Can I race as Britney Spears?
Game companies seem to be aiming their sights on the extreme sports crowd these
days with a slew of new titles based on the X-Games. With the past success of
games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
success of THPS 2
, everyone is jumping on the X-Games bandwagon. Now we have a new
entry into the genre. Can you guess who it is?
The terms "Extreme sports" and "X-Games" were partially coined by your friendly
neighborhood pop-culture influence known as MTV, so it's no surprise to see
their name and logo slapped across the front of THQ's latest sports title, Pure
Ride. In fact, their logo isn't the only one to be grossly exploited in
this title. This game has so much corporate sponsorship, it should be passed
out with cans of Mountain Dew.
Seriously, there are enough ads in this game to give the Super Bowl a run for
its money. Look, we already want our MTV - next time, ease up on the billboard
All complaints about advertising aside, corporate sponsorship means that THQ had plenty of money to put together a decent game. Fortunately for us all, they did.
Pure Ride is snowboarding to the extreme. Players can rip, shred and
grind their way through tons of courses across the globe. The game includes
six modes with several variations each, plus a level editor. With this many
options, you'll be able to play Pure Ride for days without ever facing
the same challenge twice.
Tour Challenge mode consists of twelve events in a winner-takes-all trial.
Stunt mode pits you against eighteen tough challenges that will push your shredding
skills to the max. Specialist mode lets you face specific challenges such as
the Big Air, Half Pipe, or Slope Style; each consisting of twelve courses. If
you're looking to hone your skills on the mountain, this is the best place to
Stressed out by the rigors of competition? Don't sweat it. You'll find the
perfect place to chill with the Free Ride and Express Pass modes. These two
options have no scores and no time limits, making it the perfect place to shred
to your heart's delight.
The two-player game has two different options. "Time" is simply a race to
the bottom of the course and "Trick" is a competition for points. On the plus
side, the split screen style of play has little effect on the speed of the game.
But the course has become narrower, making it harder to stay on the designated
about trying something new or different, perhaps a H-O-R-S-E style event ala
The game comes packaged with a Level Editor. It's an extremely basic program
with only a few jumps, cars, rails and trees in a simple environment, so don't
expect to get too fancy with your course designs. The limited amount of resources
definitely makes this editor feel more like an add-on and the chances are awfully
good that you won't be spending much time here.
Graphically, Pure Ride shines like the North Star. The use of shadows
is really well done, as they seem to shift as you swoop across the half pipe
levels. The night levels are especially impressive and radiate with a blissful
nighttime energy. The color palettes and shadows also work really well in this
stage. Furthermore, THQ has snow texture dialed in with carve marks and moguls
looking as real as can be.
The only problem here is that the background elements pixelate severely when
you get too close. On the other hand, getting too close to the background elements
means that you aren't doing a very good job of staying on course, so stay on
the beaten path and everything will look just fine.
The control in Pure Ride takes a little getting used to. It seems like
once you start to spin, there's no stopping and sometimes landing is even more
challenging than pulling off the hardest of stunts. Have no fear, though, because
a few trips down the hill is all you need to cure yourself of this control sickness.
The MTV sponsorship means that Pure Ride must have a rockin' soundtrack.
From Incubus to American Hi-Fi, the heavy, modern music fits the
game. Choosing your tunes before each run also helps to keep repetition to a
minimum. Eardrums everywhere rejoice!
Overall, Pure Ride is pure and simple fun. The different modes and
music keep the game fresh and the graphics are solid enough to keep you interested.
Too bad the snowboard controller isn't out yet, or this would be one hell of