Wakeboarding Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray
Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray
The Final Say!
- reviewed by Tory
Review Date: 23 June 2003
Based on an Average
Distributed By: Activision
Although I am a dedicated fan of all the titles on the Activision
O2 charter, I thought this game would be the lemon of the bunch
with it's subject. What the hell could be interested about a dude
getting dragged around behind a boat?
who the hell is Shaun Murray? Secondly, what the (insert
expletive) is wakeboarding? Well I can answer the second question
with absolutely no authority, but with a little bit of
Wakeboarding is as exactly what
the word says it is; you ride a board through and over the wake
created by a speed boat. Similar to water-skiing however with a
more extreme angle on the whole thing involving a variety of
tricks and stunts.
I guess one of
the first things that people think when it comes to the 02 line is
that it's another one of those "Tony" games and so far pleasantly
enough all of them have proven to be great games in their own
right, even the much maligned Shaun Palmer Pro Snowboarder (which
I actually enjoyed). Wakeboarding Unleashed at first presented a
not altogether attractive prospect, primarily the fact that I knew
that I was going to be stuck on a single course and have to hang
onto a stupid rope that would drag me around said course! Boy was
I ever wrong!
The game is developed by Shaba
Games and they have certainly taken an exciting sport and notched
up the adrenaline level tenfold. The very nice thing about the
title is that the creativity behind the game is across the whole,
as opposed to only rearing itself in key areas. Even the
soundtrack, the tracks of which would never be played as music in
my stereo, work perfectly with this game and
don't jar on you at all. Right up until the point that I finally
heard a track start up, The Pixies "Wave of Mutilation" and then I
was truly in heaven, having been a fan of Frank Black and co. back
in the day.
Back to the game however. The
title starts the same as all the others in the 02 stable with you
choosing a career mode, your character etc etc. Then it's into the
first level to get a feel for the way the game engine behaves and
what the general physics are like, and I am stoked to say that
this is some of the best water that I have seen on any machine for
a long time, with both gorgeous looking water and lovely wave
physics to boot.
The best advice that can be given
to any new player to this title is quite simply, take your time
and practise, practise, practise! Despite the apparent limitations
of being behind a boat, guess what? You can release from the rope
any time you please, and if you hit the wake at the right time,
the air that you are going to grab will astound you.
There are ways to
choose which direction the boat is going to take as well. A well place
rope release combined with a grind move will force the boat around to
fetch on the side that you have chosen as a rule which will briefly give
you other choices to find paths previously inaccessible, until the boat
resumes it's predetermined course, of course.
As with the other extreme sports
titles, Shaun Murray starts you off with the basic abilities and trick
sets of any aspiring amateur and as the game progresses, you can earn
further stat points that will increase your skills across the board in
order to make you even greater on the wake than you already are. Each
level presents the player with increasing levels of difficulty to
increasing your stats is an integral part of enabling you to proceed
through the game.
Of course to make this game even more
interesting than it could have been, Shaba have made a lot of fantasy
runs and tricks. This will allow players with a good eye for big air and
stringing together combos, to rack up some truly amazing high scores.
The revert, a move that is now integral to Tony Hawk as any of us who
have played the series for some time will attest to, is in this game and
although I thought it would be stupid putting this move on water, the
animation is carried across fantastically and you don't really question
it after a while.
Of course with any game there are a
number of small gripes, but nothing really to detract from my overall
impression of it. You cannot create a wakeboarder and the amount of
sounds used in the game is a bit sparse. Finally, there are only 7 pros
to choose from. This last point I didn't care less about considering I
don't even know who the lead character from the game is, but there's
always going to be someone who complains.
Aside from the fact that career mode is
going to take you a seriously long time, Shaba have also incorporated
many multiplayer facets to the game, the coolest of which is when you
and a mate can play together; one as the boarder and the other
controlling the boat! This is extremely cool and adds a whole new
element to the game. Graphically this game is extreme eye candy as far
as water and character animations go, however on some occasions the
colour palette looks a bit sparse and a bit washed out. Other than that,
the game looks gorgeous and plays that way too.
Everything said and done should see
this game taking an awful long time to complete and once again
Activision 02 are responsible for my aching thumbs and fingers. Get this
game and get it now!
- Tory Favro