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Snowboard Kids

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Released: 1997

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Nintendo 64

Publisher: Atlus

Developer: Racdym

Submitted by: Mat Allen

Aka Snobow Kids in Japan. While 1080 provided the more serious snowboarding action on the N64, Snowboard Kids was the antithesis; a chaotic, addictive multiplayer romp of such backstabbing proportions that participants needed to be issued with kevlar vests as standard.

After Goldeneye this was the multiplayer game to own on the N64, moreso even than Mario Kart 64 which was partly triumphal as it was obviously based upon the same template. Four kids on boards, all naturally with different skill levels (in speed, handling and tricks), would negotiate each mountain for a certain number of "laps" to determine the winner. Just getting down the mountainside was hard enough, as you looked to avoid trouble and perform tricks to earn money in order to buy weapons and items periodically positioned along the way.

Some of said items and weapons were just pure evil. The parachute would fling an unlucky recipient into the air for a while; the pan would squash other competitors and slow them down; and the nasty rat would go and steal money from whoever had the most…!

Once you got to the bottom of the slope, the swearing and fighting didn't stop. Oh no, there was a ski lift to take you back to the top for the next lap and this was done single file, one at a time. Cue mass brawls and weapon launching to get ahead even at that moment, it was sometimes worse than when actually racing!

It cannot be stressed how much fun this is, just refusing to let you put the pad down and easily encompasses that "one more go" feeling. Even though there are only four racers there are few times when you feel you can't get back into the race even when at the back. Anything can happen and usually does…

The game was given a sequel on the N64 in 1999, and a remix release on the PS1 in the same year. Sadly the updated version on the DS is not that hot. The original though is perhaps the best of the lot, and highly recommended.