Capcom's first PlayStation snowboarding title is like a diet soft drink: It's light on features, easy to consume, and it tastes a bit different from its competitors. Some avoid diet drinks like the plague, while others swear by them: This review falls in-between. Although this game seems refreshing in short sips, it doesn't have the depth and variety to sustain long-term enjoyment.
At first glance, this game seems like any other on the market. The main selling point is its one-player championship mode, which is a series of ten individual courses that measure your speed and trick prowess. Roughly one-half are varying downhill tracks. These tracks, while long, are fairly easy to master from a racing standpoint but, unfortunately, offer too few shortcuts and alternate routes. The other, shorter tracks consist of slalom courses, a halfpipe, and a tricks ramp. The game's other modes include freestyle (race the tracks at your leisure), time competition, and two-player.
The game's primary innovation is its ability to let you build up your boarder skills by winning races in the championship mode. This also unlocks hidden goodies, like alternate outfits. Although it's virtually impossible to score a first-place finish the first time through, once your skills have increased, this task will become easier to accomplish. While this character-building may appeal to some, the downside is that the same ten tracks have to be played again and again in order to build up stats - and prolonged exposure to these tracks can cause boredom.
From a presentation standpoint, this game holds its own. Although there's inevitable pop-up, given the PlayStation's limits, the game runs at a silky smooth frame rate that never seems to suffer, even in the vertical split-screen two-player game. Even at this rate, developers added smart visual cues, such as the gradual blending of background textures via light shading. The effect isn't noticeable but the results are: tracks that heighten the sense of motion as backgrounds come into focus. The boarder animations also look true-to-life. Sadly, the music and announcer are wholly uninspiring and unhip.