Many of you may be familiar with Coolboarders for the PSX from some years ago. Well, SSX Tricky for the Xbox would have to be a combination of Coolboarders–amazing graphics, player taunts–and a big ol’ bucket of speed. From the moment I popped the game into my Xbox I was hooked. The graphics, sound, general gameplay, and especially the large courses, all contribute to this insanely fast paced snowboarding game.
The most attractive part of SSX Tricky would have to be the graphics. From the intro movie alone I knew that SSX Tricky had taken advantage of Xbox’s graphic capabilities and made this game very easy on the eyes. Along with the game intro you also have course intros, which give you information about each of the courses and show you a preview of them, too. After you have gotten over how nice these movies are, you can sit down and appreciate the graphics through the gameplay. There isn’t any one specific aspect of the gameplay that can be given all the credit, it is a combination of many things. Not only is the player, and his or her snowboard, very nicely done, but you also have the incredible fireworks exploding all around you, and especially the course scenery. But all of these we will delve into further after we address the music and sound effects.
When I watched the intro movie and heard the famous phrase “It’s tricky!” I knew this game was going to have a good soundtrack. Sometimes, when you play other games you often notice how monotonous the music becomes and wish you could change it. That is not the case with SSX Tricky. The soundtrack, though limited to just 3 songs, is very up-beat and even helps you play faster and better. The use of “It’s tricky!” is great because sometimes you might just do tricks in order to hear that. Music alone could not satisfy anyone’s ears, though, and that is where the sound effects come into play. Between the player’s flaming each other during the game, and the moans-and-groans when they crash, I’m not sure if I have laughed as hard before. Speaking of the crash sound effects, the physical crashing sound is almost so life-like that I wince everytime I see my player fall. Another sound factor, which pulls you into the game, is when you pass by the bleachers filled with crowds chanting “Go-go-go-go-go…” All these together create a very good listening experience.
The gameplay of SSX Tricky is split into two sections: Race and Showoff. Race is just as it sounds, you race against other players. One of the best parts of this is knocking down opposing players to increase your boost speed. Although the aftermath could be bad since this will increase the players’ anger towards you, I do it since I still have yet to figure out how to make them my friends. The in-game taunts, as I mentioned, are very funny. You never know when to expect them, so when you do hear one it is almost treated as a gift. Snagging powerups like Speed and Trick-Boost is fun, too, since the computer players will try to get them before you. The one drawback I have found during Race mode is that when you build up your boost and hit Tricky if there are many of the other players riding near you the “It’s tricky!” sound effect can often be slowed down. I suspect this is because of the rendering of other players, but this does not happen often anyways.
Showoff mode is a completely different story. Without any of the computer players you are left alone to a course full of rails and multipliers. This is just setting you up to have insane amounts of fun. Also you can learn shortcuts and different ways to beat opponents on these insane courses. Showoff is where you can take great advantage of Uber Tricks without worrying about being in first place. Uber Tricks are, how should I put this…freaking incredible. It almost seems impossible to do what these characters do for their tricks, but the game’s DVD content tells you more about this.
When playing both modes of play, you can earn player costumes, snowboards and, most importantly, player ranking. It is a good challenge to try to earn each and every one of these for all the available characters. As far as the costumes go, every player has an insane metallic outfit and board. To give you the lowdown on it–when your player is snowboarding along, whatever he/she passes is reflected on your outfit and board. Very cool!
Well, my final verdict would have to be that SSX Tricky is very addictive and probably gives snowboarders something to do during their off-season. Although the controls may be somewhat difficult to learn, players will soon get the swing of things and thoroughly enjoy the game. The most addictive part of SSX Tricky lies in the challenge to unlock every character’s clothes and boards, or to obtain a gold ranking in every possible event. If you like snowboarding, even the tiniest amount, you will have immense amounts of fun with SSX Tricky.