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Playstation 2









Shaba Games



E (Everyone)



Q2 2003



- A lot depth means a lot of good gameplay

- Two-player mode games are fun as hell

- Tight controls, detailed environments, mega-air, lots fun!



- Quite difficult to find those hidden gaps and achieve all the objectives

- Graphics could have been a bit sharper at times



Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Playstation 2)
Review: Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarding (Playstation 2)

Review: Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 (Playstation 2)



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Wakeboarding Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray

Score: 9.3/ 10


Upon first receiving Activision O2’s Wakeboarding Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray I was more than a little underwhelmed. On the surface the game appeared to be nothing more than a  water-bound Tony Hawk rip-off. Indeed, Wakeboarding Unleashed does share many similarities with the now classic Tony Hawk series.  The same basic principles shape the gameplay:  mash buttons, pull tricks, get huge air, defy reality and physics, etc. etc.

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It is to Wakeboarding Unleashed’s great credit that it is able to capture all of requisite Tony Hawk magic while adding a number of great features. Overall, Wakeboarding Unleashed is a great extreme sports title. It is loads of fun and surpasses expectations on nearly every level.  

Wakeboarding Unleashed is a surprisingly deep game; its many features pushes the game’s replay value up into the stratosphere. Whether it is the three different modes, Career (where you slowly build up and improve both your boarders attributes and his/her gear), Free Ride and Free Drive (where you pull a computer controlled boarder behind your boat), the seven playable characters, or the copious amount of tricks and level objectives ranging from discovering hidden gaps, and pulling off tricks to saving flood-threatened wildlife and pegging off tourists with water balloons, and eleven highly-imaginative, the game gives the player a lot to accomplish and unlock. The game’s interactive and imaginative environments (highlights include a Navy ‘boneyard’, Belize, Venice and the amazing amusement park level, Ocean World) also add a lot to this game. Put quite simply, Wakeboarding Unleashed will you kill a lot of hours.





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Just having a number of gameplay options available does not make a good game. A game must have the most basic necessities of gaming – control, graphics, music – to be considered great.  Wakeboarding Unleashed does an excellent job of meeting these basic requirements. Control, while a little on the loose side, is very easy to master and does not hide any frustrating glitches. For some unfamiliar with the basic principles of wakeboarding (ie. careening off the wake for air and pulling 


yourself against the turn of the boat for more speed) control may seem sluggish; a good training mode will quickly make the intricacies of the game’s controls far less daunting. Graphics, while not eye-popping, are done very well. The amount of detail in the game’s environments (particularly the stages unlocked later in the Career mode) is awesome. Waterfalls, hidden tunnels, Venetian architecture, Hong Kong casinos are all well-represented. There were times when I found myself smiling just because it was ridiculously fun to watch my Boarder rail slide on the turret of a Naval Destroyer or bust a move off some dirty Italian gondola.

What really makes Wakeboarding Unleashed stand out in my head is not these basics; it is the extras that push this game past good to great. The options for two-player play are fantastic. While playing with a friend you can either play a game of H.O.R.S.E., you can simply compete to see who achieves the highest score, you can play Tug-O-War in which both players are pulled behind the same boat trying to pull off tricks faster than the other (each successful trick shortens the rope of the other player) and finally, you can also play in a Co-op mode which allows one player to drive the boat and one player to pull tricks. While Co-op mode can sometimes be challenging for the person driving the boat (the view typically stays with the person controlling the wakeboarder thus making it hard to properly navigate), the fact that the game’s designers included this very cool and very fun feature makes the game that much better.

Other interesting extras abound throughout the game. The ability to let go of the rope and coast or fly off into otherwise unreachable areas and then, if you are in a reasonable proximity of the boat (which will follow you as best as it can), have the rope thrown back to continue your ride adds a lot of fun and a lot of challenge. Finding the numerous hidden areas and alternate boat routes adds a lot to this game. Each level has multiple variations to the routes that can be taken by the boat and boarder; as the player gets better one of the primary rewards is the ability to capitalize on your free-flying abilities. 

I did not expect to be quite so impressed with Wakeboarding Unleashed, but I was. To be certain, this game does have flaws. The graphics, the crash animations in particular, are sometimes weak and the difficulty level is sometimes a little bit high. But these shortcoming remained deep in the background for me; the more positive aspects of this game cancelled out the negatives. This game is definitely worth buying and is a hell of a lot fun for both the individual player and the group of friends looking to have a good night playing some vids and drinking some soda pop (wink, wink). 

Curtis Andrews

July 13, 2003

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