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Cool Boarders 4
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  989 Studios
Publisher:  SCEA
Features:  Dual Shock
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://
From 989 Studios comes yet another installment of the snowboarding series, Coolboarders. Honestly, I wasn't terribly excited about playing this one. I've played the last one hoping it would be drastically better than the one before that. It definitely looked better than past efforts but trying to get the hang of the control was quite painful. I was ultimately disappointed with the whole thing since it really didn't deliver anything new or refreshing to the series.

This time around Coolboarders attempts to woo gamers with real pro snowboarders, real boards, and new tricks. All this and the great features from last year are here too. The locales, ranging from Vermont to Japan, are beautiful mountains packed with very nicely textured snow. This time they got the snow trails your board makes just right. Once again you can speed downhill jumping off nicely packed fat mounds of snow giving you ample air and time to stalefish and land on conveniently placed rails so you can finish with a 50-50 grind. There are several types of mountains to shred, from a simple downhill to slope style to a half-pipe on a mountain. It is all here. Sure, you can ride as Jim Rippey or Michele Taggart on their actual boards. But is it enough?

You can choose to rip the trails with a pro boarder or create your own. You can even choose the color of their funky gear. Woo-hoo! Then select a board and design it with all the colors of the rainbow. The customization of the board actually requires a bit of thinking on your part. There are decks made for riding fast and there are ones that are best for tricks. Ultimately the most important thing during this process is customizing your board appropriately for the events that give you the most trouble.

In a tournament you have to complete all the events for each mountain. The slope style is my favorite. This event provides plenty of jumps and obstacles to do tricks on as you speed downhill . The CBX event tests your carving skills as you have to maneuver around slalom-type gates. Big Air is just one big jump where you try to combine as many tricks as possible before you land or before your face hits the snow. Whichever one comes first.

There are plenty of new tricks to try this time around. The ability to combine grabs, tweaked out grabs, shifties, spins, flips, and grinds, none of which are ridiculously difficult to execute makes this version much more playable than the last ones. In other words, it's highly likely you will have fun playing this game once you get the hang of it. One definite improvement is the four-player mode. It adds to the replay value and is nice bonus to have when friends come over. The sounds are the usual, what you might expect from a snowboarding game type of tracks. Nothing special.

So, in conclusion, if you're a fan of the series you should know that this is the best Coolboarders to date. If youíve played the last version and expect something different wait for the other snowboarding games to come out (like MTV Snowboarding for example, yes I said MTV Snowboarding) and check those out first. There is really not much in the way of originality to be found here. If you are taking your first shot at a snowboarding game, Coolboarders 4 will satisfy you plenty. Just in case, you might want to rent it first.

Vince Garcia

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