When you think of the vast array of sports games available to the modern gamer, what ones stick out as being a cut above? FIFA, Tony Hawks, Gran Turismo? But spare a thought for SSX Tricky, one of the best sports games ever made.
The PS2 snowboarding game was released in 2001 and was one of the most entertaining video games around. The arcade style racer was high on style and spectacle and the gameplay was never dull, mixing outrageous trick moves with straightforward racing. There was also a freestyle option to the game where players had to perform as many dazzling tricks as possible.
As well as great gameplay, the soundtrack was fly as hell. The game developers also ingeniously made the music interact with your gameplay. If you're boost bar was full then the music would amp up in response. It was a small detail that really helped you to lose yourself in the game.
Another great feature was the knockdown option. In the middle of a race you got to literally punch someone off of their board, and it gave you boost! You were basically being rewarded for being an arsehole! As well as that you developed rivalries with the other characters in the game and if you knocked them down enough then they'd be out for your blood in the next race. Again another small thing that enhanced the experience.
The sound of the board on ice was one of the most soothing sounds of my childhood and was much needed after a hard day of primary school. They game had some pretty serious voice talent too. Lucy Liu, David Arquette, musician Macy Gray and Billy Zane were some of the people tasked with voicing the colourful crew in SSX Tricky.
Moving onto the tricks, The 'Uber' tricks you could perform in game were quite frankly against the ruled of physics and had no place in a civilised society. Take a look:
You could do anything with a snowboard in this game, have it orbit your body, spin it endlessly and even breakdance on it. The possibilities were endless.
The game then improved again with SSX3 which was released in 2003. The graphics improved the tricks were expanded again and a more open world feel was introduced where your custom snowboarder had to traverse a mountain littered with freestyle and race events.
But there was something innately charming about it's predecessor SSX Tricky. It had the feel of a game that you could find down at your local arcade, a playability that meant you rarely got tired of speeding down their digital slopes. The game totally unrealistic, bombastic and the characters, courses and tricks were flamboyant. It was chewing gum for the eyes in the best possible way.