Big Mountain 2000


Review by Matt Paprocki

South Peak


Graphics: 6

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


SSX became one of the select few Playstation 2 launch titles to be worth a purchase. It's popularity stems from accessibility, tricks, and the thrill of navigating the wild courses included. Had more people taken notice this seemingly lost N64 game, they wouldn't have been as impressed.

bigmountain1.jpg (21741 bytes)Able to look back now, Big Mountain 2000 is a lesser SSX. The basics are here, including the deep snow, ice, and shortcuts. If you took the trick system away from SSX, you would have Big Mountain. Even the feel of EA Big's game is here, especially with cornering.

Of course, this didn't have the indispensable pocket book of EA either, nor does it have the wow factor. Developer Imagineer crafted this one before the Tony Hawk craze set in, so tricks are an afterthought. This focuses almost entirely on racing and simply beating opponents down the hill. You can do so on skis or a snowboard, though the differences are negligible.

The sense of speed, at least when you've managed to follow the right path (and skid across some ice) is sensational. It's exhilarating, and then it's over due to glitches. There is a major problem with polygon clipping here, and it's not just a graphical eyesore. This actually knocks your rider flat. You can be following a perfect path only to fall forward for no reason, and once you do it enough, you'll realize a polygon pops out of place just before the crash.

That's the major hindrance here as the meager four courses offer up their unique challenges. The "career" mode is over in a matter of a few hours (you won't even need five fingers to count them), and adding to your riders stats isn't enough to make you come back. Free ride offers excellent worry free boarding (or skiing), and the two separate slalom events force player to stick to a course.

Characters are anime inspired during the selection process, and turn into rather generic athletes once onto the mountain. Their differences are noticeable, and the small roster does have the advantage of finding someone to suit your style easier. Any lighting, including a beautiful orange glow during sunsets affects the course, but not the riders, which make them seem out of place.

This simple gameplay wraps around a nice, suitable soundtrack, and it's enjoyable to race to. If you can deal with the random wipeouts, Big Mountain now seems like a unique piece of gaming on the N64. If not, hopefully the music can calm you enough before something is broken. This is as close to SSX on the N64 as can be expected, just don't get excited over the almost worthless trick system.


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Last updated: Friday, September 09, 2005 02:01 PM