Steep Slope Sliders 2 / Tricky Sliders
I know, I know. The name of the game actually isn't Steep Slope Sliders 2, so don't shoot me. :p
In fact, it should be named Steep Slope Sliders 2. If only for the simple fact that more people would have know about this game.
I mean, who would be bothered to give a game called Trick'N Snowboarder a 2nd look if he didn't know what it actually was. ;)
All right, now on with the review:
This game came as a very big surprise to me.
I've never been a fan of sports games, only a couple of these games have captivated me in the past.
Steep Slope Sliders and 1080° being two of them. These are perhaps my 2 favorite snowboard games ever.
I find it hard to pick one over the other since they are so different. The SSX games are great as well, but since the emphasis of that series lies more on tricks instead of pure racing I can't really compare it to the former two games.
Now, as said above, I've always been a big fan of Steep Slope Sliders on the Saturn.
Probably everyone who has played this game for a good amount of time will hold it in high regard. At least that's what I would think. ;)
Now after all these years I came across a little known fact that besides making Steep Slope Sliders in 1997 for the Saturn, Cave made another snowboard game in 1999, but this time for the PSone. Needless to say I was intrigued by this and wanted to try it out for myself.
It took me over a year to finally get my own copy of the game.
The game is called Tricky Sliders in Japan and Trick'N Snowboarder in the west, and it's released under the Capcom label.
My biggest surprise came when I first booted it up. It wasn't just another run of the mill snowboard game. Instead it was a direct sequel to one of my favorite ones. :D
For starters the graphics are pretty much exactly like Steep Slope Sliders, perhaps a tiny bit more detailed but that's about it.
Now this could be a point where some people might stumble over since they aren't exactly high end graphics. Just like the graphics in the original, which were a bit ropey to say the least. ;)
On the other side, the style of the game more than makes up for the technology underneath it.
I'm sure you will know what I mean by that once your racing down the Japanese track at sunset.
The polygons might flicker a bit at times and the characters might look a bit blocky, but the atmosphere is incredible.
The beauty is also in the details. A pack of tiny birds scattering of while you approach them, a dog chasing you when you pass by, etc.
One thing I do miss from the first game is the Time Progress option where time would gradually pass as you get further down the mountain.
On the other hand, the way the game plays luckily hasn't changed at all.
You still control you boarder by pressing left or right, which makes you lean left or right, helping you to make turns. But besides this, you will also have to use the shoulder L+R buttons to truly master the game.
The shoulder buttons are used to steer the board itself as opposed to the rider.
This might sound a bit odd as in other snowboard games you either control the board directly or the rider which then shifts his or her weight to change the way you're going.
People who have played Steep Slope Sliders will feel right at home though. ;)
The other buttons which are used are a Jump, Grab and Flip button for doing tricks. Spins are still done using the shoulder buttons while doing a jump.
You've got 3 play modes: Scenario, Free and
Scenario is where you join up with a group of snowboard enthusiast that arrange a yearly world tour to shoot video footage of great snowboard tricks at various locations.
Before each course your instructor describes where the trick spots are and which sort of tricks are expected from you.
You're also occasionally challenged by other boarders and the outcome of the races might affect how the rest of the Scenario plays out.
The next mode is Free Mode:
Here you have the choice of X-Treme Mode which has 6 courses and the goal is to basically get down to the finish as quickly as you can while also trying to get as many points as possible by performing tricks along the way.
The next one is Alpine Mode:
Here you have 1 course but with 4 difficulty levels.
The goal is to get to the finish line as quick as possible while passing the flags that are placed all over the course on the appropriate side.
There is also a Halfpipe Mode with 2 pipe tracks and a Big Jump where you fly down a huge ramp and try to get as much air as possible to be able to do some big trick combos.
The last one is Snowboard Park, which is created especially to hone the various skills you will need to tackle all the other tracks like a pro.
Besides these modes there is also a Replay Edit option, so you can save your replays and edit them to show off your best runs.
Character Edit is also in there which lets you personalize your boarder along with his or her board.
Just like in the first game there are a couple of wacky things hidden away in this game. I haven't been able to find an alien, UFO or dog to race with this time. :D
But there a couple of other things hidden which I found just as funny.
Since Capcom published the game, Cave had access to some of their IP's. So you can race as a couple of Resident Evil Characters, namely Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield or a Zombie cop with rusty/bloody snowboard and all. :)
You can catch a glimpse of Claire if you look at the pics on the right.
The way you do this is by pressing the following button combination on the Title Screen:
And then pressing either L2 or R2 on the Character Selection screen.
The other hidden features are 2 extra courses. Namely a Golf Course and South Pole.
To get these you should finish Scenario Mode.
Then go to X-Treme in Free Mode and press L1 while your on the New Zealand or Russia course.
At the end of the day this game will probably
not be for everyone.
People who have grown up on SSX games have a good chance of being disappointed with Tricky Sliders.
On the other side, people who love the original Steep Slope Sliders will love this game from the word GO. :)
Andy De Wilde