Review: Snowboard Kids 2 (N64)

In this review, we once again hit the slopes with the sequel to Snowboard Kids, Snowboard Kids 2.

This game was released in 1999 and is a direct sequel to Snowboard Kids which we previously reviewed.

This game initially shows two modes: battle and story mode. Battle mode allows you to race in a single race under whatever rules you’ve set in options. You’ll be able to race on courses you have already unlocked. Story mode, on the other hand, is where a bulk of the game is, but the settings are set in stone to the defaults.

Initially, in your save file, you can play in normal mode, but if you beat the game, you’ll unlock expert mode which features more difficult opponents and no coins on the course.

Initially, you’ll only have the basic boards as well as one story mode course and three special courses. Unless you have a lot of experience, chances are, you won’t have much of a chance at beating the extra courses right away, so you’re probably better off playing a few courses in story mode so you can earn the money to buy better boards.

If you’ve played Snowboard Kids, this game has a lot of familiar elements including selectable characters (most of which were found in the previous game), items, weapons, jumps, tricks, lapped races, ski lifts, 100g coins, and three opponents. Still, there are a few minor tweaks to the game that makes this much more playable.

One tweak is the increased arsenal of weapons you can pick up on the course. Overall, you have bombs, tripping hands, parachutes, and hurricanes that force you to drop your inventory. Most of these weapons were in the previous game, but not all.

A lot of items in this game are like the prequel. What is found in this game are super coin thieves (steal ALL of your opponents cash), speed boosting fans, speed boosting rockets (new), wings that allow you to increase your hang time (new), and the return of the opponent squishing fry pans. All weapons and items cost 100g.

Tricks do make a return, only it is somewhat different. While you could perform a single trick on each jump previously, repeatedly tapping “A” while in the air after performing a trick will allow you to keep flipping or twisting. For each successful rotation, you earn 100g or 150g (for combo rotations). board grabs operate differently in this game. Instead of simply holding onto the board, you can only perform a simple grab. The big difference is that you can grab the board multiple times. For each successful grab, you get an additional 20g.

I think the new stunt system is way better than the previous one. It is also more forgiving because your rotations are a lot quicker than the previous game.

Another improvement is the overall control you have over your characters. I found the controls to be generally more tighter and manageable than in the previous game. This was definitely an improvement.

One new element in this game is the short animations between courses. You can choose to skip these animations or you can sit back and enjoy them. If you enter the course, you’ll get one animation before the start of the race. If you successfully complete the course, you get treated to an additional animation. The only downside is that the animations are the same regardless of which character you choose, but they are definitely enjoyable and often humorous.

Another great element is that the variety of tracks have increased dramatically. While you did race through a desert and a grassland previously, the courses are way further over the top including shrinking yourself down and racing through someones house, racing on a tropical island, racing through space, and even racing through a haunted mansion. Some of the obstacles are more or less carried over from the previous game, but additional obstacles include floating pumpkins that fire weapons at you, haunted areas that can earn you a ghost, speed boosting zippers as you go through warp zones, and even flying comets that can explode right in front of you.

If that weren’t enough, there is also the addition of 3 boss battles. Two of these boss battles are simply destroying the opponent before they reach the finish line while the other boss, a giant dinosaur, is simply a race to the finish line. How many snowboarding games are out there that pit you against a giant dinosaur anyway? The variety and the overall outrageous factor in this game is incredible to say the least.

Just to extend the game that much further, if you’ve beaten the game in normal mode, you’ll unlock expert mode. As mentioned, there are no coins on the course, so all of your coins either come from tricks, or the rare opportunity to steal coins from another player. Each race is much more difficult, but for every race you complete, you unlock a secret board that you can purchase at the board shop. The harder the race, the better the unlocked board. Curiously enough, the most difficult race seems to be the boss battle where you race the dinosaur. I don’t know if you can win without executing the secret speed boost at the beginning. Either way, if you do somehow manage to beat this race, you earn what I consider to be the best (and most expensive) board in the entire game. Additionally, you can unlock three secret characters which you can use on single battle races.

Generally speaking, not only is this game addicting, but there is a lot you can do in this game. I really can’t think of anything to complain about here.

The graphics are a definite improvement over the previous game, but it’s also competing against some pretty impressive games at the time. While not the most spectacular on this front, it does hold its own quite well in this area. Great overall.

The audio is definitely where this game also shines. The music has much more variety and contains music that can be personal favorites of mine. The sound effects are also very well done and differs enough from the previous game so it’s its own experience, but at the same time, isn’t too alien either. So, flawless so far as score is concerned.

Overall, this was an excellent game. The gameplay and replay are this games biggest strengths. This is followed close behind by excellent audio. The graphics, while not the best thing out there in this era, really holds its own. So, a fantastic game all around.

Furthest point in game: Beat the game on both normal and hard modes. Beat every course and unlocked and bought every secret board.

General gameplay: 23/25
Replay value: 10/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 5/5

Overall rating: 92%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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