Carve up the virtual slopes with 'Rippin' Riders'
November 23, 1999
By John Robinson
(CNN) -- Like most rewarding experiences, snowboarding is a sport that takes time and patience to learn. It can be a costly endeavor and you will most certainly spend a lot of time on your backside as you struggle to get the hang of it. "Rippin' Riders" from Sega allows you to significantly lessen the time and money involved, as well as the bruised rear, in favor of a virtual run down the mountain.
"Rippin' Riders" offers two modes of play with the Free Ride mode as the main attraction. There is also a Super Pipe mode where you can perform tricks and try to best the high score. The Free Ride mode challenges you to board down the mountain in a race against the clock. Doing tricks along the way earns you extra time as well as points.
You start the game with only one Free Ride track and one Super Pipe track. Beating the initial tracks will open more tracks with a total of nine available to play.
The main problem with the game is that you don't get credit for tricks unless you are in a designated area. While it is possible to do tricks anywhere you see fit; it will be for your personal enjoyment alone unless you are in the trick area. Another small problem is that you can't do rail slides, a trick that is quickly catching on with snowboarders. Those gripes aside, pulling off tricks is relatively easy to learn and very satisfying to watch.
"Rippin' Riders" runs at a very nice frame rate giving the game a seamless look and an excellent sense of speed. This game looks great in action and is yet another example of what the Dreamcast is capable of. The tracks are very large and detailed, offering players plenty of obstacles and alternative routes to explore. The snow is beautifully rendered with subtle differences between packed snow and powder. While the riders themselves could have used a little more detail, they look pretty good and it is not a huge problem cause you should be looking down the course anyway.
Yet another weak point of "Rippin' Riders" is the mediocre soundtrack consisting of generic techno and other computer generated beats. Adding to the aural mediocrity is an annoying announcer who sounds like the stereotypical surfer dude egging you along with phrases like "C'mon, you can do better than that!" Luckily both of these things can be tuned down in the options menu or you can just turn the volume on your TV all the way down and listen to a CD.
As the first snowboarding game for the Dreamcast console, Rippin Riders offers a fun experience that allows players to swoosh down the mountain and try a variety of tricks in a variety of different settings. A practice mode would have been nice as well as the ability to get points for doing tricks anywhere on the course. If you absolutely must have a snowboarding game for your Dreamcast, Rippin Riders will fill the void for a while. Others should try to rent this one before buying.
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