Amped: Freestyle Snowboardingby Stephen Cameron
November 2, 2001
EA Sports has been working hard cracking that code that makes EA games great hits, especially snowboarding ones, like SSX. Good news for you Xbox addicts, Xbox is getting SSX Tricky, the next chapter of the SSX series in EA Sports. But! That's not all. Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding looks to reinforce the success of snowboarding video games and make a name for Xbox. This is a game being developed by Microsoft, so if you're wondering if it'll be good, I would tell you that Midway once said "it's Microsoft, come on!"
Unlike the usual slew of snowboarding games we've been getting lately, Amped: Freestyle Skateboarding thrives on the inspiration from Sony's Coolboarders and Nintendo's 1080 Snowboarding to create a new and totally innovative gaming prodigy. First fact: Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is not a racing game, it mainly focuses on your attempts to grab as much air as possible by performing out-of-the-hat freestyle tricks. According to Nate Larson, Art Director and Co-Designer on Amped, "It's very different. It's all about freestyle. It's not a racing game, there is no competition based stuff. What you're doing is trying to build a career and become a snowboarding star." In a way, Amped is more like a simulation rather than an arcade style game such as SSX. Larson added that "tricks will be harder to pull of riding in a switch, because it's naturally a little harder."
You can start out as an unkown amateur trying to make it big as any famous pro rider such as Travis Parker and Bobby Meeks. You'll take the board out on real snowboarding mountains in real venues such as Utah's Brighton and California's Snow Summit. Your main goal in mind is to impress enough bystanders at the venues so that when you land, you land big on the front cover of a snowboarding magazine. To do this, you'll have a handful of tricks to pull off. For example, jumps, half-pipes, and kickers are all there. Pull off as many rails and freestyle boarding tricks as you can. In simple words, be creative.
As you improve from amateur to veteran, the runs and terrain will become more challenging as you go. Then, if you're good enough, the closer you'll get to your goal of becoming a professional snowboarder and making money doing what you do best do and love. Photographers positioned around the venues take photographs of your stunts, which you'll hope can impress the sponsor reps hunting for new talent. You just have to be impressive enough while other snowboarders compete against you to steal your fame. Not everyone can live it large with his or her photograph in the front cover of a snowboarding magazine.
Other features of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding include its own soundtrack featuring over 150 indie tracks from across the country to set the mood of the game. There's nothing like snowboard gaming and Indie music all at the same time. Who knows, maybe you can use one of the tracks as part of your promo stunts. The game will also have a multi-player mode for you to chill with you friends. From some screenshots, you can see that these mountains are not to be taken lightly, no matter how good you are with the controller. Their rough ripples and curves are expressly composed of textures, bump-mapping, and sheer polygon performance benefiting from the power of Xbox, very graphical. Until we get our hands on the game at the Xbox launch, keep looking out for information on Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding in the coming days.