Since the huge success of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the Playstation, it seems that extreme sports games are becoming more of the plenty and receiving greater media attention. Many of the big publishers have already taken a bite or two into the extreme sports genre. Yet another publisher, 3DO, will be added to that list.
Not only is this 3DO's first attempt at an extreme sports game, but it's also the first skiing game to get a taste of extreme. Johnny Moseley has been chosen as the spokesperson for this game; for those of you who have never heard of him, he's an Olympic gold medallist in Freestyle Mogul run.
The main objective is to accumulate as many trick points as possible while flying down different slopes. Players can perform a multitude of tricks with the array of ramps and rails. Furthermore, icons placed in the air will multiply your total trick score if touched during the trick. There are also speedup icons that will, at times, be a necessity to clear some of the bigger gaps.
The gameplay modes include big mountain, slopestyle, free ride, and ski school. The first two aren't too different from each other in gameplay terms. Both modes have a certain number of points to obtain before completing them; reaching these point goals will unlock things such as: skiers, skis and courses. Freeride is mainly to adapt to the different courses while ski school shows you the basics of the gameplay--reminiscent to NBA Street's school mode. The gameplay can be easily picked up by SSX veterans, as both games play a lot alike. Tapping X lets you jump, while holding X in addition to a direction on the d-pad will charge up a spin (i. e. the longer you hold the direction, the faster you'll spin in that direction--just like SSX). Lastly, the triangle button lets you grind.
All the levels are a nice compliment to their real world counterparts even though they feature a touch of fantasy. The big cities are all real in the sense that they have their appropriate landmarks. Although, being able to grind the Golden Gate Bridge is more of a fantasy approach. The levels are all vast and have a nice degree of detail. On top of that, 3DO hopes to eliminate any draw-in and slide show effects that may have plagued the game earlier on in development.
This game should lighten up the eyes in the small number of ski extremists. But hopefully, Mad Trix will be able to reach out to casual fans of the sport and even "nonfans" similar to what the SSX series has done. Johnny Moseley's Mad Trix hits stores on the 26th of December. If this game delivers, enthusiasts should have the money to give it a look.
12/17/2001 Joseph Comunale