- 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
notified of site updates. Sign-up for the Newsletter sent out
E-Mail Address Below:
Score: 9.0 / 10
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
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
good as the selection of boarders available and the number of moves each
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
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
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
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.