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Polaris SnoCross
"Gameplay is super tight, graphics crisp and the course and snowmobile selections are just plain sweet."
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Developer  Vatical Game Type  Sport
Distributor  Vatical Review Date  Sept 00
 
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Review:
 
Get ready to kick up some serious snow ladies and gentlemen because Polaris SnoCross has just arrived on the scene.

Using officially licensed Polaris snowmobiles, gamers are going to be able to compete in a series of races that will take them onto snocross tracks and through the open terrain in an effort to be the top snowmobile racer.

Of course one of the main draws to driving a snowmobile is.well, the snow! With snow we should expect all kinds of visual treats and Polaris SnoCross certainly delivers. The character models, while somewhat small are nicely animated. The snowmobiles look and for the most part, behave, like snowmobiles.

As you race along the tracks or down a country pathway big gobs and chunks of snow are deposited out the back of the snowmobile with visual tread marks being left in its wake. On some of the courses, snow swirls around your driver quite convincingly and for those courses that you race on a clear day, you get plenty of lens flaring and glare from the 'white powder'.

Perhaps the most effective and impressive effect for me though was the headlight reflections when you are racing at night. This is one of the few games where highlights actually splash light in front of you and onto the surrounding terrain in a very realistic manner. The light/shadow effects are truly brilliant.

The pretty graphics are complimented nicely with above average sound effects which include snowmobile engine noises and moans and groans of pain as your driver ditches. I also liked the various effects for the terrain. As you cruise over broken ice you get a nice slushy sound effect and when you go through heavy snow you can hear your engine straining to pull you through. All this is accompanied with a decently driving soundtrack in the background.

Getting into the drivers seat you should be immediately impressed with the control of the snowmobiles. Handling is nice and firm and you have the ability to lean your driver into hard turns for that little extra edge.

There are various classes of bikes to choose from starting at the 400CC level. The smaller bikes tend to turn quicker and are a bit speedier, but the larger bikes don't dump as easy and can take a lot more abuse from the other drivers.

As you race (and win) you are awarded wrenches. You can use these wrenches to purchase parts that will increase speed and acceleration, improve handling, etc. There are actually two ways to obtain these wrenches. The first is the place in the top three.you will get 3 wrenches for 1st, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd. The other way to get them is to perform tricks while you are buzzing around the courses. There were a good number of tricks to pull off and I found them quite easy to do once I got the general scheme down.

As you improve the performance of your snowmobiles, your speed naturally improves and you have to re-adjust the way you handle your vehicle. Turns that you were previously cruising through at full throttle will now require some minor compensating to successfully navigate.

The courses for the most part are nicely done. I mostly enjoyed the cross-country style courses though over the closed circuit ones. The cross-country tracks always had a ton of shortcuts and all kinds of things that you can run into and break apart like boxes and signs and stuff.

Features:
 
Fully licensed Polaris snowmobiles

10 snocross and cross-country tracks

16 gravity-defying tricks

Rumble Pak and Dual Shock compatible

Up to 4-player simultaneous action

Options:
 
• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): Yes (4)
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): Yes (4)
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes
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Summary
Tom R   "Polaris SnoCross was certainly a nice surprise for us here at the office. Brought to us by Vatical Entertainment, the gameplay is super tight, the graphics crisp and the course and snowmobile selections are just plain sweet.

While this may be considered "just another racer", it does differentiate itself with the fact that you get to pilot some high speed snowmobiles through snowy terrain on some very surprisingly interesting courses. "
Graphics  18/20
Playability  44/50
Sound  7/10
Lastability  15/20
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