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You are an expert snowboarder (come on, use your imagination) and you are asked to join the Extreme Tour where you perform on various snowboard courses. At each level you are given the scenario from the general director of the tour, Gale Parker who is a charismatic star to snowboarders around the world. If you make the grade you get to move on, if you don't you're kicked off the team. No second chances, no additional words of encourage. Gale is one tough cookie.
So does Trick'n Snowboarder make the grade? Should I pull a Gale Parker and chuck it out for a mistake or two? Read on!
Sound and Vision:
The sounds are of relatively high quality and accurate. During the scenario mode you can hear the radio chatter to the cameramen and their reactions to your tricks. The snowboard sounds are pretty accurate with a nice "oomph" sound when your character runs into a solid object.
The in-game graphics have a nasty tendency to 'seam' on you though if you board too close to the edges of the course. Also with the faster moving courses, there is some pop-up to be seen. Some of the more established boarding titles, specifically Cool Boarders, make this game look primative.
The character models are of decent size and are nicely animated. Mistakes on the course often equate to some rather amusing crashes. I was hoping for realistic wipe-outs that leave the player limping off all broken and mangled... but unfortunately this was not the case.
There are a total of twelve courses that you can choose from in the free mode. The scenario mode brings you through 10 of these courses, each course one level at a time and you cannot get to the next course until you successfully finish the test from the previous course. You can select the free mode or Vs mode to practice the different courses. The free mode is individual; the Vs mode is against an opponent on a split screen. For this review I have focused primarily on the Scenario Mode since that is where the meat of the game presumably resides.
The first thing you will need to get used to is the various combinations of tricks that you can perform using the controller and combining button presses. In the scenario mode you will be required to successfully do tricks at certain camera points that are placed over the course. They are well marked with arrows and the background chatter between the director and cameraman will warn you they are coming. At the beginning of the scenario your trainer, Gale Parker lets you know all the key points of the course, where the cameras are and what he expects of you to successfully complete the course.
The scenario mode starts off with an easy course in Switzerland to build confidence. There are 4 camera locations, but to succeed you only need to perform successful tricks at two of them. It is an easy course and all you have to do is perform a simple jump with a trick off the ramps. The first time playing it I was able to hit it the second try.
The second scenario starts adding a bit more difficulty and is based in the USA. One requirement is a back flip off a jump that is not "filmed" then after negotiating two tunnels you find yourself in a wooded narrow course with LOTS of places to jump and do tricks. After playing around on some other areas and going back to this, I was able to nail all four filmed tricks and gather a load of points on other jumps to prompt one feature of the game, the instant challenge. The scenario plays out that you meet another character, in this case it was Ashley Parker, Gale's daughter. You have a chance to compete against her for points and time. If you succeed in beating her, you get some additional trick skills. You do have the option to try again if you fail.
The next scenario was really challenging. You have a halfpipe that you need to both score 1000 points and do a successful trick at each camera point. This is hard to begin with because it takes some practice to start getting a good zig-zag pattern, then adding tricks. The camera points are sensitive and you have to be doing the trick right at the arrow or it isn't counted. The cameramen here (and in all the scenes) voice their comments right away. If you blow it you may hear him say "loser!" or some other derogatory response. If you do a good trick, he'll say things like "how'd they do that?"
The scenario mode progresses through a Japan course with slushy conditions, then a really boring and, I think, dumb jump scenario. All you need to do is perform two consecutive jumps with reasonable tricks to complete it. It was too easy and really pointless at this stage of the game. This is where I got challenged a second time by another character, Daichi. This is followed by a scenario in New Zealand on a snowboard park. Complete some reasonable tricks and you'll move on. I thought this particular course was much more fun in free mode though because you can really try more interesting tricks. The scenario mode moves on to another halfpipe in Canada with sloppier conditions and the same prerequisites as the first pipe, nail all the camera scenes and this time get 1500 points. This isn't too hard since your character has improved in his ability to pull off tricks (not to mention you have improved with your button mashing techniques).
Things then progress on through to Argentina to a rocky and narrow course. It could be really hard but the tricks required are pretty easy and if you nail the first three, the last jump where you need to do a double grab is not necessary. This is almost impossible since you tend to crash into a house most of the time. After that it's on to Italy where you get some air and have to do double grabs twice and have to hop onto the top of a wall to perform another trick. Pretty easy even so. Then it finishes with no real requirements in a wide-open Alaska scene where it is really easy to get good air and perform tricks. I was able to nail all four trick areas and get a high score the first try. Kind of a lame finish.
So what do you get after this? They roll credits. Did I get any secrets? After checking the main menu, I didn't see any new features or players added. I went to the options menu and tried to save and load secrets, but nothing. So all you get for the aggravation is having to learn and perform some tricks that you may figure out on your own. What was the point?
Overall, I found the game to be easy to learn and picking up skill makes it not only easier, but more fun. In the scenario mode, I have a few beefs. You get no chance to try the course once before being in the spotlight. You get kicked off the team as soon as you fail. That wouldn't be so bad, but then when you select retry, it loads the text of the scene all over again and so restarting takes a while. I'd like to see a way to skip to replay without rehashing the scene to you.
I found the free mode to be the most fun, but you miss many of the snide comments of the cameramen in that mode. What I didn't miss was the camera screen that pops up which blocks some of the view and is very distracting at first until you learn to ignore it. The free mode also gives you the ghost option to play against your best time and also you can reload the course much faster. The game also lets you customize your player to some extent or add new players on your own. That was pretty nice.
This is a 1 disk game for 1 or 2 Players. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).
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