Snowmobiles are woefully underrepresented in video game racing, while four-wheeled fare is incredibly commonplace. Though some people may disagree, the fundamental differences between asphalt and snow or tires and treads are not that great. Sno-Cross Championship Racing, a quality game based entirely on snowmobile racing, proves that there's no good reason for the unvaried focus of today's racing games.
Admittedly, playing Sno-Cross isn't entirely like playing a car racing game. The difference manifests itself mostly in control, which is far looser than it is in the average Ridge Racer or Gran Turismo game. Whipping around corners and catching air on a snowmobile is a wild and somewhat liberating experience. Sno-Cross uses a nicely realistic physics model, and that means you'll frequently be correcting for slight bumps in the track or oversteering as you slip on an icy turn. The game's simply a lot of fun to play.
Structurally, Sno-Cross Championship Racing is basically what you'd expect in a racer. It's set up in the traditional format, and championship, single-race, time-trial, and two-player versus modes are all available. One new addition is the hill-climb mode, in which you drive entirely uphill around obstacles and rocky terrain. The game also lets you construct and race on your own tracks through the use of a fairly intuitive track editor.
Of course, championship mode is where you'll spend the bulk of your playing time. It comes in 500, 600, and 700cc difficulties and consists of a series of races against three computer-controlled opponents. Between races, you'll have the opportunity to repair the damaged parts of your snowmobile or even upgrade them with superior parts. The money with which to do this is obtained both as prize money and as bonuses for performing a variety of tricks (such as the soon-to-be classic "seat spank") throughout the races.