Positive Video Games

Positive Video Games

Sunday, September 29, 2013

SSX Tricky

SSX Tricky came out in the holiday season of 2001. I picked it up for the original XBOX (hence the reason I am posting the cover art from the XBOX version of the game above), because that was my gaming system of choice at the time. It also came out for the Playstation 2, and the Nintendo Gamecube (both of which I also had).  Anyway, if you haven't played this game, you missed out on quite the experience. I can honestly say this was the first "sports" title I ever really loved, and it was one of the first games I ever obsessively tried to complete 100%. I am posting a YouTube link to the opening of the game below, which shows pretty accurately the mood and tone of the game, and the game play itself. If YouTube proves to be unreliable, I will post a video of it myself. Please let me know if the video ever goes down.

SSX Tricky was directly responsible for inspiring me to get into winter sports. I tried snowboarding & I determined that wasn't for me, so I ended up in skis. I now ski every winter, and have taught others how to do it as well. I never approached it trying to mimic the insanity of the game, but the game showed me how much fun winter sports could be -- and it was right!

I loved the characters in SSX Tricky, the game play, the sound track, and the settings. I loved playing it single player, multiplayer, and in challenge mode. It was just an overall, 5 star, AAA game. The song from the intro video is called "It's Tricky" which is a remix by "K-Rec" of a Run–D.M.C. song. The song plays whenever you max out your bonus meter and go into boost/overdrive mode. The game plays like an arcade game. None of it is taken very seriously, everything is over the top, the visuals are bright, colorful and cartoonish, and the characters can do mid-air tricks which are humanly impossible (but fun to watch).

Tricky is actually the sequel to "SSX" -- a game that came out the prior year.  However, Tricky is widely regarded as the, "one that got it right," whereas the original SSX (not to be confused with the reboot by the same title released in 2012) was very rough, and missing the polish evident in Tricky.

The characters in Tricky are a mix between the original characters from SSX, and new ones.

The returning characters are:
  • Mackenzie 'Mac' Fraser
  • Elise Riggs
  • Zoe Payne
  • Kaori Nishidake
  • Jean-Paul 'JP' Arsenault
  • Moby Jones

The new characters are:
  • Eddie Wachowski
  • Seeiah Owens
  • Luther-Dwayne Grady
  • Psymon Stark
  • Marisol Diez Delgado
  • Broderick 'Brodi' Ford

My favorite character was always Kaori, she was fun and spunky, small, light and easy to control, and used the smaller board-type I liked. I also liked that they had her character speaking only in Japanese for all of her lines -- instead of having her speak in English with a Japanese accent.

Zoe, Marisol, Elise
My next favorite character was Elise, mostly because she was a featured character from the game's intro video which got me playing her in the first place, she was pretty to look at (especially to my late-teens self), and she had some great lines (especially when she fell).

My third favorite character was Eddie. He was just such a charming goofball it was hard not to like him. His boarding style was similar to Kaori's and Elise's, and he has arguably some of the best lines in the game. He is very silly and a lot of fun to look at with his goofy costumes.

The rest of the characters I rarely played. I did play with Zoe from time to time, but her punk/goth thing was a bummer for me. I also
played with Marisol as well (mostly because she was pretty) -- but I didn't care for her long-board style. I did like that as with Kaori speaking Japanese, they had Marisol speaking in Spanish. I also played Psymon a little bit, but that was mostly because his character was so weird that listening to his lines was a cross between funny and confusion/fear.  The rest of the characters I may have tried once or twice, but I didn't care about. I never tried Luther though, the cowboy/redneck/fat-slob thing was a MAJOR bummer to me, and had no appeal to me.

Many of the levels are just standard snow covered mountain sides (albeit with massive jumps, cliffs, and tons of rails and trick spots), but some of them are downright fantastic. The level that sticks out in my mind the most is the Tokyo Megaplex level, which I am including a screenshot of. It should be in the dictionary under the term "over the top." It is jam-packed with: rails, slides, ramps, bonuses, tunnels, hidden paths, etc. It is insane, and playing it is a blast.

The other level that I clearly remember was called Merqury City Meltdown. That level had you racing through a city, complete with ramps, rails, hidden paths, and other crazy stuff. It was pretty awesome.

SSX Tricky is a fantastic and fun game. It isn't currently available on any digital platform (that I am aware of), so you'll have to track down a disc of it to play it. But that shouldn't be too hard, it was a major release from EA games, and came out on 3 platforms, so I am sure there are a ton of them floating around on E-bay and Amazon. If you are looking for a fun winter sports game to play, and you don't mind somewhat dated graphics, I think you will really like this game. Try it.

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