"Warning: Lousy Slogans Will Cause Nausea. Read With Caution"
When I first picked up Trick Style, I noticed that on the back, next
to some juicy looking screenshots, was the slogan "Got the skills to get ill?"
Little did they know, a wave of sickness washed over me. I imagined a room full
of marketing executives in suits and ties, reading through a slang dictionary.
"Trust me Mr. Tate, all the hip kids love this new lingo."
devoted soul that I am, I read on, "Carve it up all over futuristic Manhattan,
London and Tokyo." Choking back the bile that I could feel trying to race up my
throat, I popped a refreshing mint in my mouth and continued my ordeal. Sadly,
I happened upon the ultimate sin, "Speed is cool but sick tricks rule!" Ill? Sick?
The mint, valiant though it was, was not nearly enough. I spewed up chocolate
cheery brown and egg-yolk yellow. We had to call the cleaners. Acclaim would be
well advised to do the same.
Trick Style is a new hoverboard racing game and the first Dreamcast
to PC port in history. It could be, if it worked, a light and entertaining racing
game that wows with flashy graphics and amusing stunts. That is, like I said,
if it worked.
You fire up Trick Style, negotiate its simple console based interface,
select a racer, grab a hoverboard (think Back to the Future part 2, but
with colorful streaks like in Akira), and then you begin to race around
in something called the Velodrome (what the hell is it with 'dromes' anyway?).
This is an arena from which you can select a race or compete in challenges to
gain access to more flagrant stunts.
Once you learn the basic controls, master the basic stunts, and get a feel
for things, you might very well try out a race. You and five other racers compete
over medium-length, linear (non-looped) tracks located in future versions of London,
Manhattan, and a flying Tokyo.
By now, you will have definitely noticed the slick graphics. Using an updated
version of the Renderware engine used in Redline
Racer, Criterion Studios, developer of both games, has created a very slick
graphical package. The textures are sharp and clean, not exhibiting any of the
blurryness common to N64 or Playstation ports (Dreamcast is good for something
you know). Colored lighting is well implemented, character design is varied, track
design is typically cool, and the special effects, such as the color trails left
by your Hoverboard, Homeworld-style, are
nice enough to look at. Still, you can't help but think that a game intended to
put to good use the power of the Dreamcast could do far better.
also a pleasant matter: your racer responds quickly, and you should have no problem
pulling off some cool maneuvers in no time. The game spends a good deal of time
forcing you to exploit environments like half pipes to really get a hang of the
more advanced maneuverability. There are four basic stunt buttons (Ollie, SpeedLuge,
Spin, and Drill), and these effects may be strung together to pull off more impressive
stunt combos. There is also a stall control for extending the duration of some
stunts, and a tight turn control for pulling all those tricky 90-degree angle
It should be noted though, that the game is winnable even without using any
stunts. You typically only have to learn stunts to get future stunts, which are
cool to look at but will and up slamming you into a wall more often than giving
you the advantage.
Playing Trick Style can be reasonably, though not extravagantly entertaining,
(it being basically a gimmicky racing game, nothing too new). But it would be
more entertaining if you could play without the game crashing, which sort of shoots
the whole thing in the foot, causing it to fall down a flight of stairs, out onto
the street, where it is run over by conventional cars which do not float above
Trick Style suffers from complete system freeze, hard-restart crashes.
This happens more frequently with certain 3D cards, although there is a patch
now that makes it run better. This makes the game a great exercise in frustration,
especially when it crashes just as you are about to finish in 1st place, which
is Trick Style's one and only victory condition, no Bronze or Silver medals
here. Beyond that, there are some 'loading' times where your screen goes black
and the computer does nothing for about 2 minutes. I'd guess it's probably just
mentally preparing itself for the eventual forced restart.
Want to race online? No way. The only multiplayer supported is a split screen
view that seems even more crash prone than the regular game.
Add that to the lackluster sound (except for the voices of the racially stereotyped
characters, which are downright aggravating), and you end up with a average, unimpressive,
at times frustrating game that needs a more serious patch than the one currently
available. The flashy graphics just aren't enough to satisfy, and the tricks are
nice, but unnecessary. Don't bother with this one until it works better, and the
irate Asian racer no longer passes you while saying, with full chop-suey accentuation,
"sooo suuu meeee!" It's almost as nauseating as the slogans on the box.