Val d'Isere Skiing & Snowboarding
The game has many flaws. While the graphics are nice (especially the digitized mountain background) with a fast frame rate, I found it far too easy to lose sense of where the track was during a race. What am I talking about? The track is composed of many sprites, such as trees, pointy ice spikes, bushes, etc. The trouble is, sometimes these elements just aren't spaced as tightly as they should be causing small gaps to appear. Add to the fact that the whole track (including the out of bound areas) is totally white in color, it can be difficult to tell where the in-game track and out of bound areas begin. Super Burnout uses a similar engine and track design scheme, except that the track in SB is easily distinguished from the out of bounds since its pavement.
I also have a problem with the exaggerated roller coaster hill effect. This is most noticeable during the slalom levels where the game tries to simulate a bumpy course by throwing in sudden, extreme dips and rises in the course which is very annoying and disorienting especially when you get six of these in a row. My advice to gamers with weak stomachs is to avoid this game - you'll easily get sick from this special effect. I personally have been snowboarding for years and I have yet to tackle a trail that resembles a roller coaster track. It's understandable that the programmers tried to make the game harder and more arcade-like with this effect, but you'll soon find yourself missing slalom markers that you couldn't see until the last second or colliding with some of course elements.
The sounds are nothing to write home about. The soundtrack consists of several generic rock tracks. The sounds are repetitive with some decent voice thrown in for good measure.
Play control is good enough for a novice to get into the game quickly, but it does seem a little unresponsive for the advanced levels where you need sharp turns and expert control of your speed in order to avoid missing slalom markers. Every slalom flag you miss adds one second to your total course time, so hitting as many of these is crucial. Nothing is worse than setting a record time on a course only to miss the end of course goal marker, which disqualifies your run!
You can choose between skiing or snowboarding. This is okay for variety's sake, but I found little difference between the two styles. The jump feature, which you can use to hop over course elements, is really exaggerated. Your player can seemingly leap 6 feet in the air. It comes in handy on a crowded course, but you'll soon find yourself missing slalom flags and relegating the jump feature only for emergencies or icy areas.
S&S is fun and tolerable for short gaming sessions, but this is not one of those titles I'll pull out to play often (like Tempest 2000),The game lacks lasting appeal. I got this game for $12.99 and if I had to ask myself if this was worth the money, without a doubt I'd say yes. I've gotten more gameplay out of this title than some of my recent Mac and Dreamcast game purchases. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to the standards set by some of my other Jaguar games, namely Tempest 2000, Defender 2000 and Iron Soldier.