Written by  :  Pixelspeech (1006)
Written on  :  Nov 05, 2011
Platform  :  GameCube
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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I used to be so much better at this as a kiddo

The Good

The level design is very awesome and there is enough variety to keep you interested. Given, every map involves snow, but as you progress through the game you find some genuinely amazing levels and even the early ones are filled with interesting secrets to find. See, there was one moment where I jumped off a hill to perform some neat tricks, but my cousin crashed right through a nearby blockade and ended up on a rail that led him through several bonus points and served as a neat shortcut too.

Fittingly the characters you can play as are just as awesome, besides having very distinctive designs they are also pretty well characterized. I was pretty amazed when I opened their profile and not only found basic information such as their nationality and age, but also a full background story and interview to back up their personality. Each character also has his own catchphrases that fit with their personality and the voice-acting is pretty sweet too.

The music is, well, it's awesome too (damn this is getting repetitive). Next topic!

There are two different games you can do here, Showoff and Racing. In the racing mode you do just that, you have to race against other snowboarders and the one to make it to the finish line the fastest wins, as you progress through the story the opponents get faster and faster and your skills will truly be tested. Showoff however has you going through the tracks on a timer, your goal is to perform tricks to gather points and finish before the timer runs out. In this mode you also have to reach certain amounts of points in order to acquire medals which help you unlock more stuff. Judging by the title of this game, I am sure you already figured which one is put the most emphasize on.

Talking about unlocking things, there is a lot of that to be done in this game. There are quite a lot of snowboarders in this game and each and every single one of them has their own outfits and boards to unlocks as well, which you can only unlock once you have unlocked the rider itself (you only have Eddie and Elise at the start). The game and its tracks are also fun enough to replay so much that you get all of these and each rider plays different, so you are also properly rewarded for the effort.

During races you also need to keep an eye on your friendship with other characters, there is a bar that determines how characters act towards you and by cheating during a match or causing accidents this bar will start going down. If the bar is low, you can expect other characters to pull that same prank on you later. "Why would you annoy them then?" is the logical question here, the answer is that punching a rider instantly fills your "Tricky" bar which allows you to tap that for extra boost or to perform super tricks.

The game also features a very strong multiplayer mode that allows you to go toe to toe with your friends and family, this is by far the most exciting part of the game and we spend a lot of hours playing it back in the day.

The Bad

Most GameCube games had a very clever system that had you creating profiles, on these profiles the game would store all your personal progress and it always worked very well, so why the fuck doesn't SSX do it. Instead, I am not even sure how it works. I think that by doing the main events you progress through the story and all the progress is saved on the character, but I am not sure. If this is the case, then I do see what they are trying to do: by saving progress on the characters instead of on the profiles it makes sure all the players can benefit from somebodies efforts, but that is kind of a weak excuse to have such a vague system.

The controls take a lot of getting used to, remember Tony Hawk's Underground 2, remember how that game had a button assigned to each type of trick and that using the stick you would determine which precise trick within that type to do? Well here, you don't have such a thing. Instead each trick has a random button combination that is largely determined by how complex the trick is, but this makes it a huge chore to learn which combinations perform which exact trick. Especially when the game starts throwing combinations like R+L+Z to L+Z+B at you.

One of the ways you can unlock stuff is by completing chapters in the trick book, the book shows you which tricks you need to do and by simply pulling them off during an event you will be allowed to try the next one. However the game is determined the have you do all the easy tricks (simply use R for example) before you can move on to the ones that are on your level. The game is also incredibly precise when it comes to these and mixed with the annoying control scheme it turns into a bit of a mess, when airborne you have to perform the next trick AND ONLY THAT trick or else it will not count. If you make a little turn, if you accidentally land on a rail or if you do the wrong trick and then quickly do it right while still in the air, IT WILL NOT COUNT!!!

The Bottom Line

SSX is a fun game, but it requires frequent playing or else your skills will all go down the sinkhole. The level design, the music, the characters and just the richness of the experience are all very great and make the annoyances seem petty by comparison. The Trick book might be a bit of a jerk at times and the lack of a profile system will trouble some people, but as a sports game it is one of my all time favorites.

Little kids, teens and fans of the sport are probably going to get the most fun out of this title, but I do recommend playing it with friends and family as much as possible. To me, this is one of the many games that made the GameCube the great system that it is and will always be remembered as. See you next time, folks =)