Review by The Purple Pantywaist
How do you want to save the world today?
In my (soon) 20 year career of gaming I saved the world (universe /country /princess) a couple of times. But as far as I can remember in my advanced age, never only by snowboarding. (There is Dark Summit, where you save a mountain or something in a similar way, but I played ES before). In this snowboard- based game Konami steps in to close that gap. I bought it for 5 Euro (about 6 US dollars) and they were spent very well.
Graphics 6 / 10
The various stages look different and are rather original. (Although most of the time you are not travelling on snow.) The boss- intros are well made. However the quality of the graphic is poor and does not make good use of the possibilities the GC offers. Somewhere I read a critic going like "Great graphics. For the N64", which is exaggerating, but gives a good general idea nevertheless.
Sound/Music/Voice acting 8 / 10
There is hardly any voice acting. Besides your boarder's cries of pain and the overacted intros of the bosses. Soundeffects are ok. The music is from bands like Slipknot, Murderdolls and alike. The quality is high, but it is a matter of personal taste. If you (like me) do not like that style of music, you can switch to some classic Konami tunes (if you collected them during missions) or just try to ignore it.
Story 4 / 10
There actually is a story. In a way. Some enigmatic organisation has taken control of the weather (and part of the world) and it is up to you and a bunch of other, prominent boarders to save the world. The bosses themselves are probably some lieutenants of the organisation, but there is not any background story as far as I could find out. Corresponding there is an ending, which shall not be spoiled here.
Gameplay 7 / 10
So, how do you actually save the world? There is a couple of stages, in which you have to fulfill missions. These missions are always: 1) Get from A to B within time limit X, 2)Get from A to B while defeating X opponents/boss, 3)Get from A to B while collecting X pieces of something, 4) Get from A to B while earning X points (by collecting pieces and/or doing tricks). It is not much of a racing game, the snowboard is only your mean of transportation. While missions repeat themselves, the courses are so diverse that it does not get boring (fast). After a couple of courses you can fight the boss, which unlocks the next stage and so on.
In the beginning your boarder can hardly jump or fight or..., but by completing missions you earn points, which you can invest in your stats so he/she can move faster, jump higher and so on. Further you can free prominent boarders to play and you can find boards, trousers, goggles and so on, which also improve your stats. (And you can dress your boarder like in a Sims(tm)game). This all is great fun. Major flaw is the fighting. Your boarder just stands on the board and is lashing out, with hands or feet(!). Some of the enemies are doing circles around you, and even after completing all courses and earning a lot of gold medals I still have no idea, if there is a better way of collecting frags than by going zig- zag and punching with a weapon, hoping by sheer luck someone will get into my range (again). Further flaws are the low visibility. Sometimes you will run into a mine, because you simply did not see it, or you will realize too late, that the thing you wanted to collect is something else and therefore completely useless at the moment. Or you will fail to take a certain route because the beginning of the rail you needed to grind was beyond recognition.
Replay Value: High
After finishing the game, you get some new courses (including one of a former Konami game) and you can always try to achieve a gold rating on previous courses or try to collect more of the tons of bonus materials. And by tons I mean tons: You can collect boards, clothes, catalogs, music videos, Konami classic music tracks etc, and really hundreds of it.
Difficulty: low in the beginning, high in the end.
Some of the first races, you could win without doing anything, and when I did beat the first boss, I was not sure, how I did it. Some of the later missions are extremely difficult, eg when you have to defeat a lot of enemies on a short track. The final mission itself is bordering on "unfair".
Summary 7 / 10
A very original snowboarding game: Fighting, collecting, a little RPG, hardly racing. Flawed, indeed, and I do realize that "professional" reviewers gave that game a much lower rating. But I myself had a lot of fun playing that game, and considering that you will find it probably only for a low price nowadays, it is definitely worth a few bucks.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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