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Sled Storm
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Electronic Arts
Publisher:  Electronic Arts
Features:  Dual Shock controller
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Since the Playstation has been out so long you would have thought that every sports game possible would have been released. There is everything from bowling to football to pool. Developers have even invented sports like in Jet Moto and Blast Chamber. Who would have thought after all of these releases that a new sport could have been captured in a game? Well not only has EA released the only extreme sport left to be made, but they have also created a fast exciting game to blow away all of the mediocre repetitive snowboarding games out there.

Summer is over and it is time to play in the snow. Sled Storm is a four player racing game that always keeps you in the pack. Thatís right I said 4 player (w/ multi-tap). How many snowboarding games can boast that? You may need three other people because make no mistake, this game is designed to be tough. Just when you think you have amassed a comfortable lead, some jerk-off comes biting at your heels. The flip side is that even though you have crashed twice and turned around you can still make it back to the pack. Getting to the head of the pack, though, is a different story.

What makes the game even more challenging, is the fact that you can only have 4 sleds for the whole game. Lose them and you will have to start over from the beginning. What really makes the game something to get excited about is how the sleds come in contact with the snow. There is a lot of great suspension work so that each bump, jump, and landing looks as realistic as the video they show in the intro. Driving the sled is a nice combination of delicate control and out and out speed. As you careen down the hills sliding all over the place, it takes a careful hand to make sure you donít crash. The character animations add to this by falling off the seat, loosing their grip, and basically reacting to how well or how poorly you are driving.

There are two different modes in Sled Storm. In Open Mountain you race four other players for cash. Get more bucks to upgrade your sled with a whole slew of goodies from the tip of the engine to the back of the skis. You can even get a scoop which throws a wall of snow behind you to blind your opponents. The second mode is called Super Snocross, and features a number of trick courses where you can accumulate points to open up new characters. However, winning in this mode is nearly impossible unless you have a souped up sled that you have built in the Open Mountain mode.

Graphically the game is pretty average. While all of the animations look very nice the courses themselves are pretty standard. The developers have tried to remain as realistic as possible and so there are no courses going through alpine cities or expansive mysterious caves or anything. You mostly just make rounds around a mountain. However, there are plenty of alternate routes and shortcuts to give the courses a lot of depth and strategy. Do you take the shortcut and risk flipping over, or stick to the straight and safe?

The tricks in the game are fairly hard to pull off and are not always consistent. Performing tricks and combinations is the one part of the game that takes a lot of practice and skill. However once you get it down it will mean big points and big bucks. You can also acquire points by running down obstacles like trees, signs, and rabbits. What was once to be avoided in snowboarding games can now be demoslished. Sorry, Thumper.

All in all Sled Storm is a must have for anyone who likes racing games especially fans of Jet Moto. The game provides enough fun and challenge for everyone from novice to expert. The tricks are fun to do and learn and there is a plethora of stuff to collect, earn, and buy. So grab a friend or two or three and hit the slopes. One final word of advice: when you try to do a Nose Dive Suicide No hander be sure you land on the sled before the sled hits the ground! I learned that lesson the hard way twice.

Chris Shade

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