Do you like Snowboarding?

Do you like Mad stunts and getting Big Air?

Did you adore SSX?

If you answer yes to these questions then you're going to love SSX Tricky from EA-Sports Big Range. Yes it's back, bigger, better and more refined than ever and guess what? It's on DVD too.

SSX Tricky is more a sequel to the original SSX game and features a cast of all new characters who are now voiced by some top Hollywood talent. Billy Zane, Lucy Liu and Oliver Platt to name but a few. The game comes on one DVD and is packed with features, bridging that gap between the game DVDs and the Movie DVDs. You get some nice behind the scenes looks at how they made the game, interviews with the voice artists and game honchos. The whole package is really well put together. But why should you buy this if you have the first SSX?

The game has been cleaned up, the whole front end has been redone and the interface is now smoother and easier to use, the control method has been slightly tweaked and seems to be more responsive. It's not just the front end that has been redone and altered. Graphically the game has been tweaked, retextured and the models have a higher poly count than before, with even more frames of animation.

The tracks have also had an overhaul, new twists turns and routes have been included in the game as well as alterations to existing course routes, so that you might remember a right turn only to find a left with a huge jump. There are also two new tracks to tackle that you will have never seen before. Couple this with a significantly altered character roster and the inclusion of in game cut-scenes depending on how well you're doing and who's your friend/enemy and you have a more in-depth game than before.

Each character has a number of boards and outfits to unlock. Boards are unlocked by mastering the SSX-Tricky Rider 'Trickbook' which contains 6 chapters of around 5 tricks apiece. Get the whole book mastered and you gain the coveted Uber Board that allows for some serious stat increases.

So why is it called SSX-Tricky? The reason is because of the inclusion of the Uber Tricks, these are mad, death-defying stunts that defy the laws of physics, common sense, decency and reality. Each rider can pull off a number of these tricks and they're worth a staggering amount of points if you've got the Air to pull them off. I'd warn you they require some rather Big Air to get some of them to work but they're well worth it for getting points and of course offer a big edge in the race mode.


Read on!

Stunts are worth points, pull off Big Air moments and get some nice boost from it, yep the old boost meter's back but it's been altered somewhat to accommodate the new Tricky style. Hit Max boost and the strains of Run DMC's Tricky will play, you've got around 20 seconds to land an Uber Trick or a series of smaller tricks, every Uber Trick lights up a letter of Tricky. Get all 6 lit and it's Infinite Boost ahoy. Even if you fall over, you can boost for good in that race.

So the desire to get Uber Boost or Super Boost is there, we've found it's a good way to win race mode, do lots of tricks, get lots of tricky and woosh you're into the lead with some serious advantage. Make use of the tracks many shortcuts, grinds and useful sneaky ways and you'll be assured a gold time and time again.

SSX-Tricky is definitely about skill though because it takes some to pull of the right tricks to get those points and get that bar up to TRICKY.

The Music has been overhauled too, there's much more of it and it fits the style of the game quite nicely. I always did like the way the sound worked in SSX so it's a delight to once again hear the crisp rush of snowboard as it cuts into the snow and the swish as you leap off into the wild blue the air running past your ears while the board turns and spins madly. Often your character will let loose a particularly neat comment or vocal as they hit the air, or the ground. Some of these are quite amusing. Again after comparing both versions of SSX, I can say Tricky has the better sound and the richer sound.

The new characters are some of the best in this type of game from Luther, the angry Redneck boarder voiced by Oliver Platt (Porthos in the Muskateers film with Charlie Sheen) to Brodie, Zen Snowboard master voiced by Billy Zane (Dead Calm, the Phantom, and the badguy from Titanic) they excel in atmosphere and character.

Race too hard, push too many people off their boards and you'll find during the game you better watch your backside because they'll make life a misery for you out on the snow. Usually you'll get a small in game FMV as the race starts of some witty dialogue between the characters. Sometimes you get some FMV after the race too depending how torqued they are with you.

Watch the DVD extras and it's obvious how much thought and planning has gone into this worthy sequel to SSX and how much one of the best snowboarding games and the only snowboarding game at the time SSX has been made much better. If you have SSX and you're looking for something with a bit more bite, then I'd recommend SSX-Tricky. If you don't have SSX then I would suggest you do buy Tricky because it's the much better game.

Race mode has been altered from SSX thankfully, now at last you can retry the portion of the race you failed to qualify on rather than having to start again right from the beginning of the 3 races. Which I found got really wearing on SSX. Get a gold medal in Race mode on all the tracks and you gain lots of points to put towards your riders stats slowly building him or her up to be the best on the slope. Do the courses again in Showoff Mode and you'll get even more until you have unlocked all of the stuff for that rider. Again it's features like this that add to the games playability factor.

So I would say go out and buy this game because it really isn't a rip off in my eyes, it's a very good and much worthy sequel to the SSX game and I can't wait to see what the SSX team come up with next. That said, I'm off to hit Pipedream to get some Big Air and do some mad moves. Laters all.