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They might not be endearing themselves to PC gamers these days, but at one time Microsoft were doing some pretty cool things for gaming on Windows. Their luxury joysticks were the envy of simulation fans everywhere and to promote the gaming capabilities of the then-new DirectX platform, the Redmond giant published a number of high-quality games titles. Motocross Madness is one such title. The game mixes simulation and arcade elements and features what was for the time a very realistic handling and terrain model.
The first hurdle to playing Motocross Madness on your modern PC is getting the game installed. While the games installer will run on a modern PC, we found that the installation process simply locked up while trying to create the games directories. To work around this problem, we’ve produced a simple replacement installer. The installer will copy the files from the CD, set up the registry keys and create shortcuts. Currently it only supports the English language version of the game. You can download the installer here (link broken? Let me know here).
Simply download the installer and run it, then follow the on-screen prompts.
Playing the game
Before you can play Motocross Madness, you will need to install that PC retro-gamers friend dgVoodoo2. Without dgVoodoo2 we found that the game simply wouldn’t start, claiming that it could not find any graphics hardware in our machine. You can find a tutorial for installing dgVoodoo2 here. Motocross Madness is a DirectX game, so use the dll files found in the MS sub-folder when installing dgVoodoo2.
Tweaking visual quality
Before you saddle up, there are a small number of visual quality options you can tweak for best performance on a modern PC. Given the age of this game, even modest modern PCs should be able to run the game on full quality settings without breaking a sweat. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Graphics Options”.
On the menu that now appears, turn up the graphical quality to highest and turn on all special effects. You should also make sure the screen resolution is set to 800×600. Unfortunately, there’s no way that we are aware of to increase the resolution any higher than this.
For such an old game, Motocross Madness seems to work surprisingly well with modern game controllers, although you will need to use a button rather than the pads analogue triggers to accelerate. The game includes support for several types of game controller that were popular at the time. While you can choose between these controllers, for whatever reason, you can’t redefine the game controller buttons. You can however, assign keyboard commands to any control, so if you need to redefine your game controller, simply assign some keyboard commands to the desired controls, then use Xpadder to map these back to your gamepad.
You’re now ready to play the game, so get set for some radical motorbike action, 1990s style!
Troubleshooting and known issues
Music may not play – On some machines the in-game music may not play. There’s currently no known workaround for this.
Problems saving games/profiles or settings – Like many older games, Motocross Madness stores its save game files and other configuration information in its installation directory. If you installed the game into the program files or program files (x86) folders, you may find that the default Windows security settings prevent the game from saving any data. To fix this problem set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.
The actual profile folder, where all your progress is saved, can be found in the UI folder in the games installation directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Motocross Madness by default).
Track editor doesn’t work – We were not able to get the track editor to work at all on our Windows 10 machine, the program simply crashed as soon as we tried to start it.
Click on the screenshot to enlarge it