking into the consideration the few blemishes I noted while testing this track, the layout definitely compensates for them, and in a big way. He even threw in a few alternate routes here and there. I’m not going to divulge where they are because he didn’t really try to disguise them as hidden shorts, and I certainly don’t want to take the fun out it for people who like finding such things on their own! I think the inclusion of such variations…the alternate routes, make this track that much more compelling, partly because using them entails a certain level of risk. The roughness of the corners I don’t consider a flaw since I believe it’s the effect he wanted. Yeah, I think it’s a bit on the heavy side dosage wise, but after you learn how to handle them it’s kind of fun!
Well, it’s “Copey Rating” time…such as it is. : ) I really liked this track – loved the uniqueness about. He’s got something in it for everyone: big air, speed, and a respectable dose of finesse. I do feel cp 10 should be fixed since it only extends to just over half the road, but otherwise she’s good to go. However, if you do pull it down to make reparations to cp 10, you might as well take care of cp 7 and the little visual flaw in the tunnel prior to cp 2. I like the mix in this one, the variety, the banks and different looks you’ve thrown in – definitely keeps it interesting. As is this one gets an 8 out of 10 possible points from me. However, smoothing out some of the banked turns and fixing the aforementioned flaws would definitely bump that score up. But hey, don’t pull it down because of a meaningless “Copey Rating”; do it because you choose to. : ) Still, very nicely done, Third Day.
[This message has been edited by SLO_COPE (edited 01-05-2002).]