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Trickstyle

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Released: 1999

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Dreamcast

Publisher: Acclaim

Developer: Criterion Games

Submitted by: James Holian

This is still one of my favourite Dreamcast racing games. Trickstyle has some very nice features, like fluid movement, variety of characters to choose from, and really fun gameplay.

I personally found the initial tracks to be very hard at first, but once I got the hang of the first couple, the rest tended to simply be an issue of seeing the track a couple times and then winning. The final track in the game put a crimp in this style, as it's suspended in the air, so falling off the edge is easy, and actually making it far enough along to see the later bits is a challenge in and of itself. I don't think I ever actually completed this because it was just too frustrating.

The graphics and effects are up to the usual Dreamcast standard, and the backgrounds are really stunning. The learning curve is a bit steep, particularly for some of the challenge rounds. Frustration will keep many people from really discovering how delightful Trickstyle can be at its best.

Of course, you're given a decent range of characters to use. They fall into three categories: racers, who excel in speed, but can't perform stunts too well. Stunters, as their name suggests, can pull off some fabulous tricks, but can't defend themselves too well. You'll recognize the bully type from other games: strong and tough, but slower than the rest.

The races themselves are somewhat different from what you might expect. Rather than just using speed to get to the finish line, you must perform stunts during the race to boost your speed. Each stunt makes you go faster, and the more complicated, the bigger the boost. Along with that, many race tracks have secret passages in the form of light rails, speed pads and hoops, and even pedestrian vehicles you must duck under to avoid getting wiped out.

Honourable mention goes to the amazing soundtrack, by Hip-Hop producer Kurtis Mantronik, (of the 80’s group Mantronix) it's got a cool, raw, Prodigy type style. Try the New York track on a good sound system. Highly underrated.