Now premiering: PlayStation 2 games

Friday, October 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

By Victor Godinez / The Dallas Morning News

VICTOR GODINEZ Hit the slopes

Maker: Electronic Arts
Rating: *** 1/2
System: Sony PlayStation 2
Suggested price: $50
Number of players: Up to 2

Electronic Arts is clearly staking an early claim to the title of Best Developer for PlayStation 2, and it starts with the wild action offered by snowboarding extravaganza SSX.

This is the most vertigo-inducing snowboarding title you've seen. Featuring breathtaking graphics, sound and control, SSX belongs on your short list of must-have PlayStation 2 games.

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There are several modes you can select, including Free Ride, Single Event and World Circuit mode. You can race against six other boarders, compete in trick competitions or just zoom off on your own to test yourself against the seven tracks.

There is also an invaluable tutorial that walks you through the various aspects of controlling your board and pulling off the most extreme tricks.

Out in competition, the races are surprisingly cutthroat. The other racers will cut you off, shove you aside and even tackle you right as you're preparing to jump. Needless to say, your revenge is sweet.

The courses are huge and exquisitely drawn. Slopes, trees, spectators and the courses are detailed, although that's hard to tell while you're pulling off a double back flip 100 feet above the ground.

The controls quickly become second nature, and every time you play, you'll uncover new stunts, which in turn unlock new characters, boards and tracks. Rocketing down mountainsides or other snow-covered terrain, you can execute dazzling jumps and tricks with just a little practice.

The music is techno-funk, perfectly suited to the Generation X atmosphere, but it never becomes overly intrusive or repetitive.

SSX is astounding. Gamers of any stripe should love this game, but for those with a real passion for snowboarding or even skateboarding, SSX will keep you happy for a long, long time.

Suitable for all ages.

Victor Godinez is a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News.