Friday, 1 June 2007

Steep Slope Sliders Review (by Nebachadnezzar!)


This rather excellent review was not written by me, but by the great Nebachadnezzar. At the tender age of 18, he already possesses the gaming wisdom of a Saturn Guru! Residing in Portugal where he writes for this esteemed blog, he is about to increase the Saturn Junkyard's international flavour, as he's agreed to join the team and post reviews when his studies and other blogging/gaming duties allow the time... So welcome Nebachadnezzar!



Although I have had this game for quite some time now, I’d never really paid attention to it until recently, for I had just tried it to be sure it worked and then thrown it right back into the box. But that all changed some days ago when I decided to give it a chance, and this little hidden gem turned out to be one pretty cool game, so good that I even decided to review it!


So here it goes, ladies and gentlemen’s, prepare for my premiere review here in the ‘Yard of: Steep Slope Sliders!

When you start the game you immediately notice two things. One is the crazy background, that fits right in with the soundtrack (more on that later), and the other is the scarcity of options. Forget the tons of playing modes that other titles have to offer, here you just have to choose between an “options” menu and a pretty self-explanatory “start game”.




Once you choose to start the game you can select the track (from a total of 7) and the character (you start with just 4 to choose from), and then you just have to ride the snow with no real objectives to achieve. Whether you decide to make the fastest course time or score the most points through tricks, it’s up to you to create your own goals, although the layout of certain tracks really speak for themselves. For example, straightforward tracks, with no big jumps, are ideal for time record breaking sessions, but the half-pipe is really asking for you to bust out massive combos.

The gameplay is pretty simple, with no complicated controls to learn. The A button makes you jump, B is for grabbing the board and with C you do backflips. Also you can use the shoulder buttons to turn your board, very useful when you land with the board facing the walls on the side of the track instead of pointing to the goal line. Like in any other game of the same genre, in SSS you have to combine these simple movements to score big combos, something not that difficult thanks to the responsive controls that let you bust out a "360 switch-stance back-flip stiffy" ( Crikey! FK ;) without working up a sweat.



By now you’re all probably thinking that this game is rather simplistic, with few tracks, characters and game modes, but the real cool thing about this title is the amount of extra stuff you can unlock. From crazy extra characters and tracks to an obscure little mini-game, it’s all there. You’re likely to find one of these unlockable goodies for the first time when you accidentally beat a time record or achieve a high score in a certain track, and then the addiction is installed and you just can’t stop until you’ve sucked all the secrets this game has hidden.

There are a total of 12 (!) extra snowboarders, starting with the 4 that you unlock by beating time records and high scores and another 8 that need a little trick in order to play with them. If the “regular” snowboarders aren’t anything beside the usual stereotypes and a “not so common” alien, these 8 extra characters are anything but common. Here you can expect anything, from UFO’s to dogs riding snowboards, from a little spaceship that kind of reminds me of those present in the F-Zero series to a “pixel man” (you’ll know when you see him). Imagination was definitely running low in the development team’s veins at this point!

The 4 extra courses aren’t less original, with a track made of asteroids right in the middle of outer space or a space colony that resembles the cool chase/fight scene in the Death Star (Star Wars anyone?).





These crazy scenarios really help the game demonstrate its pretty good graphics engine, capable of rendering detailed characters and scenarios without the loss of framerate, so you can expect a pretty good presentation (by that time’s standards) with a fluid gameplay (and little pop-up, which is always nice).

But where the technical level really shines is in the audio, with an amazing techno soundtrack that really tries to capture the essence of the snowboard culture. With something like 20 tracks, there’s always something new to hear every time you want to race down that hill while listening to some psychedelic tunes. (For more about this look here - FK)




Unfortunately this game isn’t perfect. The lack of a championship-style mode and a simple head-to-head mode against CPU controlled racers, or even better, another player, really compromises the longevity, and once everything is unlocked there’s no real motivation to play other then racing trough a circuit once in a while.

So what’s the verdict, then? Well, even if the game isn’t that long, while it lasts it is a really fun game to play, so if you’re a fan of snowboard games you should definitely grab this one. And even if you’re not really into the genre, you should at least try in case you have the chance, for you might like it. I know I do!



10 comments:

fatherkrishna said...

Absolutely brilliant review! I will be purchasing this very game tomorrow! In a weird bout of synchronicity, I was actually looking at this game in Chips, (where it resided for the meagre price of £3)while Nebachadnezzar was posting and emailing me this very review!

Since the Segata Sanshiro Cult has re-formed, there's been some weird cosmic shit goin' on! ;)

The Elderly said...

quite excellent review, and congratulations on such a worthy addition to the Saturn Junkyard.. no doubt the Saturn Renaissance begins here...

(readjusts wig....)

fatherkrishna said...

It is an excellent addition!

BTW Your wig looks good... But I'll endeavour to knit you a gold one... It would suit your golden pallour much better...

NebachadnezzaR said...

Thanks you all for such kind words.

Being able to contribute to one of my favorite blogs really means something to me, and i hope i'll live up to the expectations.

As I told Father K, i can't write much often, but who knows, maybe you'll see another review in the near future... ;)

Until then i'll be around, commenting other people's posts and supporting this most excellent blog.

The Elderly said...

A gold wig... but they're reserved for temple priests.... you mean... no I am not worthy.....

Looking forward to seeing more you mebachadnezzar.. FK how come nebachadnezzar isn't wearing the costume? dont' tell me he hasn't been initiated yet?

fatherkrishna said...

Cripes! I've been making an outfit in the colours of the Portugese flag... if you're part of the SJY team, you're a member of the Segata Sanshiro cult! It's a requirement of the job...

gnome said...

Welcome aboard Nebachadnezzar! That was quite an excellent review and quite an interesting game too...

Excellent recruitment Father! You didn't get the boy drunk in order to sign for the 'yard, did you?

fatherkrishna said...

I have my means!

gnome said...

tsk, tsk

The Elderly said...

kst kst....