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DEVELOPER: Rainbow Studios   |   PUBLISHER: Atari   |   RELEASE: 06/25/2002

I can remember being at E3 this past May, playing Sony’s newest attempt to overthrow the Jet-Ski arena, Jet X2O and being vastly disappointed. Showing my frustration on the show floor attracted the attention of one man. I was screaming “I want my Splashdown for XBox” and he stated “What was so great about Splashdown?” So I gave him my opinion, turns out that this man was none other than Mark Mahler, if you dunno who that is he is the producer for Rainbow Studios, hence he made the game! It was awesome to finally be able to let a good developer know why they made such a good game and he even asked me how to make it better, I won’t divulge that here as I don’t want anyone stealing my ideas MUHAHAH! Enough reminiscing on wit da review!

When the first Splashdown appeared a while back on the PS2 I was amazed at how good the game was. Coming from the same team behind ATV Off-Road Fury it was sure to be fun. The problem was that the game was almost too fun LOL. I could not believe how great the engine handled itself and how good the game looked to be running on the PS2. The water effects were simply amazing! Now with the power of the XBox Rainbow has been able to add the few small things to make this game even better than it already was. How is that possible you say? Well read on!

The first noticeable difference is the enhanced visuals. The water effects are even more beautiful on the mighty green box than they were on PS2. The frame rate is also running at a steady pace thanks to the increased memory of the XBox. The one major thing added is the new levels, not only are they entirely new tracks to rip ass on, but they also make use of the water effects. Unlike the PS2 version the new tracks on the XBox version actually effect the way you ride. The riders in front of you will cause wakes which in turn effect the ride in front of you..very nice!

Next I move onto the music and sound, yipee! First off yes this game DOES support custom soundtracks, my only gripe is that it doesn’t take full advantage of the option. You can only change music tracks within the game, and it plays them in order. I wish all games were like Tony Hawk with this option where the tracks can be set in the options and randomized for maximum play. The sound effects are pretty much a straight port of the PS2 version and the originals were not shabby so no worries there. The character voices are still annoying, but hey at least they don’t repeat the same phrase over and over again eh?

Yes the game plays just like it’s PS2 counter-part sans the water effects. You have to judge the way the waves are breaking in order to get maximum speed around corners and when behind other racers. This adds even more depth to an otherwise deep enough racing game. I hope that others take notice and join the winning team. The only complaint is that the original levels do not take advantage of the wave effects only the XBox exclusive levels blah!

The final question is if I own the PS2 version is there any reason to get this one? In my opinion yes, after seeing all there is to see in the PS2 version Splashdown on the XBox adds just enough to make it seem like a new game. With the hefty addition of tracks, custom music, and even better water effects this game is a must own on both systems. If you own both systems and have never played Splashdown, it’s time to let Rainbow Studios get you wet!

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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