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Trick Style
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Criterion Studios
Publisher:  Acclaim
Features:  VMU
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Everyone is talking about the Dreamcast graphics, and how everyone is going to be blown away with how great it looks. Then there are some critics that are warning the graphic loving public that graphics are not everything and that they should really evaluate the games based on play. Oh, what a double-edged sword it is to be the best in your field. People will build you up only to bring you back down. In the case of Trick Style, one of the less glamorized and less known of the release titles, the graphics are exceptional. And while some may be quick to point out the unrelenting difficulty in control, I think that it all comes with mastering a hover-board.

What Trick Style is essentially is a direct cross between Wipeout and 720 with an MTV dress code thrown in for style. You are a young hover boarder with a love of adventure and a need for speed. Remember the classic scene in Back to the Future II when Marty McFly outruns the goons (like he does in every movie) with a futuristic hover board. Well you can be Marty McFly (a dream I know you have always had, c'mon admit it). Pick a character and go though a training course, a much needed first step or else you will be lost when the racing commences.

Once that is completed your trainer will stick around to give you and offer you challenges. If you complete the challenges (mostly just beating him at little races and games) you will get new tricks and moves that you can use to accumulate points. Of course since this is a racing game, most of the action is focused on racing and there are plenty of tracks to conquer. But of course you will be stuck on the first one unless you manage to beat everybody. But just as in 720 when you have to come back to the main street, so is the case in Trick Style as you will have to constantly return to the training arena, known as the Velodrome to learn more stuff.

The learning curve on this game is what really slows it down. There are a lot of different moves and combinations in the game that must all be mastered if the race is to be won. One of the coolest is the rail sliding. Instead of just grinding on a handrail, you actually magnetically attach to a floating rail and slide wherever it takes you, a vey cool looking very difficult move to get off. If you flub it and hit a wall you can kiss your win goodbye. The other racers race perfectly so you have got to use every trick in the arsenal to beat them. This means taking shortcuts, cutting the turns tight and hitting all of the turbo spots. The nice thing about all of this difficulty is that the game remains very challenging and forces the player to get better. Nothing is worse than picking up a game and passing it right away.

However, there is something definitely off and almost unfun about this game. The characters donıt really have all that much personality, despite being categorized as racers, stunters, and bullies. What's more is that they hardly talk at all; letıs use some CD space, huh. The level design is pretty basic mostly taking you through generic futuristic urban landscapes. Although the ramps and obstacles are placed well and add to the fun of jumping and swerving, the levels are all interchangeable. A futuristic London city and a futuristic Manhattan city are just the same to me. How about racing on Mars, or through futuristic suburbs?

Honestly after racing through a few tracks I just wanted to stay in the Velodrome and play the mini-game challenges. It was much more fun to fly around in a half-pipe than to race the tracks. Though I really really enjoyed controlling my hover-board, I wanted to run it around on better environments. Though it looks very beautiful and is really fun to control with tons of innovative tricks and moves, it is just not that fun to play race after race.

Chris Shade

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