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Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder. Playstation 2
Being a big fan of snowboarding, I have purchased and played many snowboarding games, one of the most enjoyable ones for me is Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder on the Playstation 2.
Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder comes in a normal Playstation 2 box, the size of a DVD case, contained inside the box is a game disc along with an instruction manual for the game. The game instruction manual is written in English and is clear and simple to follow.
Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder is based in the settings of real mountains and each slope that you will play on will have its own set of goals you will need to complete to finish the level. Goals can include things like collecting icons, doing certain tricks and snowboarding through arches. Other parts of the level can involve you riding a snowmobile instead of your snowboard, I particularly like this for if I mess up doing one of the goals as I can swap to the snowmobile and go back to the top and try again.
At the bottom of the mountain you can either snowboard right to the end which will end your turn on the mountain and show you a summary of your performance, or you can veer towards the ski lift which will transport you to the top of the mountain to have another run down. As far as I am aware there are no limits to how often you can go back to the top, I have done this numerous times and so far I have never reached any limits. There is also a very handy ski lift about halfway down the mountain which will also transport you back to the top of the mountain, I find this handy if I am trying to do one of the goals that starts near the top as it means if I go wrong I don't have to wait until I get to the bottom to try again.
Performing the tricks in Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder is relatively easy and mainly a case of combining button pressing with the direction you wish to move on the D pad. Having played quite a few snowboarding and skateboarding games before I played Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder I found the controls for pulling off tricks and grinds on the rails pretty easy to pick up. They do vary slightly in the fact that the L and R buttons on the top of the Playstation 2 controller are hardly used and the first few times I played I did find myself trying to do tricks in the same way as on games such as Cool Boarders. In general the controls of the game are easy, even if you haven't played a snowboarding game in the past I think these controls would be pretty simple to pick up.
The game play and graphics are really smooth and the sound effects of the board on the snow are actually really realistic, almost like the real thing. The animations of the boarders are really good and like in a lot of games I play I love the fact that you can play with your boarder and customise him or her. You can also customise and design your own board, which usually takes me more time than playing the actual game as I enjoy it so much.
While you are snowboarding down the mountain you will have a soundtrack featuring songs from artists such as Papa Roach and Alien Ant Farm. Personally I enjoy this music so I don't mind it playing while I play the game, however there is an option to adjust the music volume and you can also choose a particular song off the soundtrack if you prefer.
** Price and Availability **
Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder is available on play.com for around £1.50 pre-owned, which is a complete bargain!
** My Experience and Opinion **
I love my snowboarding and I love my snowboarding games, I find playing Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder to be great fun and it makes me want to strap my feet onto a snowboard and get on a mountain myself. I think this is a really enjoyable game, a must have for any snowboarder but also great fun for any non-snowboarder too.
Thanks for reading :)
Shaun Palmer! No, please don?t get out of your seat and run around in a fit of hysterics, I want you to read my review. And yes, I am reviewing a game that most people wouldn?t touch with a 10ft barge pole. Oh how wrong they are! I will start by acknowledging the bad publicity that this game got. Although the little red box on the front of the case clearly states that in PSW Shaun Palmer got an 8/10 and was described as ?Highly Addictive?, this wasn?t the case in most magazines. Official Playstation 2 Magazine gave this game 6/10 and insulted the game, saying the controls are sluggish. Then they said it was like Tony Hawks on snow, shouldn?t that be a compliment? Next the special edition of Official Playstation 2 magazine (different to the normal one) simply said ?SSX Tricky is better? this prevented me from buying the special editions ever again. In my opinion SSX Tricky is in a completely different league to Shaun Palmers Pro snowboarder. They might as well have said: MGS2 is much better. Stating the obvious. Anywhoo, back to the actual game. I was first temped to buy this game in the January sales, when I walked into my local EB and saw this game with a sticker on it saying £30. I had money burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to splash out. When I had finished rushing home, I shoved the game into my PS2?s DVD tray, and was pleasantly surprised. There are 8 levels to the game. Donner Ski Ranch, Aspen, Kirkwood, Heavenly, Snowbird, Squaw Valley USA, Mt. Hood Meadows and Gotcha Glacier. I?m not sure whether any of these levels are based on real-world ski slopes, but it doesn?t make any difference to these beautifully put together levels. Everything jump flows nicely into another jump or rail to continue your trick, and the snowboarder actually looks and moves realistically (unlike some snowboarding games I have previously tried on the PS1). You can use a selection of 10 different snowboarders consisting o
f: Shaun Palmer, Tommy Czeschin, Jimmy Halopoff, Shaun White, Leslee Olson, Drew Neilson, Ross Powers, Lara Dakides, Ingemar Backman and Markus Hurme. All of which mean nothing to me, as I don?t take any interest in the non-gaming version of snowboarding. I prefer my snowboarding in front of a nice warm fire, and only having to move my fingers, the lazy gamer that I am. The game works in the same way as Tony Hawks. Pick the person you want, pick the board, then create a career. On each level you will be given a series of tasks to do in order to progress. These tasks consist of finding certain objects within the time limit, performing certain tricks, and finishing the level before an amount of time has elapsed. Pretty simple really! Shaun Palmer has one of the best two player game ideas I?ve ever tried. The object of the game is to perform as many tricks as possible. As your score increases, the available space on your opponents screen will decrease, thus making it much more difficult for them. The winner of the game is the person who pushes the other player completely off the screen. Anyway back to my point about SSX Tricky, and how it is completely different. As you may have already noticed, SSX Tricky isn?t exactly famous for being realistic (it concentrates more on being really fun, rather than a sim). Whereas Shaun Palmer ? well I guess you could call it the flight simulator of snow boarding games ? it concentrates on being realistic. As a result, this game is slightly less addictive, however I do come back to this game about once a week, and it still is fun. In conclusion, this game is great! People who really want a fun game will maybe not like it as much as SSX, but I certainly like it. If you are considering buying this game, I would recommend you rent it first. I suppose I will rate this game as 7/10. Mainly because, the game is fun, but could be a litlle bit better if they had concentrated a more on making
it less realistic and more fun.
