Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild

Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild

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Rating
9.0
DEVELOPER: Rainbow Studios   |   PUBLISHER: THQ   |   RELEASE: 08/05/2003

Are you ready to get wet….again?? Well I sure as hell am, and no I am not some perverted game geek in need of some R&R I am in fact talking about Rainbow’s newest entry in the Splashdown universe. Fans of the original will be in shock at the new additions and radical changes that Rainbow has done but in the end the game is so polished it just doesn’t matter. No longer are the tracks realistic and technical they are now more like amusement park rides. Characters now have personality and there is enough here to unlock to keep you playing for months. Let us delve deep into Rainbow’s latest game and see if we can figure out why these guys rock so damn much!

Taking It To A Whole New Level
The first Splashdown game was critically acclaimed because of it’s realistic water effects, superlative game design, and of course the sheer fun factor it provided. While it may not have been the best selling game of all time those fortunate enough to give it a go were more than satisfied. Well apparently the first game made a big enough splash (heh puns are cool) with the public to warrant a sequel and Rainbow seems to have taken into account what alternative racing fans enjoy in their newest game. Huge colorful and activity filled courses flood this game to no end. Screaming past mechanical dinosaurs, shooting through pirate caves, and even flooded city streets is much more fun than coasting islands. Each level is also interactive to a point, over the course of the race events will happen that alter the course forcing you to stay on your toes at high speeds. The trick system has also been given a complete upgrade and is now much more accessible to the casual player.

As if the first game didn’t look good enough the developers have taken the extra step in creating the best looking water capable on the PS2. Waves that effect your course of travel as well as looking damn fine in the process. Character animations have been beefed up and the overall look of the game is much more pleasing to the eye this time around. To nitpick where it is necessary the frame rate can be a hassle at times trying to decide what speed it wants to run at and the levels can almost seem too cluttered other times causing confusion while racing. Like I said minor gripes but they are highly noticable.

Girls Gone Wild!
Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild also consists of over 40 tracks in all which is absolutely amazing considering the complexity of some of the courses. They are seperated into each style of racing whether it be World Circuit, Technical Time Trial, or plain old Freestyle there is plenty to see and do in the game. For those not good enough to unlock all the tracks in the career mode simply earn enough points to unlock them from other events. The music is decent, the world specific tracks are nicely orchestrated but the soundtrack of selected talent ranges from mediocre to simply annoying. Where are the Ramones from the commercial dammit, well if it was on XBox I could put them on there but that is another argument entirely. The sound effects are also a bit disappointing, while the character chatter is appreciated it is also repetetive, unpleasant, and frankly not very humorous.

Teaching An Old Dog Wet Tricks
Like I mentioned earlier the trick system has been given a complete face lift. There are now three tiers of stunts possible in the game and all are performed with the triggers. You can also combine these with vehicle stunts such as flips to rack up even more points. Be warned though just like in Tony Hawk if you repeat a trick too many times it will be worth less and less so be original. The control system has also been tweaked for new users by adding an arcade control style. This eliminates the need to pull back on the seadoo to hydroplane in straight aways to gain speed. Veterans should use the sim style as it will be more familiar to you. Overall Rainbow has done an amazing job of catering to newbies and veterans alike as well as making a damn fun game to play.

Making You Wet…!
This is the kind of sequel I was truly hoping for when I heard a new Splashdown was in the works. When I spoke to the developer of the game last year this was exactly what I told him could make this game as huge as SSX is, and I am so glad he listened. I consider this my claim to fame and perhaps the first time I have influenced in the making of a game. Although I get no credit I am happy just knowing I have possibly helped in the creation of such a kick ass title. With tons to unlock, fabulous courses to travel through, and simply incredible controls Splashdown Rides Gone Wild is destined to be loved by all critics again, let’s just hope it spreads into the gaming mainstream as well. Definitely recommended!

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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