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Developer SCEE Options
Distributer Sony 1-2 Players Split Screen
Game Type Racing Memory Card
Review Date March 1998 Link Cable
Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3 
Setting the Scene
The original Cool Boarders still remains a firm favorite among our readers almost a year after it's release. Offering a blend of downhill racing and slick acrobatic tricks, it proved to be a successful formula for Sony. If there was one fault it was the shortage of racing circuits which served only to wet the appetite leaving the gamer begging for more.

Cool Boarders 2 is everything the original game was and much, much more. More circuits, more events, more tricks, more thrills and more spills.

To the uninitiated snowboarding is very much a sport for the nineties which has finally been recognized by the Olympic governing body, culminating with it's inclusion in this years Nagano Games.
Participants are often portrayed as wild and unruly characters mainly because of their bizarre sense of dress and the crazy off-course rave-ups.
The truth is that snowboarding is an extremely skillful sport that requires nerves of steel and bones of elastic. Of course a slightly loose screw can sometimes be advantageous due to the nature of the event - hurtling down a steep snowy mountain side balanced on what in effect is a miniaturized surfboard.

The intro features film footage of live action snowboarders, blending neatly together with some tasty in-game shots. Skillful editing means that you sometimes have to look twice to separate animation from reality.

If you thought that the graphics in the original game were cool then I am pleased to inform you that the good got better. Spacious mountain lined slopes run into the narrow streets of picturesque villages before a giant leap will land you in the thick of a dense pine forest where the fallen snow flakes have gathered on the outstretched branches. The blinding snow often changes it's structure and color in relation to your surroundings as chunky snow drifts smooth out on those icy corners, while the way that the light is reflected inside the tunnels is rather impressive.

Tighter clipping has led to a continuous scenery rather than the large polygon blocks of old, although you can see slight glitches which occasionally looks as if sections of scenery have been bolted together.

The viewing angles remain as in the original game with the option to ride above and behind your boarder or risk the stomach churning 1st person perspective, which cannot be recommended to those with a nervous disposition.

All the information you require is tidily presented on screen during a race showing your position in relation to opponents, remaining and section time, rank and records.

Sounds and Effects
Not that much to report on the sound effects. There's the slushy swishing noise of parting snow and the thumping and bumping when things go drastically wrong. A few screams of delight and a little commentary on how cool your boarding is.

The music on the other hand is ultra cool being a selection of rock and techno tracks which match the mood perfectly.

Someone out there is eventually getting the picture. We want tasty graphics but not to the deprecation of gameplay. Select from four boarders, two male, two female, and time out is allowed to dress up your characters with a selection of mismatching clothes into your very own Barbie Doll or Action Man. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses which can be counteracted by your selection of snowboard. There are three board types which are: Freestyle - stable and good for tricks which should suit the beginner. All Round - a good middle board offering a balance between tricks and speed. Alpine - unstable but offers the pro top speed.

Nobody could complain that Cool Boarders 2 does not offer variation in gameplay options.
Tour Competition pits your skills against seven other competitors in a series of races set over eight varying courses, but before you begin there is the 'small' matter of competing for your starting position. You must perform two trick moves on a Big Air Jump and the points awarded satisfy the position from which you start the race. Before each round you are notified of the number of Competition Clear Points required to advance onto the next stage. Fail to reach this target and it's Game Over. I thought this was a great way of blending downhill racing with the trick element of the game and forces the player to perfect both styles of play. This mode is single player only.

Freestyle is similar to the original game where downhill racing is combined with performing trick moves as you advance down the course. There are three rankings on each course for time, trick and total of both. Before you begin it is wise to select which one to aim for as going all out for both will only end up in tears. Freestyle may be played as a single player game where a ghost rider may be used to act as a pace maker when going for the fastest time. I find using ghost riders slightly distracting and much prefer competing against a mate which can be done in the two player split-screen mode (horizontal or vertical) or two player link-up mode. There is also a handicap option which should even up the skills of both players. Now that should keep everybody happy.

Yet another gameplay option is the Half Pipe where a single skier slides down a hill and into a course the shape of 'half of a pipe', I suppose. Points are awarded for performing a selection of outrageous stunts by shooting high up the rounded edges and landing back safely on the ground.

Big Air is split into Contest and TrickMaster. I would advise that you use Contest mode for practice before embarking on the Tour Competition. TrickMaster is what seems like a never ending ramp which breaks into a jump a set intervals. As you approach each jump a special trick is displayed on screen which you must perform perfectly before advancing onto the next move. For each correct jump you are awarded an extension to the overall time allowed and when this runs out you are notified of your score. This begins relatively simple with a 180° spin or a standard flakie but gradually increases in difficulty by issuing instructions for some of the more complex tricks.

If this already sounds like a massive amount of gameplay options then believe me there is more to come. Board Park is an open course where you are free to go and do as you please. There are standard jumps to perform, half pipes to practice, flags to negotiate, snowbound vehicles to pass over, in fact it is a type of snowboarders adventure playground.

Value for Money
Cool music, tasty visuals, six modes of play, two player split screen, link-up mode and eight varying circuits. Completion of each section offers a wealth of secrets which include mirror mode, a secret cave track, extra characters, scantily clad skiers and upgraded boards. Value for money.... You bet!

GRAPHICS: 16/20 The original game was okay but I soon became bored with racing the same tracks over and over again. Cool Boarders 2 oozes quality and offers so much in terms of gameplay that I can heartily recommend this titles for all gamers who enjoy a racing challenge.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 16/20

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