Shaba Games
Activision O2
Sports
1-2
06.10.03

Wakeboarding Unleashed


Before I started playing, I had to think back and remind myself what wakeboarding was again, then, after much thought, I remembered. Wakeboarding is basically snowboarding on water. A "wake" is actually water that is formed into a wave/track from the boat. So that's the story, and this game features a pro wakeboarder, Shawn Murray.

The best summary I can give this game is: You take a quality Activision title like Tony Hawk and put it on water, you got Wakeboarding Unleashed.

Gameplay

In terms of gameplay, you will be soaking wet, and that is a good thing. There is a career mode, and anything that you can think of to do in each level, is in there. There is also many challenges to do. If your not a fan of the career mode, there's a "free drive" and "free ride" mode selectable in the beginning of the game.

While you're in the main "groove mode", you have to complete a certain amount of objectives, and at the same time you do that, you will unlock new challenges for that course. A new course opens up when a certain percentage is complete.

Controlling your man (or woman) is the same concept as Tony Hawk. To jump, hold down the A button, and then release when ready. X and B are used for your grab and invert tricks. And of course you have your rail slide button, Y, which is used to grind on pipes, walls, etc. Instead of being timed, there is a groove meter. The more tricks you do, and the better you play, the more your groove meter goes up. If you start sucking, then the meter runs out, and the game is over. If you're a Tony Hawk freak, the gameplay will come almost natural to you.

Graphics

The water graphics are some of the best I have seen in an Xbox game. The water is so clear that you can see reflections of trees, boats, houses, etc. off of it. All throughout the varied courses, you can see each of them have their own individual feel. For instance, swampy waters look swampy, and have no reflections. The water ripples that trail the speed boat look so close to the real thing, I haven't seen water effects this good before. Even though this game isn't made exclusively for Xbox, the graphics are great all around. Even the boarders faces look great, and have sweet looking textures.

Sound

You should be pretty familiar with the sound in this game. The reason I say that is because the default music in this game automatically loads up your soundtracks from your Xbox's HDD. I was frankly shocked that I didn't have to mess around with the options to hear what I wanted to hear. You won't get to hear much of the soundtrack that is packed into the game itself, especially if you have the Xbox's hard drive packed with your music.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer mode is an entire different game. While two players can play simultaneously (one drives the boat and the other does the tricks), the co-op mode is a whole new game. You and your partner must go through the first level and get a high enough completed percentage to go onto the next area, and there is about three total areas. It's good to see that they didn't just throw the multiplayer mode in at the last second. There is a lot to do in it, and it doesn't disappoint. The other modes in multiplayer are horse, trick attack, and tug-o-war.

Replay Value

Huge levels, amazing gameplay, great co-op mode, need I say more? How about kick-ass graphics? This game is well put together with a ton of unlockables to keep you happy. The combination of gameplay and visuals in this game are alone enough to keep you playing.

Bottom Line:

Before played this game, I wasn't much of a Wakeboarding fan, but now I can't wait to try this sport out on my own! And the three time world champion Shaun Murray, is the man to be on the cover of great game like this. Not to mention the other real life professionals that are included in the game, Cobe Mikacich, Darin Shapiro, Tara Hamilton, and Dalls Friday, just to name a few.

This game is just as addictive as when Tony Hawk first came out, maybe even more addicting. This is basically the first Wakeboarding game to ever come out, and it's a damn good one. It's insanely fun, you must go and buy this at once! If your sick of Tony Hawk, but remember how great the gameplay was, then this is the game you've been looking for.

Check out the official Wakeboarding Unleashed Website.

-Steve Melanson




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