Making a molehill out of a mountain.
When I was about 8 years old, my mom put me on a soccer team. Unfortunately, she put me on the 9 year-olds' team, because I was on the cusp and she probably figured I'd learn something from the older kids. The result was that everybody was bigger and stronger than me, knew each other a year longer and had that much more training than me, as I had never kicked a soccer ball in my life.
For this reason I can almost sympathize with Konami's Whiteout for the PS2. It is an ill-conceived game placed in an arena full of power-players like SSX Tricky and Freekstyle. Underdeveloped by Vicarious Visions, Whiteout's inadequacies are accentuated by the fact that it tries so hard to bite the styles of EA Big's bad ass games, particularly Freekstyle. Thus, not only does Whiteout lack the power or creativity behind it to realistically compete, but it has no identity of its own. This game is a flawed clone.
And what's with the name? Whoever named this game Whiteout (which is also the name of the world's most famous correction fluid) had a sick sense of masochistic humor. No wonder Vicarious Visions' logo isn't to be found on the box, but only in the very back of the instruction booklet, because only a sucker would want to own up to releasing this stinker.
A snowmobile racer at heart, Whiteout's basic play mechanics are solid, at least. You press accelerate, you go. You press turn, you turn. So far, so good. You go over a hill, and your guy even sort of jumps, and, while in the air, you can do tricks! And then you crash, because the hill was too small and you were ballsy enough to try and execute a Can-Can. The main problem with the gameplay is that there isn't anything particularly snowmobile-ish to it. The secondary problem with the gameplay is that there isn't anything unique to it at all.
For example: tricks and turbo. In Freekstyle, the two were related, creating a fascinating play dynamic that led to a Freekout, which could be strategically timed to simply kick ass on a course. The idea was great, but there is nothing like that here. You just race and trick and crash and burn.
There are four game modes: Career, Arcade, Time-trial and 2-player. Thrilling. In Career mode, you race for cash against other players. More cash buys better 'mobiles, 'better' being a very subjective word. Turbo boosts and cash bonuses are scattered throughout the courses, giving the game a more arcadey look than those games it attempts to emulate.
Arcade mode is a little more interesting in that you have to meet certain objectives to advance, like jumping a ditch or getting a certain trick score. What's so cool about having these requirements separate from Career mode is that you don't have to deal with them if you want to just race.
Graphically, Whiteout is mediocre. The game's name (other than admitting that this game is a mistake and needs to be erased) is apparently based on the plethora of snow storms which nearly white-out the screen. They don't look half-bad, though they don't do the framerate any favors. The character animations are plain, the crashes are plain, and the flaming hoops you jump through are straight out of Freekstyle.
Aurally, the game features two announcers who repeat themselves constantly, a 'hardcore' soundtrack, and annoying buzzing sounds meant to invoke the whine of a snowmobile's motor. The worst feature here is undoubtedly the soundtrack, yet strangely the most fitting. For example, in better games it's a shame to be rocking out to such crappy music, whereas here...I dunno, it almost works.
Whiteout is a classic example of an underachieving video game. It is not unique or special in any way, shamelessly biting the style of other, more polished titles. Erasing this game from your memory is probably a good idea.