Me thinks Mal has the assembly line thing going with these conversions with how he's cranking these babies out. Still, there are no sacrifices in terms of quality, for this one...like ALL of his previous conversions, is topnotch!
As he explained in his readme, this track is dedicated to the one and only KC Vales, in large part for his tireless commitment to the MTM and 4X4 communities. The track itself is 4X4 EVO 2's "Arizona"...and happens to be where KC lives, which takes care of the remainder of this dedication and also explains the name. I'm in total agreement with Phin and Fila - this one's a jewel, and although it doesn't give you that sense of "raw speed" compared to tracks such as Castle Rock Too and Crazy 2002.5, I can't imagine anyone being dissatisfied with it...at all! But just so there's no misunderstanding, I'm not suggesting it moves along at a snails pace either - not at all. It's slightly more than 60 seconds in length, sportin with a medium-fast pace, which I attribute to the acute angles in several of the turns, the ultra smooth surface, and it's width. Speaking of width, it seems like a good time to transition into another paragraph!
I'm sure those who are familiar with Mal's work noticed "KC's Backyard" gives you a bit more maneuvering room than some of his other conversions. This may not be news for some, but just so everyone knows, aside from subtle elevation changes and slight modifications to various other parts of the tracks, the physical characteristics are determined by 4X4 Evo 2, not Malibu350. "KC's backyard", like "Fila's Holiday", will undoubtedly suite anyone's race track taste, however I'm guessing it'll greatly appeal to those who suffer from claustrophobic-like characteristics on narrow, closed-in race tracks.
This one's pretty straightforward skill-level wise, but rest assured the sharply angled turns, which require some measure of accelerator control, the blind approach to the bridge in between checkpoints (cp's) 4 & 5, and the mini ramp just after cp 6 will all yield a few lead changes in a close races. The acute turns are pretty obvious; take one a bit too wide, and someone's going to exploit the opening. The blind approach to the bridge will result in some missing it entirley or not catching it square, which is pretty much the same as missing it all together! The mini ramp is such that if your approach is dead on, you're good to go, but if you're coming in on an angle, well...you might find yourself playing catchup due to the price you'll pay in an imperfect landing. Those are the characterstics that make this track such a great, great ride - solo or online with others.
The only blemish I noticed was on a boulder model just before the water tower by cp 5 http://roadrage.sports-gaming.com/slo/teamslo/imup/Boulder.jpg
that sticks out just a tad too far. A little chisel action on that badboy should take care it, and afterwards, I'd say this one's good to go! The only other comment I have concerns the bridge in between cp's 4 & 5. It's not a flaw of any kind, but in 4X4 the bridge has a slight tilt to it, which I thought was kinda cool. Mind you, I'm commenting on this just because I noticed the difference; I'm not suggesting you change it at all. I think the blind to the bridge in and of itself is quite challenging , but if you did duplicate the tilt, I certainly wouldn't complain.
This is somewhat of a different twist with respect to the Copey Rating. I kinda feel Mal pulled a fast one with that "beta test" statement he threw in, which to me kind of sounds like a cheesey disclaimer (hahahaha). Nevertheless, I love this one so dang much I just can't see giving it anything less than a "10"!! The road texture is exceptional - great for racing on, and the visual effects gives you a sense of "being there"; you feel kind of hot and sweaty (minus the humidity) the whole time you're driving on this thing! Mal will undoubtedly make hasty reparations to the slight flaw and reupload this track, thus wacking off 1/2 a point for the minor flaw would serve no purpose. Plus, he might stop sending those "promo" checks, which would be tragic!
Mal - another superb track...as usual. But hey man, do me a favor though; take a break, ok? I'm trying to review a few more tracks here, and every time I turn around you're pumping out another classic! It's hard for me to just ignore them and NOT try em out, and once I do, I "have to" sit down and churn out a review. So...either take a break or send more money - it's your call, pal. Hehehe--we'll see ya next time around, bud!
[This message has been edited by SLO_COPE (edited 28-05-2002).]