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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.