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Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Activision O2
Developer: Dear Soft Co., Ltd.
Synopsis: Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder is another entry in Activision O2's extreme sports line, a series that includes Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX. Developed by the team behind the first two Cool Boarders titles, the game features Palmer, a six-time X-Games gold medalist, and a host of other pro snowboarders as they attempt to conquer the steep slopes of the world. Instead of focusing on downhill snowboard racing, like the Cool Boarders series, Pro Snowboarder brings a more Tony Hawk-ish feel to the table. In every level, players have a certain amount of goals to accomplish. There are the requisite score goals, with each stage having three levels to achieve, and then a number of different goals specific to each track. These tasks include finding and running over different items, locating a specific object and doing a specific trick off of it, or performing special tricks off jumps that are monitored by cameramen waiting to snap the perfect shot. As players go through the game, they get better boards and are able to upgrade their boarder with more powerful stats. There is also a multiplayer component, in which two players can race against each other, go for the highest trick set score, or even try to knock each other off their boards. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
Package Contents: Registration Card
The instruction manual is just fine. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
The graphics are functional, but they certainly won't make up for the horrid gameplay. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder might have been developed by the creators of one of the PlayStation's first snowboarding games, but there's no evidence that the team has gotten any better since the dawn of Cool Boarders. The developer must have known they couldn't compete with the likes of the amazing SSX Tricky, so they didn't even try. Unfortunately, due to being part of the Activision O2 line, they took their gameplay right from another great game in that series. Unfortunately, no one told them that what might work perfectly in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 wouldn't necessarily work in a snowboarding game. The sad fact of the matter is that, even though it tries to clone a fast and fun title, it can't manage to summon up its own fun on any level. Where Tony Hawk 3 is fast, flowing, and intuitive, Shaun Palmer is slow, disjointed, and difficult to get into. Fortunately, it isn't difficult to get out of, as most players will find putting down the controller and tossing this game onto the bottom of their pile to be quite an easy feat, indeed. The crux of the game's problem is that Tony Hawk-style gameplay does not work in a snowboarding game. Not one little bit. The goals in Tony Hawk 3 might be tough, but players have the opportunity to try them again and again by finding great trick lines on their own and circling back around to the area they need to be. Snowboarding, on the other hand, requires constant downhill movement. If it didn't, then it wouldn't be snowboarding. This means that levels can't be explored on one's own terms and trick lines are far more centralized into what the developer wanted them to be. If you miss an item you were supposed to run over or flub a trick at a crucial moment, you have to play the whole level over again to have any hope of progressing. The fact of the matter is, however, you won't really want to play these bland levels more than once. Although they're supposedly different locations and do possess some different obstacles and elements, they don't feel all that different in the long run. They certainly don't offer the appeal of a sprawling Tony Hawk level, or even a stage from the lesser Matt Hoffman Pro BMX. The goal-oriented gameplay just doesn't cut it here, thanks to the slow pace of the game. Yes, the control is satisfactory, given that it borrows its trick system from Tony Hawk almost completely, but the speed of snowboarding, so brilliantly brought to life in the over-the-top SSX, has been sapped here -- comparatively these competitors move about as quickly as molasses. Levels have to be played a huge number of times to accomplish all of the goals, but since they're barely fun to play even once, it's hard to imagine most players sticking around for the long haul. One thing that isn't stolen completely from Pro Skater 3 is the graphics engine. The visuals are passable, but they certainly won't bowl anyone over, least of all extreme sports fans. The locales are blocky, and since you're moving at such a slow rate, you'll get a good look at all of them. The models are bland, as one might expect from them being based on real 'boarders. The soundtrack is primarily nu-metal, and your enjoyment of it will doubtless depend on your taste of music. Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder might be "Tony Hawk on a snowboard," but two great things don't always go well together, and this game is about as much proof of that as anyone will ever need. Despite a mildly entertaining host of multiplayer mini-games, the main game is nearly excruciating. Next to the game that inspired it (Tony Hawk) and it's direct competition (SSX), it only looks that much worse. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
You and a friend might get a bit of life out of the multiplayer aspect of Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder, but beyond that it will take only the most patient and masochistic player to complete the main game. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
The music is all heavy and rather bland, without a great deal of diversity. Still, if that's your speed, you'll probably enjoy the soundtrack. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
The game moves slow and relies on goals that just don't work in a downhill environment. There's nothing compelling about the gameplay contained in this title, and its fun factor is hovering near zero. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.