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Extreme Sports









T (Teen)



Q4 2002



- Pick-up and play fun

- Easy to perform combos (but tough to perfect)

- Lots to see and do

- Solid graphics and sound

- Music tracks can finally be skipped without pausing the game



- You just wish some courses were longer

- No ability to modify your boarder with stat points



Review: Transworld Surf (XBox)


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TransWorld Snowboarding

Score: 8.9 / 10

In recent times, itís tough to find a really, really bad snowboarding game (or maybe I just canít recall them).  Iím glad to say that TransWorld Snowboarding (TSB) doesnít come anywhere close to being a really, really bad snowboarding game.  In fact, itís at the other end of the spectrum Ė itís good, even fantastic at times, walking the line between reality and fantasy in a pleasant mix thatís really hard to put down once you start playing.


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If youíve played SSX, SSX Tricky, TransWorld Surf, Amped, Tony Hawkís Pro Skater or practically any game where you ride a board across a surface on a small piece of fiberglass or wood youíll be familiar with the setup of TSB.


There are 16 levels to unlock by completing level goals, which range from earning a certain score, winning a race, performing a specific trick or finding some hidden portion of the level.  Levels vary in size according to their classification.  Backcountry courses are the biggest levels by far and are so wide open itís a wonder you can 




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even find the end of the course.  In opposition to these levels are Straight Jumps, the shortest courses available, that force you to think fast and perform as many combos as possible.  In between are Halfpipes (like a downhill skatepark), Boarder Rally (beat the competition to the bottom of the hill), and Slopestyle (a combination of everything).  My only gripe is that there are only 2 Backcountry courses.  Combined, the different course types offer quite a bit of variety and all are laid out well with lots of obstacles, jumps, and drops.



And it doesnít hurt that everything looks great, too.  I like the small touches best.  Like how the boarders crumple when landing on their heads, a small splatter of blood across the white snow and holding their faces in agony.  There are some inconsistencies though with some of the wildlife that can be found such as the giant wolves.  They arenít just big, theyíre giant.  Lighting is excellent right across the board (groan!) and I have yet to come across anything that makes me question the integrity of the graphics engine.    And load times are minimal, even with the Backcountry courses.


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Once a level is unlocked during TransWorld Tour it can be accessed during Time Attack, where you race a ghost image of yourself to set a best time, and Freeride, which has three tracks open right from the start.  Freeride on the Backcountry courses, in particular, is a good way to relax after particularly grueling days. (Believe me on this point as Iíve had a plethora of grueling and/or crappy days lately.)


Multiplayer is also included with a couple of modes: Split-Screen (racing or tricking down the course to beat out opponents) and Super Pro Mode (where your goal is to out-score the opposition).


But all this variety and good looks wouldnít amount to a hill of slush without some solid control.  To be honest, I like TSBís control better than SSX Tricky (one of my favorite games and still in rotation on my playlist).  The left thumbstick steers while the right thumbstick performs all the grab tricks.  All told there are 16 grab tricks to perform Ė 16 because half of the tricks are accessed by holding down the right thumbstick while moving the stick.  It makes it easy to pick up and start playing right away without worrying too much about timing or racking up huge combos, which can only come after practice. (And practice you must if you want to nail the subtle nuances.)  Boarders can also perform flips, rails, and spinning flips in combination with the grabs by using the left thumbstick.  The only buttons you have to worrying about are used to perform the ever-useful ollie, switching your stance, a speed burst (built up by performing tricks), and riding a rail.


Complementing the visual component is the audio.  At times, it seems slightly muted (i.e. not loud enough) but balancing out the sound levels can fix that.  The soundtrack includes a long, long list of singles from the likes of Jolt 45, Consumed, Hoobastank, Jim Crow, The Hippos, and Black Eyed Peas.  Itís a mandatory mix of tunes that highlights TSB pretty well.  And of course, you can play your own ripped soundtrack if you like.  The biggest feature regarding the music aspect is the ability to skip tracks you donít like (or repeat ones you do like), without having to pause the game, by using the black and white buttons.  This is the first time Iíve encountered this feature so big, BIG kudos to Housemarquee! (Even if it has appeared elsewhere.)


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The included extras are the standard unlockable boards and video clips.  What comes as a bit of a disappointment is the inability to improve your boarder of choice with additional stat points.  But that disappointment quickly fades Ė TSB is too much fun.


TransWorld Snowboarding is a great addition to the snowboarding genre.  Itís got a good mix of courses, boarders, tricks, and a perfectly combined fantasy/reality sensibility.  (All that and great control!)  If you canít make it to the real slopes this winter, TSB is a good way to spend many cold snowy days indoors. (Or if you made it to the slopes, a good way to unwind.)


- Omni

(November 27, 2002)

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