SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1
Publisher: SNK Playmore (2008)
SOCOM US Navy Seals
Publisher: Sony (2002)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2000)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2003)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2001)
This sequel to the popular snowboarding game is more of a "remix" than an all-new game. Still, it's packed with exciting and sometimes exhilarating snowboarding mayhem. The solid gameplay hasn't changed at all, but this game seems much easier than the first. Tricks are simpler to perform, fall recovery times are shorter, and the tracks are better designed and less confusing. Speaking of tracks, I was disappointed that there are only two
new tracks, with the rest being revamped versions of the those from the original game. The most highly-touted new feature is the inclusion of "Uber" tricks, which are crazy airborne stunts that make you look like you're break dancing or riding a bull. There are several new wacky characters sporting "celebrity voices" from the likes of David Arquette, Macy Gray, and Lucy Lui. A new soundtrack includes Run-DMC and their classic rap song "It's Tricky". But this is just window dressing, and there some issues with the gameplay. First of all, the racers tend to "crowd up", making it too easy to go from first place to last (and vice versa). Next, the game is far too easy. If you've played through the first SSX, you could probably finish this in one sitting (for one character anyway). Finally, despite the emphasis on tricks, in fact you're more likely to win races by making a beeline for the finish. In the final analysis, I'd recommend SSX Tricky to new players, but original SSX owners should think twice before trading up. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
SnoCross 2 featuring Blair Morgan
Publisher: Crave (2006)
The original Polaris SnoCross
(PS1, 2000) was a respectable snowmobile racer ("snowmachine" if you're in Vermont) so I was optimistic about this PS2 follow-up. The visuals are obviously sharper but where did the charm go? The quaint villages and scenic ridges have been replaced with walls of ice, barren canyons, and prison courtyards. Everything looks so flat and artificial! The paths tend to be wide but still hard to follow, with SSX-style blue and red paint marking the trails. SnoCross 2 does incorporate new boost and power slide controls which allow for some technique. The O button is now used to perform tricks which reward you with turbo boosts. The boost "blur" looks okay but squirrely steering makes it easy to lose control. I'm glad the amateur circuit only requires one lap per course because circumnavigating these lengthy, repetitive tracks is mind-numbing. I blame the built-in course-maker feature. These "builders" have a tendency to produce lame
tracks, and the developers apparently used it to design the courses in the game. So you get dozens to choose from but their cookie-cutter designs are glaring. Low-budget beats drone away in the background as you race. There is no longer support for four-player split-screen (only two), and the lack of autosave makes saving your progress a chore. I usually recommend these kind of games on snowy days but frankly I'd be hard-pressed to find any occasion to pull out SnoCross 2. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players
Sonic Mega Collection Plus
Publisher: Sega (2004)
Soul Calibur III
Publisher: Namco (2005)
Rating: Teen (suggestive themes, violence)
Space Channel 5 Special Edition
Publisher: Agetec (2003)
Rating: Teen (mild violence, suggestive themes)
Publisher: Infogrames (2001)
I've always been a big fan of jet ski games, and Splashdown is one of the best ones I've come across. Thanks to responsive controls and a helpful training mode, controlling your jet ski is a piece of cake. There's plenty of room for technique, with special moves like bunny hops, inverts, submarining, hydroplaning, and various mid-air tricks. Performing tricks is rewarded by increasing the performance of your jet ski. The shimmering, rolling water looks great, and the twenty international courses are full of ramps and shortcuts. The scenery is attractive but not spectacular like Hydro Thunder. The races themselves are truly exciting, and the computer players are surprisingly intelligent. The kickin' soundtrack features Smashmouth and Blink 182, which are great at first, but you'll soon become sick of the repeating tunes. Splashdown is a quality arcade title that I found to be quite addictive. I think Wave Race for the GameCube is slightly better, but it's a close call. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Splashdown Rides Gone Wild
Publisher: THQ (2003)
Rating: Everyone (Mild lyrics, Mild language)
When I first laid eyes on this new jet-ski title, I thought "Wow, what a great idea!" Instead of the traditional stages you find in most jet-ski racers, Slashdown Rides Gone Wild takes a page from Disney and offers eight spectacular courses that are arguably more fun to watch than race on! The first one, based on the Bermuda Triangle, is truly amazing, with huge storms, UFOs, and ocean liners than literally fall from the sky! Other themes include dinosaurs, pirates, white water, ice, and a flooded city. Each one is highly imaginative and crazy fun. There's even a haunted river that runs through a spooky castle - how cool is that? This is the kind of stuff I live
for! There are ramps to pull off tricks, secret passages to discover, and the tracks even change with each lap! Rides Gone Wild has A+ potential, but there are problems. First off, I wish the tracks were a bit more open, so they'd be easier to navigate and less claustrophobic. I also encountered a few graphical glitches that caused me to get stuck in the scenery, and the game even froze up completely at one point. The two-player split-screen games are limited to unexciting indoor tracks that are disappointing compared to the others. The graphics could be more detailed, and the rapids in the Gold Rush stage look totally fake. Finally, the loading times are excruciating. Still, the controls are excellent and the game is full of surprises. If you're looking for some fun and enjoy theme park rides, you'll love Slashdown Rides Gone Wild. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Midway (2001)
