If you've never heard of "Eliot J. Malarkey" there's a reason why: he doesn't exist. Well, let me qualify that: there's no such track maker by that name. The author of this track is a guy by the name of "Phineus" - master track maker & long-time MTM 2 guru. I can't say why he chose to make this track using a pseudonym…but I bet a well-trained psychiatrist could provide a plausible explanation lol. Since Phin's fascination for coming up with…interesting names have absolutely nothing to do with the track, I'll steer clear of the topic and focus on the primary task at hand, and with that said…
"Barnyard 109" is based on EVO 1's "Farm Road 109", which is set in a rural, backwoods area. The converted textures really enhance the look of the rich green environment, and the abundance of trees and shrubs compliment the surroundings quite nicely. The layout is unchanged from "Farm Road 109", however, during the beta testing phase it was decided the major cut along the railroad track would be negated by slightly relocating checkpoints 2 and 3. The track is only about 40 seconds long, so closing off the short, thereby forcing racers to run the track in its entirety certainly wasn't what I would call cruel and unusual punishment.
My guess is racers will either love this track or they'll not care for it at all. I think you'll find few who fall somewhere in between. I happen to think it's a darn nice one-on-one track. Not a second of this sub 45-second romp is wasted, and the layout is such that it makes for a really intense, fast-paced, ride. You're always looking for an opportunity to exploit a mistake by your opponent, and the train <u>will</u> be a factor if you crank this baby up to say…6 - 8 laps.
Phin ventured into what I call "Mal's domain" while waiting on ZooN to make a few enhancement's on Alpine's upcoming track (yep, I said ZooN & Alpine…just like old times, huh?). In fact, let me pull up a quote from Phin: I picked this one cuz I thought it would be easy, lolololol, man did I learn different. Hehe.
So there ya have it - proof that what Mal does with seemingly very little effort and surgeon-like precision is in fact very difficult and tedious. If Phin struggled with it, it can't be a walk through the park! In all seriousness, this guy has taught me quite a bit about track making (intentionally and unintentionally), so needless to say I'm very appreciative of that. In my book he's the "Grand Pooba" (lol I think that's how it's spelled on "The Flintstones") of MTM. Although he prefers to operate behind the scenes, his contributions to this game are significant to say the least, and I feel those of you who still play the game should be aware of that. Hehe he hates attention of this type, but hey - those are the facts…and I'm a fact-based kinda guy.
Objectively speaking, the bridge support structure is flawed, although most probably won't even notice. It's not Phin's fault, but rather an imperfection that went undetected by TRI's beta testers. Also, the car model is sunken into the ground lol. It's not a big deal, but Phin and I talked about this during testing, and I recall pointing out that I'd prefer to see it up on blocks - it would fit right in with the atmosphere. However, what compensates for those two imperfections are the garbage bags you'll see sitting out in front of the living quarters…presumably awaiting pickup by the local sanitation department lol. Have you ever seen such a thing in a track? Credit that to TRI as well, but both Phin and I got a kick out of it!
I really like this track! Again, it may not achieve mass appeal, but for those who cater to "in your face" racing, this one's for you! On the "Copey Rating" scale this one chalks up a "must see to appreciate" 9 out of 10 possible points. Excellent work, Phin…and how about you work on coming up with a decent pseudonym for your next outing, huh? LOL