As I said in the Saturn feature this game is going head to head with Sony's Coolboarders 2 but unfortunately I haven't had the chance to play the latter. But this game is a brilliant racer that kicks the crap out of Cool Boarders 1. Everything it had had SSS really improves on it but it should since Cool Boarders is 1 year old now.
The graphics are very good with no pop up whatsoever. Those guys at JVC obviously realised that Travellers Tales had a good thing going with the misting affect used in Sonic R. The affect also hides any glitching that might be shown as well. Some of the scenery is just so good it's almost breathtaking! SSS also takes advantage of the Saturn's internal clock so when you play at night, it'll be a lot darker in the game. Play at about 6-7 and you'll see the sun rising on some of the courses! The only bad thing about the graphics is that there are basic polygon characters used and they could of looked a whole lot better, but apart from that, top marks for the graphics!
There are 7 courses + 4 hidden ones to find. You can play this game as either a straightforward alpine racer or as a skill based challenge which really adds to the fun and variety. There are 4 extreme courses that are really made for speed but if you wanna pull off all those tricks, there's nothing stopping you. An Alpine course for you to pass through gates, miss one and a second is added to your time. A Snowboard Park and the Half Pipe which is made purely for tricks and stunts. All courses apart from the Alpine and Halpipe are non linear and give a very different challenge. Each course has it's own tricky sections, shortcuts and obstacles to avoid and progressing through each course genuinely improves a player's skill. It'll take time to master the courses but once you do there is all those secrets to find as well!
This is probably the games main feature. You start off with 4 characters but there are a total of 17 to get! Secret characters such as dogs, ufo's and penguins all feature here! Apart from the gimmicky ones mentioned there are some great characters to find that are much better then the one's you start off with. To find these you'll have to get some very fast times on the courses and you'll have to be able to pull off some very impressive tricks. The secret characters are the key to finding the secret courses: Space Colony, Space Half Pipe, Outer Space and South Pole. And if after finding all 17 characters and 4 extra tracks there is a cool retro game in there as well to find.
Two Player Mode
One of SSS bad points is that there is no two player mode in the game. But to compensate there is a very good ghost mode and even without the two player mode, this game is still great fun to play with all your friends. Still it should have been there...
There are plenty of options in there with the usual: Ghost Mode on/off, Difficulty and sounds options. But with the actual games options it is quite bad. There is no actual championship as such. You can't even race against computer players. Your gonna be all on your own (besides ghost mode). Ok you do have loads of secrets to find but still a championship wouldn't have been to hard to implement would it?
SSS has some great track music. You have a choice of 10 hard-core tunes brought to you by some of Japan's most famous dance makers. Although 2 of the tracks are very bad the rest of it is very good. A change for most racers as usually the music is awful but that seems to be changing now with games such as Sega Touring Car and Toca on the Playstation having great music. And if you really love the music there is a great sound test option that is like a music player making some cool images on your telly. Anyone with a Playstation will know the music player you get with your Demo 1 CD. It's the same but only a lot better.
A brilliant game with only 2 faults being that there is no 2 player mode (I can get over that one) and a lack of a championship mode with computer players. The graphics, music, courses, characters and secrets are all fantastic and with so much variety and lastability you really can't afford to miss this game. If your not sure try and get a go in the shops or rent it out. If not buy this month's issue of SSM to play 2 of the games courses with 2 of the games characters!
Look out in the next week or two for a guide to get all 18 secrets! (4 hidden courses, 13 hidden characters and a hidden retro game)
Review By: Matthew Langan