Review by JRepute

"EA Big reveals a shadowed masterpiece with the spectacular SSX!"

Every now and then, a video game just explodes onto the gaming scene bypassing the ultimate sensation of maximum entertainment. Actually, that doesn't come every now and then, maybe uh, never mind. Ah well, who cares, what I am trying to get at is the magnificent effect this awesome game by EA Big has embarked on my gaming life, known as SSX. SSX stocked up the shelves of retailers all over the United States on October 28, 2000, along with the launch of the PlayStation 2 gaming console, and some plenty other games. Sure we all agreed it would be a pretty good game by reading previews and looking at screen shots, what we failed to comprehend was that this isn't just you regular ''good'' game. Oh no, it is much more than that. The word starts to spread, copies fly off the shelves, and thousands of gamers all over take a sick day from work or a layout day for school. Okay, enough of his useless gibber-jabber, I think it is time to further elaborate the ratiocination for this mind-less talk...

''Welcome... to SSX''

Shall we discuss the gameplay? Once you pop this baby in and gracefully turn on that ''power'' button, you are automatically presented with beauty. The beginning presentation is wonderfully done. A quick commencement is shown for a beginners paradise and it already foreshadows some of the levels, characters, boards, and tricks to be accomplished and unlocked through your SSX career. Yes, I did say ''unlock,'' but that is a completely different area and will be attempted to later on. Anyway, the game includes two primary modes of play, the Single Event and the World Circuit.

The Single Event mode is quite self-explanatory. You have the option to pick any character currently unlocked and then breeze them down up to eight different slopes (depending on which ones you have currently unlocked.) There are four separate events to choose from. One is the warm-up, this is basically a learners course and is a very useful device of the game for beginners to learn and develop skills for the basic controls. Next is probably the main event of the bunch, the race mode with six variant courses and three difficulty settings. Showoff mode is where the real miracles are exposed. The character must earn trick points to accomplish various metals (bronze, silver, and gold) which can be a quite daunting task in some instances for some gamers. However, nothing to get worried about, as this is basically a practice, fun mode and no pressure to accomplish this goal; just have fun and enjoy. The last and most un ornamented way to play is the free ride mode, just ride however, whenever, and where ever you prefer in to time limit. Free ride is a very useful way to get familiarized with all the shortcuts, secrets, and tricks in the game's courses Their is nothing better than scampering down a huge hill at at 120 miles-per-hour with the sole intent to expand ones SSX experience moreover providing hours beyond hours of pure entertainment to a gamer, and that is exactly what you feel throughout this feast of a game.

The World Circuit is the big-kahuna of the game. When one thinks of the term replay value, they think of the magnitude it holds in SSX. It is amazing of all you must do in World Circuit to unlock everything. First off, it may be wholly clever to choose a principal character to work up. Each character has four asunder attributes to rely on. Attribute points will awarded by completing either first place (gold), second place (silver), or third place (bronze). This is a very simple and elegant way to methodize the system. Your ranking in the race determines the rewards you shall receive. By ranking within the top three of a race, you are awarded with a certain amount of attribute points, sometimes a new character, or my personal favorite, a new course! It hardly ever gets old to work up your characters to the highest possible experience, kind of like a RPG, uh, I said kind of, hmm, never mind. As you have read over these last two paragraphs, SSX's modes of gameplay is quite elaborate and 100% enjoyable. It would probably take someone about 40+ hours to unlock all of the items and maximize the characters skills. Of course, that is not even including the huge set of tricks that can be performed to unlatch the feature for more character outfits.

By now, you should know absolutely every thing dealing with the modes of gameplay, but was it really that interesting? If it was or if it wasn't, it is now time to discuss the number one aspect of any extreme game, the fun conceived in dalliance. The basic premise of SSX is getting down a blazing slope trying to win a race while doing some amazing maneuvers. From a triple-back flip 180 reverse turn to a Tailgrab to Late Stiffy Air, the number of tricks pretty much exceeds the bland selection you may see in previous snow boarding games. All the tricks can be linked together for some hella awesome combos, giving some of the most exhilarating experiences you could feel in an extreme sports game. The controls are pretty much like your usual great extreme game--use Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for example. If you have mastered its controls, mastering SSX should be no problem. A premise of the controls includes may be the necessity to hold down the X-button before a jump to gain speed and give a higher boost. It is just the little things such as this that adds more depth to SSX’s controls. With all this praise going around, I should be sure to mention the few flaws it holds. Even though the selection of tricks is pretty massive, the actual basis of all the tricks is a bit similar and seems more repetitive to the eyes. The controls can at first be a bit annoying, because you are often obligated to hold down the forward button, but later realize you mistake after tumbling down a hill because you did half a forward flip down the next hill. Moreover, the game even gives you the ability to do some action type maneuvers by using the right analog stick to punch opponents on the course, sometimes giving an advantage, sometimes creating a catastrophe. Overall, the controls are pretty simple and any flaws encountered are very minimum and easily get-over-able!

The environments of SSX are clearly spectacular. Pretty much unlike anything you have seen in today’s current selection of snow boarding games. The slopes are huge and highly detailed all the way through. What makes the environments so wonderful is the wide variety they all hold and the secrets. Secrets thus leading to shortcuts. It is obvious that EA Big spent some good designing time with the added shortcuts since they are placed in very unique places and prove to be super original. Like I stated before, the locations of the courses of SSX are wonderfully varied. For example, what other snow boarding game before SSX could you go from a normal snow-slope, to skiing in Hawaii, to zooming through a giant pin-ball machine on a board; exactly, no other!

“Super SSX...” Graphics!

One thing that all the courses, characters, backgrounds, and any miscellaneous item of SSX have in common is the graphics! Need I say more? If you have played or seen the screen shots of SSX, you probably drooled for a little bit. Admit it, don’t lie. From the muscle movement of a character falling off a 50 feet snow cliff to the snow tracks created by the boards, everything is done very well in the graphic department... except the occasional bit of two-dimensional items of the courses, such as the fans in the stands or the sideline trees. They really don’t look too good and should have been more carefully addressed. With that out of the way, I clearly have nothing to say more of SSX’s graphics. Even with a few flaws, the graphics are still beautiful (for a first generation PS2 game).

Shine on the sound, embrace the ears!

The sound of SSX isn’t something to get all excited about. They are good, but not the greatest in the world. The background music is a bit impressive at first, however gets mainly old as the hours start to rack up. Basically, the same music rhythm is heard throughout the entire game. The commentary is where it doe shine. The announcers provide some detailed analysis of the performance on the course and even some humorous moments of speak if something usual might happen or you do poorly. “Player number-1, fighting for the worst position!” Just more of stuff like that that can make me chuckle occasionally. The voice acting is just a bit basic, but still good. Before, during, and after the competitions they give some distinct taunts which furthers the quality of this department. Like I said, not bad, not super fantastic...

Super. Spectacular. X-perience.

Overall, SSX fundamentally gleams in every category and as a whole. The experience taken in through SSX is like no other. A great game that deserves some great praise. If you like sports/racing games in particular, I especially recommend checking out this game. Even if you dislike the genre of extreme sports, at least give SSX a rental, it is great great fun!

<< Wrap-up >>

.:. Scores .:.
Graphics: 9.1
Sound: 8.5
Replay: 9.2
Control: 9.0
Gameplay: 9.5

Overall: 9.4

-- .:. -- Enjoy! -- .:. --

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/29/01, Updated 10/30/01

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