Review by KingBroccoli

Reviewed: 10/02/01 | Updated: 10/02/01

The definitive review of an all-time classic

Dragging itself up out of a wretched cesspool of filth and vomiting its presence onto the Playstation scene comes this accursed Barbie Title. Barbie Super Sports contains all of the crappiness that one would expect simply after just hearing the name of the game. We all know that these are the kinds of games that are tailor-made for the youngest gamers out there, but that doesn’t mean that developers should instantly assume that they can get away with a completely half-assed product. The super sports mentioned in the title of the game are roller-blading and snowboarding, you can take Barbie and her crew to the cement rinks or, accordingly, to the snow. There is very little fun to be garnered from either variation of the game, and you’ll be left wondering how this game ever fell into your accursed little hands.

GAMEPLAY
If you came into this section expecting the game to have some kind of substance, then I’m afraid you’re a rather silly person. Barbie Super Sports is just as shallow as the girl herself, when the prime motive of a game is buying different outfits you know you’ve landed yourself a lemon. Unfortunately this is as deep as the game goes, the whole title revolves around you and your character winning a bunch of tickets and buying increasingly expensive clothing items and sporting equipment (blades and boards). Of course there is a little bit of strategy going on; do I just use the outfit and board that have the same colours and patterns? Or should I mix and match and come up with an even more dazzling combination? Yep.

Now the word “sports” does appear in the title, which means that somewhere along the line you’re likely to run into the sporting element of the game. Once you’re out of the shop you’ll find yourself in an open kind of area, paths will be branching off and they’ll each take you to a different level for you to play on. These levels have all different kinds of wild and wacky objectives – you may be in a balls to the wall race with a myopic competitor, you could have to blade through a number of carnival-esque rides, or perhaps you’re just on a slalom course (except this time the goal is to hit everything in your path, this deliberate infliction of pain on Barbie is a definite highlight) hurtling downwards. Each little act of bravado you perform will net you points, ten points will get you a ticket and tickets buy things from the store – thus the circle of life continues.

Now there is a little bit more to keep you occupied at the crease, you can actually choose from three or four different characters. They all behave the same, but they have different hair damn it and that’s good enough for me! Tricks can be performed on your pieces of sporting glory, the more expensive the ride the better the tricks at your disposal become. Just to be nice little game designers there’s been a two-player mode thrown into the mix. It’s exactly the same game, but you only get to have one go at a time before the play switches to your Barbie comrade. It could just about be the perfect party game, and it’s a much better way to bolster friendships (none of this playing at the same time “YOU CUT ME OFF COOTIE HEAD” banter that we so often witness). Yes sir, throw all of these goodies into the bag and you’ve got a game that a little kiddie will be through with in a couple of hours.

Overall this style of gameplay is just apt for the kind of people who want nothing to do with gaming consoles. The young kids old enough to actually wield the controller will probably feel insulted by how simplistic the action is. Sure they like Barbie, they’ll play with Barbie, but in a medium like this Barbie should be returning some of the joy to some of her little friends (that selfish little so and so!). Slip some piranhas into the tub during the child’s bath time and they’re guaranteed to have more fun.

GRAPHICS
Just as I was getting into a ranting and raving kind of mindset comes the graphics section, which is probably the best of the lot. They’re by no means supreme visuals but it’s very hard to continue the trend and give them a large slab slander. The surroundings are all nice and pretty, just the kind of non-threatening scenery that you’d expect. The sun is shining everywhere, palm trees are swaying in the wind (not on the snowboarding levels silly) and the grass is always green. There is a truckload of pink smeared throughout Barbieville; everything about the settings seems perfectly designed to lull the young gamer into a false sense of security. The actual technical appearance is also hard to fault, everything is nice and smooth, curves are where they should be and all of that rot. It’s all very clear and even to the toddlers it’s easy to tell what is happening in front of you. There’s not too much wrong with this section.

The same goes for the characters of Barbie Super Sports. They’re all shaped normally, realistic proportions in most areas. To be honest one can’t help but feel that with more popularity this game could have just about become the 5-year olds Tomb Raider. Their animations are a bit blocky, sometimes moving as if they’re living underwater. The main problem with the cast is that they’re not quite big enough, and it gets tough to get a good glimpse of what they’re actually doing. But overall, the characters and backdrops combine together pretty well to create what is the highlight of the Barbie Super Sports package.

SOUND
As useless as a chocolate teapot, the sound makes its entrance. The background music mainly features two kinds of tracks – friendly little techno beats that thump along merrily as you skate along and the abominable kind, the songs with lyrics that are meant to boost little girls confidence with that stupid fabricated “GIRLS CAN DO EVERYTHING EXCEPT WEAR PANTS” kind of motto. Much out of line with the whole game, you yourself will be swearing uncontrollably at the screen as these noble female values are shoved down your throat. Take it from me; this is not a fun collection of songs for anyone to listen to.

And then there are the sound effects, certainly not fulfilling the quantity side of the quota and the quality side of things is certainly debatable as well. It’s rather tough to tell the difference between a good sound effect and a dodgy one, but I know that I don’t like these ones. Barbie and her friends constantly butt in with their Confucius like sayings (e.g. “RAD” and “WOW”) and there are occasional noises when you do something special. There’s just not enough to satisfy me! Overall this is an abysmal audio package, there are few obvious redeeming features and it’s generally a chore to listen to. Maybe it’s for the best if you let the piranhas have a go at the child's ears.

LIFESPAN
Not long, you can get all the kit that you want/need in a very short amount of time. There aren’t enough levels and the ones you do get are not big or good enough to hold your attention. And once you’ve finished the game...then what? Why bother going back for more when you can run various parts of your anatomy over a cheese grater? There is simply no incentive to have a person coming back for a repeat dosage, best just to get that cup and ball that your toddler has been pining for.

FUN FACTOR
Ha! That one little syllable prior to this sentence is more joy than this game will ever get you. It feels too much like you’re just playing through the game for the sake of buying things rather than for enjoyment. The set-up of the game and its levels seem to be aimed directly towards stopping you from having any enjoyment from it. Barbie Super Sports - you’ll have more fun laughing at the game with your friends at your weekly book club meeting.

CHALLENGE
None to be found here. You can’t lose tickets and you’ll still earn them for performing ridiculously poorly. The hardest thing you’ll have to do is beat a competitor with lead weights strapped to her feet in a race. This could just about be the only game where a two-player mode doesn’t further the challenge or the lifespan, it is of course just the same old rot. So basically, the best challenge one can muster from Barbie Super Sports is seeing how long you can put up with it before dry retching, and that is a lot harder than it sounds.

THE FINAL PARAGRAPH
This is not a game that can be enjoyed by older people, and there are far better games out there that take care of the needs of the younger people. There is just too little substance throughout most of the categories, it’s a shallow game and I suggest that the human race band together and boycott the game. The slightest morsel of enjoyment can be eked out of it by the most rigid Barbie fanatic and most wistful little girl, but you really have to wonder why somebody even bothered to make this heap of claptrap.
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GOOD POINTS
- The graphics are okay
- You can make them fall on their butts! Hyuk!
- ??????????

NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- See the things written
- In the above section?
- It’s not them.
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GRAPHICS – 6/10
SOUND – 3/10
GAMEPLAY – 2/10
LIFESPAN – 1/10
FUN FACTOR – 2/10
CHALLENGE – 1/10
OVERALL – 2/10

Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

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