Radical stunt dude!
Cool Boarders is a hip, head-banging, racing and stunt simulator from Sony. Snow boarding (if you have been trapped in a cave for the last five years) is a popular new sport where you ‘ski’ down a mountain on a single wide ski, a bit like surfing on snow. This snow boarding game is a blast for a while, but it just doesn’t have enough longevity to really make the snow fly.
The graphics are top of the line. The polygonal characters really shine, with their ultra fluid movement and seemingly thousands of frames of animation. The characters have extremely smooth edges – there are no blocky polygons here. When you start shredding up the tracks, you’ll also notice the beautiful scenery. The mountains, trees, and various other objects that are placed throughout the courses look crisp and beautiful. The only problem is that there are only three courses to start with, and only two more after you complete the first three. Five courses just isn’t enough.
When you first start your game, you get to choose between a male or female character. Next up, pick your threads. You can choose between four different outfits ranging from beanie and a jacket to a T-shirt and blue jeans. These options don’t really make any difference, but they’re a nice addition. The most important decision is that of your snowboard. There are three different types, all with different attributes. If you want to go slow, stay stable, and be able to turn easily, choose a freestyle board. If you want speed, you’ll have to settle with bad turns and little stability – an alpine board does just this. One more option left, the color of the board. It has no real use, but hey, it’s the detail that counts.
The best part of the game is the tricks. There is such a variety of things you can pull off that you’ll be making up your own tricks right off the bat. As soon as a cliff comes up, hold down the jump button to get some real air! Pull off a 360 while grabbing on the back of the board for some major points. You can also do back flips, but be sure not to land on your head! Get some real speed and try doing a 1440. You can combine all kinds of tricks together making this the most appealing aspect of the game.
There are two different views in the game, first and third person. The third person view is simple to control and shows you the tricks that you are doing. The first person view makes it hard to tell what you are doing, but the intense speed and the way the world moves around makes it OH so realistic. As you do a back flip in first person, you lose complete orientation and balance. You’re looking straight up, flying high, with no real way of knowing if you’ll land on your board or on your face. This feeling of realism is really fun and makes doing the tricks a blast.
The sound of your board cutting the snow is one of the most realistic sounds in a video game. The other sounds are great, aside from another of those all too famous repetitive announcers. Hearing “weak” every time you crash isn’t as fun as the developers must have thought. Eight head-bangin’ tunes are also here for your listening pleasure. The music isn’t spectacular, but it isn’t bad.
Most of the physics in the game make sense. The jumps and effects of turning your board realistically move your character. But when you hit a wall or a rock or anything you normally couldn’t go through, you bounce off of it like a Ping-Pong ball. Being able to go off-road would have been much more fun.
If you are a shredder, or just wish you were, Cool Boarders is a snow flinging good time.