1080 Avalanche Reader Review
I loved 1080 Snowboarding on the N64. The fantastic graphics, merged with one of the sweetest control systems ever devised, made for a brilliant gaming experience. I played it till it was totally finished, and even went back to it recently and finished it again. The only thing it lacked, in my opinion, was a few more courses. Oh, and it was difficult to land properly after a jump - that used to irk me! It was with quite a lot of anticipation that I unwrapped my game today and slid the little disc in to the Cube. This is what I found...
Graphics - superb. Everything is stunningly animated, and the view distance is huge. I haven't noticed any slowdown, apart from when I hit a huge bank of powder, but that's my fault, not the game's. The snow looks excellent, and the good look and feel of deep powder has been retained from the original. There always seems to be something else going on around you. There are people skiing around that you need to avoid, and these guys look really good. You're hurtling down the mountainside when suddenly you're weaving your way through antelope (I think) as they dance their way up the mountainside. When you get involved in your first avalanche, which is actually quite minor really, it still is enough to set your heart pounding and is dead impressive. Racing through a collapsing barn while snow bursts in all around you is just ace. The graphic designers have very much kept to the "feel" of 1080, and this is no bad thing at all.
Track design. Easily one of the best features of the original, we really are treated to some smashing tracks in this new instalment of the series. Multiple routes that are actually useful are the order of the day. As usual, a well-timed jump gets you into the best shortcuts. The tracks are always changing, and are always interesting. You always seem to spot something on the way down that makes you think, "Hmmm, must try going down there next time!" The programmers have not been lazy in designing the tracks, and I've yet to see one I don't like.
Sound. I hate dance music, but then I'm old (31). No, what I really love is loud, screechy guitars and banging rawk tunes. Luckily for me, that's just what I get in 1080: Avalanche. And lots of it too! You get to pick the track you want to hear as each level loads. Cauterize are in there, and you can watch one of their videos from the options menu, which is a very nice touch. It really is excellent music to listen to while thundering down the mountainside.
Controls. This is the part I was hoping would be up to scratch and I wasn't disappointed. The game very much feels like its predecessor. Yes, there is a nod to a more arcade style of handling, but, believe me, it's not that far removed. You always feel very much in control and the analogue stick works wonderfully. You can now actually land from a jump without busting your spleen, and I know that's going to delight you trick artists who would cuss when 1080 Snowboarding unceremoniously dumped you after a massive combo, spilling your points in the snow. Grinding is also a lot easier. In a great twist, if you do land badly and don't actually fall, you will lose your balance. A dial will then appear on screen and you must quickly rotate the stick in the displayed direction if you want to stay on your feet. This really works well and is another touch of Nintendo genius. No doubt there will be those who say the control isn't quite as pure as it once was. I disagree; I think they've tightened it up very nicely.
I hoped this game would be good. I was wrong; it's fantastic. I don't like SSX, or for that matter, any of the other snowboarding games out there. I've always been a 1080 fan and am delighted to say that isn't about to change with Avalanche. If you loved the original, you ought to love this. It's more, more, more all the way. If you didn't like the original, give it a go, you may find the friendlier controls to your liking.
9 / 10