Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer
Score: 7.5 / 10
Adding to the list of sports in Activision O2ís portfolio of extreme sports made into games is surfing. Again following the release of their console equivalents is this, the PC version of Kelly Slaterís Pro Surfer. Like Matt Hoffman and Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater is apparently a god when it comes to surfing, although I really wouldnít know. Not to worry though if you donít know anything about surfing either as Pro Surfer is a really accessible game that I would even go so far as to say educates the gamer about surfing.
after booting the game up, the gamer will be treated to quite a long
video introducing you to Kelly Slater and the world of surfing.
At the beginning of each location that you surf, you will be
shown a video of the history of the location in the surfing world, and
the impact and contribution that that location has made.
This gives the game a nice feel of peeking into the world of
surfers and learning more about the lifestyle and the locations in the
is definitely very interesting for surfers and non surfers alike.
The gameplay mechanics are quite similar to the other O2 extreme sports games: Matt Hoffmanís Pro BMX, Shaun Palmerís Pro Snowboarder, and of course the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. There is one button to jump off the top of the wave, another button to slide your board, a grab button, and a carve button. Each of these buttons also has a secondary function in different given situations. Using each of these buttons in different combinations, the player is able to perform various tricks on the face of the wave, and in the air when doing aerial tricks.
those of you familiar with the other O2 games, you will immediately
recognize the style of the game as there is the ability to link tricks
and maximize your special meter which will allow you to perform more
complicated, cooler tricks.
Most gamers will probably want to take a quick run through the
tutorial which explains everything as this game has a few nuances and is
not just Tony Hawk on water.
problem that the gameplay suffers from is the simplicity of the moves.
Most moves can simply be executed by double tapping one of the
buttons or by holding a button.
By quickly mashing on the buttons, it is very easy to max out
your special meter.
At this point it is possible to perform a special move.
The only problem is that the special moves are also very easy to
Overall, this leaves a fairly simple and unchallenging level of
Also, many of the moves appear very similar and the excitement
garnered by mixing many different looking tricks is not there.
greatest challenge is in landing the aerial tricks as the greatest
points are awarded for landing a perfect trick.
The direction of landing is what is critical here as landing a
perfect trick requires the player to land at a perfect 180 degrees to
their angle of takeoff.
The only problem is that the angle of takeoff is very difficult
to determine, and after a few spins in the air, which also adds points
to the trick, it is very difficult to determine what angle at which to
land in order not to fall, let alone land a perfect trick.
This is primarily due to the water graphics.
As good as the water effects are there are no markers so that you
can tell in which direction the momentum of your character is traveling.
This appears to be more of a design flaw than a viable challenge
as it makes landing a decent trick very difficult not through the
mechanics of the game but through a problem that will likely be
experienced by most gamers.
One cool thing that can be done in the game is the ability to ride tubes. This means that as a surfer, you can ride within the crest of the wave. At this point a balance meter is displayed on screen and to maintain your position in the tube you must balance the joypad from left to right much like a grind in the Tony Hawk games. Apart from this little part of the game, there isnít a whole lot of variation in the types of things that you can do.
layout of the game is very similar to the other O2 titles.
There is a two player mode, a career mode, and single player
challenge and practice mode.
All the extra videos of locations and surfers that you have
unlocked appear in an extras section that you can view at any time.
The career mode is the real meat of the game and this is where
the extra surfboards, improvement on surferís skills and the more surf
videos can be unlocked.
The upgrades to your surferís skills can not be chosen, but
happen automatically when clearing a certain number of career
The different surf boards that you affect your surferís ability
to perform in different ways.
Some will be more built for speed while others will afford you a
better carving ability.
graphics here are really top notch with the water effects looking
At the higher resolutions, the game is a true beauty to behold.
As an added bonus as well, the system requirements really arenít that
steep and even top systems from a few months ago should be fine at the
One piece of hardware to ensure that you have sprouting from your
USB port is a gamepad as this will improve your level of enjoyment as it
will afford you so much more control.
in no way a serious contender of taking the crown of extreme sports
games away from the Tony Hawk series, Kelly Slaterís Pro Surfer offers
an interesting look into the world of surfing.
The gameplay is fairly solid, if a little elementary and
repetitive, but does offer enough of a challenge in its specific career
goals as to offer most gamers at least a little diversion from some of
the more deserving holiday titles.
- Mark Leung
(December 21, 2003)
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