North American box art
Multiplayer (up to two players)
The game's concept is quite simple; the player controls a motorcycle moving one way horizontally, much like in a platform game. When a level has been completed within its time limit, the player starts on the next.
With only eight different levels and fairly simple gameplay, the game's complexity is not too different from other Game Boy games released during the introduction of the system. Despite this, Motocross Maniacs requires quite some skill to master. Additionally, the game provides replay value by letting the player beat previous time records, which are announced at the completion of a level. The game's cartridge, however, does not retain these records after the Game Boy is turned off.
The player's control over the motorcycle allows moving the front wheel upwards or downwards, allowing for jumps over obstacles and rotating stunts when in the air. If the player lands incorrectly, the rider will fall off his bike and climb back on it. This results in the main cause of time loss within the game.
Additional sets of nitros can be picked up within a level (marked as a large "N"), but often they will require a nitro to be used to get them in the first place. Thus when the player has exhausted his supply, it can be very hard or even impossible to regain more nitros. Furthermore, some levels have sections that require one or more nitros to pass, making it nearly impossible to complete the level without any.
Other power-ups in the game include more time (marked as "T"), more speed (marked as "S", continues until the player crashes) and special tires (marked as "R", also continues until the player crashes).
One can also retrieve powerups by making frontflips and backflips, and even a jetpack that allows you to rocket up high if several nitros are used.
Many levels offer multiple directions for the player. One usually contains extra powerups that requires the use of nitros and agility to successfully traverse, while the other simply requires jumping obstacles on the ground, often including loose sand and gravel that will slow down the motorcycle.
There are eight different levels, becoming harder to complete as they progress. Any level can be selected from the beginning of the game, together with an A, B or C difficulty level which determines the time available to complete the level.
The game has three different modes of play:
- Single player: One player completes level after level until their time runs out.
- Single player versus computer: Same as above, but also requires the player to beat the computer.
- Single player versus second player: Same as above, but with another human player.
For the two versus modes, the second player appears as a silhouette behind the player, similar to time trials in other racing games.