Game Over Online ~ X Games Pro Boarder

GameOver Game Reviews - X Games Pro Boarder (c) Electronic Arts, Reviewed by - Prolix

Game & Publisher X Games Pro Boarder (c) Electronic Arts
System Requirements P166, Windows95, 32MB Ram, 2X or faster CD-ROM
Overall Rating 84%
Date Published Wednesday, December 9th, 1998 at 10:16 AM

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

Emerging into its own subculture, much like surfing or skateboarding, the sport of snowboarding's popularity has boomed in recent years. With the advent of the winter X Games, snowboarding has become a sport recognized by the entire world. Previous to the release of X Games Pro Boarder, PC users were forced to turn to a console to get their "Xtreme" fix. While the console games do offer a good degree of fun, they lack one feature most PC gamers crave; graphics. At last the PC is being treated as a formidable setup to deliver what the public wants, Xtreme games. While X Games Pro Boarder excels in many aspects it also falls short in others.

Features: Proboarder features quite a few of the worlds best snowboarders such as; Jamie Lynn, Todd Richards, Tina Basich, Peter Line, and Daniel Franck. 2112 possible trick combinations are available for you to do on nine courses. Along with all the realistic tricks you can pull of there is also a great punk soundtrack with bands like Nofx, Pulley, Voodoo Glowskulls, Pennywise, and Rancid.

Please keep in mind I used a video card with the Voodoo1 chipset to review this game, so results may vary with more powerful graphics cards. Unfortunately the graphics in Proboarder are a mixed bag. The environments are somewhat well done, such as the half pipe which definitely creates a realistic environment with things like ice on the rails. However, when racing down the halfpipe, I occasionally noticed black lines in the snow, which looks really ugly and gives the game an unpolished look to it. Another disappointment is the character graphics and the crowd animation's. Cheap cheesy cardboardish animation's are used for the crowd, most of the people don't even have faces, just a blurry thing on their shoulders. All of the snowboarders have different boards with unique art on each of them, which is a real nice touch. However, most of the snowboarders are roughly rendered and have a low polygon count. My final complaint is the backdrops for each level; horrible basically describes my feelings towards them. In the halfpipe level, the background is barely noticeable as a mountain and looks more like a blurry white mess. One of the best aspects of the graphics engine's use of shadowing. Trees and hills cast very realistic shadows and even at night shadows cover the courses. When I ran the game with all the bells and whistles turned to high detail it ran in slow-motion, frustrating me because I can run games like Half Life in all its glory without a hitch.

Usually I would love to use my trusty gravis game pad from 1994 for a game like this, but I found out I really need to buy a new controller (I still hold onto it for sentimental reasons). Basically to prepare for a trick you hold down the trick prep key and go off a jump and hit one of three trick keys. In addition to hitting a trick key you can add twists and flips by holding down the directional arrows on your keyboard. I don't have many complaints regarding to the control setup, I would rather have had a set trick system much like that in Cool Boarders 3.The sound track is just about the best aspect of this game for me personally. I love this compilation of punk bands, except who is the idiot that put Foo Fighters in with a bunch of punk bands? Anyhow, as far as sound effects go they are pulled off rather well. Some of the snowboarders have their own little things they say when you select them, which is cool. Moves like grinding a rail and thwacking into a tree sound surprisingly realistic.

Gameplay consists of several events found at the X Games, they include; Halfpipe, Mt Bakergap, Stadium, Slopestlye, downhill, and circuit. The basic concept of the game is to come in first place and then continue to circuit mode after you get first in every X Games event. In trick events like Halfpipe or slope-style you win by getting the most points by doing the most complicated tricks that you can. Tricks range from simple tail grabs to 1080 methods. While modes like downhill racing are included, I opted to skip playing it and just go for slope style, which is a downhill board park of sorts, with copings and tables to grind on. Half Pipe is a blast as well, you race against a couple opponents and attempt to score the most points by combining fluidity with a bit of luck. AI is average and it should be for a game like this, the more you crank the skill level up the better tricks they will perform. As far as fun factor goes I had a great time playing X Games. My only complaint is the lack of variation between the different courses, I would have preferred different slope style tracks like in Coolboarders 3. This could possibly be a real deterrent for those of you looking for lasting replay value. Because after you beat the circuit there isn't much else to do other than slopestyle and halfpipe.

All types of multiplayer connections are supported, TCP/IP, IPX, Modem and Serial. With a cable modem host I suffered almost no noticeable lag at all. However, sometimes after I completed a race then my opponents did, the game would instantly tack on thousands of points so I would be in last place, indicating some lag. Multiplayer TCP/IP is a blast, it really brought out the competitive spirit in me.

At last someone finally listened to what the people wanted and made a snowboarding game. All I can say is, its about damn time! Unfortunately X Games Pro Boarder isn't everything its cracked up to be and wasn't exactly worth the wait. Basically all I have to say is, I will still play Coolboarders 3 more often than Proboarder, due to the lasting replayability of CB3. For those of you who still refuse to buy a console system I definitely recommend this game to you. Owners of Coolboarders 2 or 3 might want to think twice about plopping down 50$ for X Games Pro Boarder.

Minimum Requirements: P166, Windows95, 32MB Ram, 2X or faster CD-ROM drive,75mb HD space, 2MB PCI graphics card, and Direct X 5.0.


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