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Snowboard Kids

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Reviewed by Mathew M. ATLUS is new to the N64. In fact, Snowboard Kids is its first game on the N64! The kids live in a Canadian village with a small school. The main hobby there is snowboarding, considering the village itself is at the summit of a mountain. There is Slash, a kid with a Goemon hairdo that likes to brag. Nancy is quiet at times, but when she's racing, she's got attitude! Jam is the third, claiming he's in the "New York Rap Scene". That's basically the only kind of music he likes to listen to. Hip hop. Linda is indeed very rich, and also the oldest. She gets a very high allowance. According to how she dresses in the game itself, the race started just when she was about to make a morning dip in her private pool. She's rich, isn't she? Tommy is the fat boy, eats dozens of hamburgers a day and will always dress in green. They all have big noses, meaning that they are cartoon characters. I MUST be one of the few people who LIKE the big noses. Even the audience has big noses. I bet they must spend a LOT of money on sunblock!

Graphics A

The graphics are highly detailed, just like Mario 64 and Banjo- Kazooie. Also the characters are polygons, making it top Mario Kart 64. Since almost every course is very long (the exceptions are the first and last) it must take up a lot of memory. The thing that keeps this from being an "A+" is there are WAYYY too many sprites. The entire audience are 2-D, and so are the houses, the speed fans, the Pikachu dude in Dizzy-Land, the camels, the moose, etc. To make matters worse for the sprites, when you can see the "side" of the picture, it flattens, making them look like paper planted on snow or grass or whatever. The intro is cool, with the guys going down the second course and Slash hits everyone else with a freeze shot. Also, the dog on the hot air balloon that says "Ready...Go!" is an animated sprite, moving down to the center of the screen, shoots his pistol upwards, and moves out of the way. Also, some polygons are tiny and hardly noticeable, like the wayward baby penguins in the third course. The yellow and blue sparkles each character makes when they do a trick enhances the spectacularness of each trick. I think the Boysenberry Jam already rocks without the sparkles. (They also have some nice atmospherical effects like fog!)

Music and Sound A+

Oh boy, I'm REALLY gonna be flamed after this! the music, I think, is perfect the way it is. Can you think of what's wrong with it? Didn't think so. It's fast and upbeat, the kind I like. The songs range from Arabian to Tertiary to Calliope to Oldies style--all fast. Also the songs match the courses perfectly and are easy to play on the piano (except the eighth course). Because they're easy to play, I often find myself humming the seventh course's (I'm doing this so I don't reveal the course names--yet.) song. I don't understand what's so repetitive about it. Now, big noses don't have anything to do with this, but they go through walls and such. Everything moves in time with the beat in this game, so it's flawless. Besides, I bet YOU can't do a better song! If you can, then it's appropriate to give it a "D" or something.

Game Challenge A-

The learning curve is extremely steep on the first seven courses, but starts going downhill after that. They cheat twice as much as Mario Kart on Rainbow Road, but if they don't cheat, >PLUNK!< There goes the challenge. The first course is easy. It's actually quite level until the fourth, when you must have at LEAST a Level 2 board by now. The fifth one offers the same challenge as the 4th, and the 6th starts out easy but gets harder and harder as you travel the laps. The 7th is as easy as surviving a year without water in the Sahara desert. (guess what THAT sentence relates to the cause itself!) You have to rely about 98.6 (get it?) on luck--you don't get to choose your weapon but you can choose what kind. The seventh is now incredibly easy--if you know the course and watch your step. The last one is fairly hard, but that's because the guy in 1st has infinite invisibles and weapons rarely work on them. I like that challenge level. It's that hard. Also the AI goes all-out on you and apparently fires everything at you if you're in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. If you're in last, they leave lots of rock for you. They catch up to you very quickly and will continue to cheat even if they are ahead. That stinks.

Game Play-Fun A+

This is slightly better than the music in my opinion, and, like everyone else who's played it, this is the most important and best aspect of this game. It's very fun to laugh at the big noses and in the credits (go to the Game Endings and look under "S"). Also the ski lift thing has a turnstile and one--ONLY ONE--can get in at a time, and that creates a war. If you're lucky enough, you're in 4th (last) and the guy in 1st misses and crashes. The 2nd and 3rd ram into the first, making THEM trip. You sail across the three and get in 1st. The weapons were also very well thought out. Who would have thought of heavy frying pans, haunting ghosts or morphing into snowmen? It's indescribable fun. Wanna try?

Frustration

This game can be VERY frustrating at times. The best example is the 7th course. More than half the time I'm on the final straightaway in 1st, far ahead of everyone, and bam! Ghost! Bam! Freeze shot! Bam! Snowman! That almost ALWAYS happens to me there, and that's where it gets the most frustrating. However, in other places, when you choose the wrong level board, it can also get frustrating because you're not worthy enough to get 1st there. By far the most frustrating game I've ever played except maybe Knuckles Chaotix (Genesis 32x). If you're wondering, the ghosties hover around the guy in 1st and slows them down. If you're already in 1st, the guy in 2nd gets the licking. There are several random exceptions too, however.

Replayability HI

This thing has a reply value so high, it gave me my personal record in hours of a single game in a day, that's 13 hours straight! I rented this 3 times, beat it, and I really want to rent this highly ignored marvel again. Of course, in a few days I'll be playing Banjo-Kazooie. Look, this replay value thing is hard to explain, and the fact that it doesn't save makes you do it over and over again and re-earn those gobs of cash you made in the game and raises the challenge level up high. Also the game is short, keeping it away from an "X-T" for "extreme". There's also "MED", "LO", and "ATR" for "atrocious. It's an N64 game that certainly lived up to Mr. Miyamoto's standards in Mario Kart and Mr. Stamper's standards in Diddy Kong Racing.

