Platform: GBA

Genre: Extreme Sports

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: Visual Impact

ESRB: E (Everyone)

Released: Q4 2002

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SSX Tricky

Score: 7.5 / 10  

Pros

- Good visual translation from next-generation consoles to GBA

- Controls are mapped out well to the limited amount of GBA buttons

 

Cons:

- Soundtrack sounds tinny

- Clipping graphics

- Missing character personality from next-generation versions

 

"...SSX Tricky gives GBA gamers another taste of extreme sports flava...

The snowboarding title SSX Tricky is one of the better games in the EA Big Sports line for the Xbox, PS2, and the GameCube. It has colorful and personable characters, big-air gameplay, thumping tunage and most importantly, measures high on the extreme fun-factor scale. Translating a home console title like SSX Tricky into a Game Boy Advance game, however, proved too tricky for the folks at EA Big.

 

ssx tricky review          ssx tricky review

 

The GBA version of the snowboarding hit has some of the qualities on a smaller scale of its inspiration and is one of the better extreme sports titles available on Nintendoís handheld alongside the Tony Hawkís Pro Skater GBA titles. But being restricted by the limitations of the GBA avalanches this version of SSX Tricky, which somehow loses a chunk of its charm and gameplay fun in the translation.

 

One of the big surprises for me was the gameís graphics. The graphical detail of SSX Trickyís characters is actually impressive. The levels are well rendered too, although the levels themselves arenít as big or open as what appears in the console versions, and can even feel downright claustrophobic at times. There are some nice accentuating touches that appear, including the lighting effects of nighttime snowboarding and falling snow during races. The only big complaint with SSX Trickyís graphics is the way-to-much occurrence of clipping, which takes some of the luster off the otherwise polished visuals.  

 

 

Also surprising is the good control layout, especially considering the limited number of controller buttons at the developerís disposal. Somehow the restriction of less controller buttons never becomes an issue, as the snowboarding moves that can be pulled off are just a few button taps away. If anything, I was expecting a control scheme that would be iceball-to-the-face painful to manipulate. But it turned out practically completely opposite. Not all next-generation console extreme sports titles that make their way to the GBA can boast of a good control layout, so kudos to EA for accomplishing that feat.

 

With good gameplay options, you wonít easily bore of SSX Tricky either, although the sometimes-taxing challenge the game presents can at other times do a complete 180 on you. There are gameplay mode options for single events or a world circuit full of races, including showoff events that allow you to try to out-trick your opponents. As mentioned earlier, the good control scheme allows for a large amount of basic and advanced trick sets, including front flips, Indy grabs and the special Łber tricks that are available once you fill up your adrenaline meter.

 

SSX Trickyís biggest flaw is it happens to be missing one of the key factors that created such a great gameplay atmosphere on the console versions. Absent is the characterís demeanor.

ssx tricky review          ssx tricky review

 

Again, thatís all due to the restrictions of the GBA itself. With limited resources for sound presentation, you miss out on the great comments from the gameís personalities, particularly from the charismatic Eddie. The lack of quality output for sound also affects the gameís music, which is nightclub rocking on the console but sounds tinny and digitized on the GBA. SSX Trickyís soundtrack does the best itís capable of, but unfortunately doesnít hit the same musical high note.

 

While not as fun a ride as its next-generation counterparts, SSX Tricky gives GBA gamers another taste of extreme sports flava besides a Tony Hawkís Pro Skater GBA title. Itís a shame that the system isnít capable of more, because SSX Tricky does some nice work, particularly in the graphics and gameplay departments, that could have benefited from some extra system horsepower. Still, SSX Tricky remains a good extreme sports game thatís worth buying, as long as youíre not expecting the completely same 3D-enhanced product from its next-generation console muse.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(March 22, 2003)