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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing / Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Canada

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

 

- Pure gaming joy!
- Audio shines like new fallen snow
- Graphics are fun to watch
- Good control
- Different modes of play
- Many different characters
- Whacked-out tricks
- DVD extras show a sunny Canada

 

 

- Some graphical stuttering
- No on-screen timer during Show-Off mode

 

 

Review: SSX Tricky (PS2)

Review: SSX Tricky (Gamecube)

Review: Amped 2 (360)

Action Figure Review: Elise (SSX Tricky)

 

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SSX Tricky

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

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SSX Tricky (Tricky) comes close to Pure Gaming Joy – that’s my review in a nutshell. However, if you want to keep reading, I’ve got another 880 or so words that should fill in whatever blanks might remain.

Tricky is the follow-up to SSX (snowboard supercross) – but that’s a moot point since it never appeared on the XBox (only the PS2). But the same sorts of thrills and spills found in the regular SSX ooze from every crevice and crag of Tricky. The basic game description is: cartoony snowboarding with some of the most insane downhill courses you’ve ever seen.

If mapped, most courses would resemble spaghetti splattered on a wall. But they manage to avoid confusion by making distinctly different “noodles” on the same

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course – there’s a definite main track but there are many tributaries. Shortcuts are the Special of the Day, so much so that on a few courses I swear I never took the same route twice. To avoid repetition the tracks are extremely varied – a cityscape, a twisted anti-grav Japanese monstrosity, a mountain riddled with mineshafts, to name but a few. This variation is almost as

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good as the selection of boarders available and the number of moves each can perform.

There are a plethora of regular tricks and each of these that is successfully landed adds to the “tricky” score which (when maxed out) allows access to the unique uber tricks for each boarder.

Uber tricks are mind-blowing moves that result in huge scores, but a high score won’t win you races. In Race and Time Trial modes you want to get from Start to Finish as quickly as possible – performing tricks is just extra. In Show-Off mode, performing aerial maneuvers is what it’s all about. Show-Off mode awards gold, silver, and bronze depending on your point total. Securing 150,000 points seems daunting at first but when you take into account the multiplier snowflakes, a 13,000 point uber trick can turn into a money maker – provided you land it. Show-Off mode also presents the courses a little differently than in Race mode with more jumps and rails scattered throughout. The only worry is the count-down clock (which, for some reason, isn’t displayed on-screen) as there are no other competitors. It’s a good change of pace from the assortment of characters that make up the competition.

The AI is good – it always keeps you on your toes, but they also appear human at times. They bail, they make mistakes, they take shortcuts, and they try to land on you whenever possible. Their aggression level toward you is governed by your actions on the course. Go around knocking over characters results in growing antagonism (handily displayed at the start of each heat) and increases the chances they’ll go out of their way to screw you over (at the very least spout an angry one liner at the conclusion of the race). You can also get “friendly” as well, which doesn’t actually seem to do anything. Two-player split screen is an option but it's just not as fun playing with only half the screen real estate.

 

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Pulling off the tricks and getting from point A to point B is not hampered by the control. 95% of the time, you know the reason you wiped out is because you attempted one more trick in your 20-storey drop from one of the huge jumps. Like every game there is some initial learning involved. (My course was called “How Not to Drive Your Head Into the Snow 101.”)

Sound and graphics sparkle. Voice acting, sound effects, and music are samples of how audio should be implemented in a game. The visuals are extremely entertaining to watch, especially the uber tricks, and the sense of speed (and height) is very good. But I was a little dismayed to find some honest to goodness slowdown. This happens mainly when two or more of the competition is on-screen at once. It’s not a problem when you’re in top spot, but when you’re fighting from the back of the pack, small stutters can throw off your concentration.

Like the Tony Hawk Skateboarding series, Tricky presents many options, unlockable characters, character stats, new boards, outfits, and rewards for completing trick book objectives. In short, it’s all wide-open and there’s something for all levels of experience. It’s plain fun too!

It’s also good to see an assortment of DVD extras, which explore the making of the game, the voice acting, etc. But it’s most notable because it shows EA Canada as not perpetually blanketed in snow – it’s actually sunny!

With all this goodness there’s bound to be some aspects on the badness side. The biggest one and most agonizing is that it’s really easy to get caught in some corners forcing you to hit reset. One other thing, I occasionally fell over for seemingly no reason – just going along fine then face planting.

There are a few games I think that every XBox owner should have in their libraries and SSX Tricky is one of them. There is lots to do and see, tricks to pull off, characters to get aquatinted with, courses to fly down – and all with an “E” rating. The detractions don’t pull down the experience, snatch it up.

- Omni
(March 17, 2002)

 

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