You may remember the original Spy Hunter arcade game, which was popular in the early 80's. In that overhead racer, you controlled a car loaded with both offensive and defensive weapons, allowing you to shoot cars ahead while dropping smoke screens behind you. This updated Spy Hunter manages to preserve the fun of the original while adding gorgeous 3D graphics and deep, mission-based gameplay. Each mission has a set of objectives, mostly involving blowing up specific targets. The game looks and plays much like an action movie. You'll find yourself careening over cliffs and plowing through outdoor cafes, with explosions detonating all around you. It can be very exhilarating at times. Each level offers a long, unique course that cuts through a variety of locations, complete with hidden short cuts and other secrets. When your car jumps into water, it instantly morphs into a speedboat - pretty awesome! The controls take a while to learn, but are responsive overall. Spy Hunters fine graphics and breakneck pace will keep your adrenaline flowing. My biggest complaint is that everything is locked initially, including the two player split-screen mode. Otherwise, Spy Hunter is a worthy successor to a classic arcade game. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
Publisher: LucasArts (2002)
Rating: Teen (violence)
Star Wars: Racer Revenge
Publisher: LucasArts (2001)
Star Wars: Starfighter
Publisher: LucasArts (2001)
Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing
Publisher: LucasArts (2001)
Starsky and Hutch
Publisher: Take Two (2003)
Rating: Teen (violence)
Street Fighter Alpha Anthology
Publisher: Capcom (2006)
Rating: Teen (violence)
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
Publisher: Capcom (2004)
Rating: Teen (blood, suggestive themes, violence)
Publisher: Irem (2002)
Rating: Teen (violence)
In some ways I suppose this submarine shooter is a throwback to the old days. The controls are easy to grasp, and the missions are pretty straightforward. But it's also rather slow and methodical; a far cry from the "twitch" games of yesteryear. You view the action from just behind your sub, and yes, it occasionally gets in the way. The underwater effects are quite convincing, from the bubbles trailing torpedoes to how the screen gets blurry when there's too much pressure. There are plenty of targets to shoot, not to mention loads of power-ups and dozens of buried treasures to discover. The well-thought-out control scheme uses the shoulder button to control your depth and speed. Your primary weapons include lock-on torpedoes, which are a pleasure to unleash. Although most of the action takes place underwater, a few levels allow you to surface, revealing a second battlefield. The graphics are pretty average, but one awesome effect puts the game over the top. It's the innovative sonar, which superimposes wireframe shapes of targets that are hidden or off in the distance. Not only does this look terrific, but it makes it easy to locate enemies, reducing the "What am I supposed to do now?" factor. I had some fun with Sub Rebellion, and I think most shooter fans will approve of this. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Summer Heat Beach Volleyball
Publisher: Acclaim (2003)
Rating: Teen (Suggestive themes)
Super Dragon Ball Z
Publisher: Atari (2006)
Rating: Teen (cartoon violence)
Publisher: Rockstar (2000)
I bought this game for two reasons: it was cheap, and seemed like a good "summer" game. But Surfing H3O turned out to be a complete disaster. First of all, there are only two play modes: tournament and versus. The object of the each is to accumulate points by collecting floating spheres and performing tricks. I was really hoping for a training or freestyle mode so I could just surf freely, but there's nothing like that. The controls are awkward and NOT configurable, and the gameplay itself is absolutely horrendous. The learning curve is ridiculously steep, and you'll struggle just to stay on your board for a few seconds. Until you learn to control your speed, you'll get sucked into the surf every time. And trying to perform tricks is an act of futility! The control scheme is a complete joke. You only need to use the two analog sticks, but they're so unresponsive I had to keep checking to make sure my controller was plugged in! Awkward, changing camera angles don't help matters. The graphics aren't particularly good, and tend to understate the hugeness of the waves, which aren't much to look at anyway. At least the background rock music is fair. And what about the sunny, tropical environments I was looking for? Well most of the stages take place in the rain, snow, or at nighttime. Who would want to surf in the Arctic?! This game is insulting. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Suzuki TT Superbikes
Publisher: Jester Interactive (2005)
I've enjoyed my share of motorcycle racers over the years, but even with its $4.99 price tag (!), Suzuki TT Superbikes is a colossal waste. The rural European scenery doesn't offer much to look at, same for some pixilated foliage and the occasional cottage. The steering controls offer just the right degree of sensitivity, but once I started racing, I couldn't figure out why my competitors shot out way
ahead and I couldn't catch up. I soon discovered, to my horror, that the acceleration button is pressure-sensitive!
That's right folks, the harder you push, the faster you go. It doesn't take a genius to figure out this scheme will kill
your thumb over the course of a long race. And believe me, these races are long
. One lap feels like it's 1000 miles long, and then you realize you have two more to go! I checked the option menu to see if I could customize the controls, but all I found is a toggle for vibration - great. The game also seems to slow you down around turns, which is really bizarre. As an indicator of audio quality, my friend Scott complained that I had mosquitoes in the house until he realized that was just my bike engine
. The game does offer some nice crash animations. It takes a while for your guy to get up, but I guess it would take even longer in real life. All in all, Suzuki TT Superbikes is outrageously bad, ranking among the most worthless PS2 titles I've ever played. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Swashbucklers: Blue Vs. Grey
Publisher: Atari (2007)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, strong language, violence)