1080 Snowboarding was another quality sports game from Nintendo, and it was the number 1 snowboarding game of it's kind back at it's release. It had no rival, but now, it became surpassed by games like Amped and SSX, and NST got their chance to make a sequel to this great snowboarding game. Like Blue Storm, NST's other take on Nintendo's extreme sport game, 1080 Avalanche falls short of the expectations of gamers who were fans of the original 1080. In fact, this one falls QUITE a ways behind expectations, and just isn't enough.
As always, the Gamecube provided clean graphics and visuals, and this game provides it. Not to mention the snow is represented very well in the game much like it was in the original back in it's time. It's not sure to wow anyone, but it's still nice to see this attention of detail. Another nice bit of flair to the visuals comes in the game's sense of speed, which will cause streamlines along the sides of the screen, and the camera goes into a fisheye lens and things are slightly blurred. This would be very nice if the game's framerate didn't tank everytime this happened. When the framerate doesn't start to hold up, you might feel like you're playing a 3D Sonic game on the PS2. Atleast the game has some style applied to areas in the game.
Again, presentation. The menu system is similar to the original 1080's, i.e., a ski lodge where you select you character, board, and stage. Also, the options menu is represented as a clipboard, which is a neat little touch. And of course, as the main title implies, one major attraction to the game, is racing against an avalanche. Yes, that would be suicide, but it's a video game. If we can have a stocky plumber that eat's mushrooms to grow twice his size, surely we can have a bunch of teanage snowboarders race down the slopes knowing there's an avalanche on their tails. Sadly though, the ski lodge and avalanches are the only good parts of the presentation, as the rest of it, from the character's and stages and attempts to be "extreme," felt a bit out of place for a 1080 game, in my opinion.
Avalanche suffers way more in this aspect than Blue Storm did. The controls are not broken, I am not implying it, but the controls are awkward compared to the original. They just don't feel right, but that's just what I think, but I am a big 1080 fan, so this thing is a big deal to me. Still, after some practice and endurance, you can actually make progress with the control setup, but there's not enough in the gameplay to make it worthwhile. There are some neat additions like the terrain park (the game's equivelant of a skate park), and many familiar modes return like Half Pipe, Make Air, and Match Race and other things. These are all good, but the fact that not much else was made to expand on, or improve, is just rather disappointing. This can't be overlooked at all.
The soundtrack is pretty much devoid of annoying techno pop tunes, thank God, and the sound track is more metal based. Infact, the soundtrack, when you compare it to Blue Storm's, you can tell the similarities between the two. It's not necessarily a bad thing, although the minor complaint I have, is that they aren't as heavy as the originals. Infact, they're a bit lighter and are something you'd find in an indie rock band, and that is gonna probably be a turn off for some, as there are alot of vocal tracks in this style. Fortunately, I can tolerate, and if I couldn't, it sure would get a lower score.
So, what'll it be? Well, if you are curious, even fans of the original 1080, just rent it, but for the most part, this isn't gonna be an instant purchase.
Some highlights are in the avalanche races, but for the most part, the whole gameplay is limited, and mostlikely won't hold your attention for long. Let's hope this serves as a lesson for NST and that when it's their turn to make the sequel, that they look back at what had made the N64 original so dang good in the first place.