Game Value D+

Guess what, to play Snowboard Kids whenever you want, you'll have to pay 10 bucks more than most games! However, I feel sorry for that. Why? it's because the cart itself is 15 bucks, making a $45 profit. Nintendo gets half the profit, so all they get is a lousy $27.50 profit. Heck, without Nintendo getting 50% profit they could have sold it for $42.50, cheaper than 1080, and much more fun. What a deal, what a deal, what a deal!

Course Layout A++

They planned the courses pretty well. No, that's underestimating it, it's REALLY well. I guess THAT's what keeps it so addictive. The only mistake they made was the last course is wayyy too short. ROOKIE MT. (GURUGURU MT.): Here's the only course that sticks to one, and ONLY one single route. This also is the only course that plays like 1080, lots of places to do tricks and it's short. Relax, there's only 2 jumps in this course, and the ski lift brings you to the START banner, unlike any other course. Despite it's very short, there's still a shorter course. Theme: 1080 Length: 541 m Laps: 5 BIG SNOWMAN: This is the longest course in the game, which means it's a BIG mountain. Luckily, it's got the least number of laps. That's a relief. Also here you can find double jumps--a jump right after another. This is also quite easy and I recommend that bikini girl (you know who). Theme: Fresh Snow Length: 1750 m Laps: 2 SUNSET ROCK: Obviously everything's orange here, because it's sunset. No game would be complete without penguins, which is a lethal obstacle here. There's also 2 spots with falling rocks (AKA Choco Mountain, they even bounce like them). Later you'll find one of the two sticks in the game. Hop on it, slide across it, and get off, and get 300G! Naturally the AI won't disturb you there. Then comes the rocks like you saw at the beginning--only it's on a hairpin turn! Yikes! After the big jump things get easy from there on. Theme: Sunset Length: 1706 m Laps: 3 NIGHT HIGHWAY: This course turns up the heat, forcing you to upgrade your board to either Level 2 Free Style, Level 3 All Around, or Level 3 Alpine. Its music is quite peppy here and it's quite easy to find shortcuts here. The background shows a bird's eye view of a giant city and the moon high above. Cool, isn't it? Also, the ski lift's in the city. Theme: City/Night Length: 1336 m Laps: 3 GRASS VALLEY: You've reached the halfway point in Night Highway, now prepare for a REAL challenge. This snow...err...grassboarding place will leave your head spinning. Despite what others may say, DO NOT use the "shortcuts" in this place, they're all longcuts! This place also has the slowest song, still faster than Tick Tock Clock in Mario 64. Weird. Theme: Country Length: 1490 m Laps: 3 DIZZY-LAND (DINO PARK): This is a definite spoof of the Happiest Place on Earth. The main obstacles are the rubber teacups in the teacup ride, and the menacing turns. In fact, this course loops under and over itself many times! In the scenery you'll find ticket booths, roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, waterfalls, tilt-a-whirls, coffee cups, dinosaurs, Pikachu, candy trees, the rapids, and ferris wheels. Oh, and the ski lift. Theme: Amusement Park Length: 1490 m Laps: 3 QUICKSAND VALLEY: Probably the hardest racecourse in all of video game history. You'll find three giant pyramids with much more aged scenery than Shifting Sand Land's and a Smiley Sphinx. It "bears" a resemblance to Gobi's Valley in Banjo-Kazooie, and this time the shortcuts are vital. After the Indiana Jones bridge turn right, and right after that one go right again to find another. To make matters worse, the AI uses those shortcuts too! Theme: Desert/Middle East Length: 1650 m Laps: 3 SILVER MT.: Foggy, ain't it? If you know the course well, you'll blur into 1st easily! Just know that all the even-numbered jumps are the hardest ones, and look as far ahead as possible. "As possible" refers to that this place has extremely think fog you can only see 12 feet in front of you! I think this place has the best banners. Theme: Tertiary Period Length: 1664 m Laps: 3 NINJA LAND: Get Shinoin here by coming in 1st. The course itself is nowhere near challenging, but the AI is like a year in hell. As I said, they have infinite invisibles and can turn invisible with a blink of an eye. This course is still not the shortest, but the shortest of the Battle Race. There's now 2 mondo jumps here. I'm telling you that I beat Shinobin with almost every character, so it's not ridiculously hard. Theme: Ancient Japan Length: 361 m Laps: 9 ANIMAL LAND: Just enter that super secret code to get the feather board, you'll need it here. Spend your time in the short halfpipe doing the easiest special trick until the timer goes down to 50 seconds. Then go on until you see a shallow curve, do another trick there. you'll head for the hill, so prepare for another trick. Do what the signs say when you finish. Wade across the river. Do 2 final special tricks on the shallow slope, then go to the finish via stik. If you did THAT you'll have at LEST 2000 points. (you get 10 pts. for normal tricks and 40 pts. for special tricks.) Theme: Tricks Length: 169 m Laps: 1

Overall A+

This game is a prize winner. Though pretty much ignored because of 1080, this game will be found in every Toys R' Us, Electronics Boutique, and Wal*Mart. Play it. Experience it. Feel it.

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