Platform: Gameboy Advance

Genre: Sports

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Natsume

ESRB: E (Everyone)

Released: Q4 2001

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Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder

Score: 7/10

 

Pros

- Easy to pick up

- Decent replay value

 

 

Cons:

- Visuals not all that great

- Could do without the voice work

 

 

Related Links:

Review: Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder (Playstation 2)

 

"Itís not the prettiest title to hit the GBA, but it provides enough fun to keep one occupied for a good while. "

 

Sometimes when Iím getting used to the controls on a new game I wind up feeling like the bozo running around yelling, ďWhere the hellís my pencil?!?Ē only to realize shortly there after that it was in their hand all along.  Shaun Palmerís Pro Snowboarder (SPPS) on the GBA did the same thing when I first sank my teeth into it, there was just something that wouldnít quite gel with how the boarders handled.  Thankfully after a little persistence and practice the problems cleared and what I found was an entertaining little excursion into the mono-boardial winter wonders of Snowboarding in SPPS.  

 

shaun-palmer-pro-snowboarder-1.jpg (4701 bytes)          shaun-palmer-pro-snowboarder-2.jpg (4390 bytes)

The crux of the game is zipping around doing tricks more or less to your heartís content, what with it being a snowboarding game and all.  The handy dandy thing about this being the handheld version of the game is that those the controls are heavily streamlined, focusing on the A and B buttons, in order to pull off the tricks.  While in some ways it does limit what you can do compared to snowboarding titles on the consoles, this helps to simplify matters on the teeny, tiny GBA.  Whatís going on on-screen is tough enough to see as it is, so keeping the jumps, rotations, and manuals in a concentrated area of control helps keep things from feeling overwhelming in the sometimes confining arena of the GBA.    It just takes a little getting used to not dealing with so many buttons compared to other extreme sport titles.

While zipping around and flying about players will be able to do so in races, or just going nuts in freestyle.  Either way thereís plenty on the tracks to keep you busy, whether dealing with the obstacles on the course by doing tricks off of them, or trying to avoid them, all while accomplishing the usual mix of goals set out on each track which must be done in order to unlock the next track, typical, traditional fair in that regard.  Seeing as it is snowboarding, a downhill sport, that means not having the ability to backtrack when you miss something.  If you screw up, well tough, you can restart the run or forget about it.  Regardless, the game does a good job of giving players a good amount to play with, while dangling a few carrots for those with an eye for the daring and crave a little more of a challenge.  Either way running through the courses provides the requisite amounts of fun, especially when you consider that there are high scores to be broken.  

But while the game is fun to play, itís not too fun to look at.  While a number of titles to hit the GBA have looked decidedly 16-bit, SPPS looks somewhere between 8-bit and 16-bit, more on par with the visuals in a mid-grade TurboGrafx-16 game from times yore.  The animation is very smooth with no signs of slowdown, but the quality of the visuals left something to be desired.  The sound effects are a bit better with decent enough peppy music for the tricks and the racing, but the scratchy voiceovers should never have been included in the game, very annoying.

If you like the extreme sports, but want a break for the skateboarding titles and donít have a hankering for BMX bikes, SPPS should provide you with a nice little diversion.  Itís not the prettiest title to hit the GBA, but it provides enough fun to keep one occupied for a good while.

- Mr. Nash

(February 23, 2002)

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