Need to feel the wind in your hair? Desperate to get out on the slopes and grab some air time? Want to show the world just how damned good you are on a Snowboard? Well, then you’re going to need one of two things. An airline ticket to Switzerland along with a load of Snowboarding gear or a copy of Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder from Activision. It’s another title from Activision’s O2 range which concentrates on the more radical side of life such as BMX, Skateboarding, Surfing and Snowboarding. It’s a brand to fit alongside the MTV/Extreme Sports generation and it’s doing a good job too. Shaun Palmer is a legend on the Snow and he can back it up with awards too. How does winning the X-Games six times sound? Yes, it’s a pretty impressive achievement indeed and Activision obviously thought so too hence he now has his own game. Alongside Mr.Palmer you can select a further nine other top names from the Snowboarding world although they may not mean anything too you if you’re not a fan of the sport. Tara Dakides, Markus Hurme and Ross Powers are a few of them. In any case though there is plenty of choice with real life locations such as Kirkwood, Donner Ski Ranch and Aspen and although I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit any of them they do look rather enticing. The low-down: Shaun Palmer is the complete snowboarding experience on one shiny DVD. Go solo with your chosen boarder and tackle those courses whilst completing tasks (discussed further below) or go head-to-head with a friend to indulge in the plethora of multiplayer options. It’s one of those games that has an ongoing level of lastability that should see you coming back for more weeks or even months after purchase.Sadly it doesn’t feature the much awaited online element as in Tony Hawk’s 3 but we’ll live without it for now. In the meantime,let’s see how it performs under the microscope.
Graphics: A good looker indeed. Gone are the more cartoony SSX graphics and they’re replaced with a more realistic looking engine. If you remember 1080 Snowboarding on the N64 then you’ll get a rough idea of how Shaun Palmer looks – a visually more polished version of Nintendo’s masterpiece. Courses are positively full of obstacles and features whilst the boarders all have a reasonably individual appearance. There are a few eye-candy moments thrown in for good measure too and on the whole it’s a good-looking title that doesn’t quite achieve the ‘ooh’ factor. Sound: As with THPS3 there is a fully licensed soundtrack to enjoy featuring some well-known artists although nothing that stands out excessively. It’s typical extreme sports stuff though and fits in well with the game. Other than that you’ve got the usual aural treats and it all sounds convincing enough. As your board edges through the snow you get that strained grinding sound and when you pile into the snow after a failed move you can really hear then pain of your boarder. Poor fella. Gameplay: The handling and ability to perform tricks is not quite as simple as found in SSX. Executing anything other than a simple grind or board grab is not going to be easy. If you’ve played Tony Hawk’s 3 then the control method is going to be more simple to learn as they’re basically identical but the tricks in Shaun Palmer are not as easy to pull off. Saying that though the structure of the levels is also similar to THPS3 which is great to see. Not only do you have to get from A to B, you also have to complete tasks along the way to unlock those additional levels. Collect tokens, perform specific tricks (sometimes on specific objects), show off to the cameras or simply get to the finish line within a set time limit. All very simple on paper but you’ll find that some of the objectives are seriously diffic
ult to complete. You will only need to complete a few to access the next course but it can take some time so be patient. You’ll really need to explore the courses to complete all of the tasks but that’s actually a positive thing as it encourages you to get all over the track. Several Multiplayer modes make a welcome return too and they add some highly appreciated life to the game. There are several game modes to choose from (again, many of which can be found in THPS3) but one in particular is the ‘push’ mode. Here you can race against a friend and whoever is winning/scoring the most points gets the most screen! If you’re winning you’ll find that you’ve got 75% of the screen and your ‘loser’ friend is squinting at the other 25%. A great feature and lots of fun too – now you can show them who’s boss. Overall: On the whole Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder is a good game. It certainly isn’t on the same level as SSX Tricky but they are technically very different games. Where SSX Tricky goes for a more cartoony approach, SPPS favours a more serious approach but both work happily alongside each other. Fans of Extreme Sports may well prefer the more ‘real life’ side of Shaun Palmer for an authentic experience. Good but not great. 7/10 but 4 Stars MR.COATES