Snowboarding titles seem to have taken off last console generation, franchises such as SSX. Most of the title’s were not Gamecube exclusives but a large amount of them saw releases on the system along with the PlayStation 2 and X-box. 1080 Avalanche is the sequel to successful title 1080 Snowboarding for the Nintendo 64. While on the surface 1080 Avalanche may appear to just be another snowboarding title, it has a few differences from other snowboarding titles on the Gamecube.. Does 1080 Avalanche stand out or does it fall into the avalanche of snowboarding titles
One thing that 1080 Snowboarding fans will notice almost right off the bat is that 1080 Avalanche is much more forgiving then its predecessor. Landing isn’t terribly difficult and tricks can be preformed with ease, tricks like back flips and spins being only a click of the R button and an analog stick movement away and Grabs are mapped to the X, B and Y buttons. The benefit to doing tricks is that theres a new power meter, once charged by doing enough tricks your character glows. Then you can use it to ram into your enemies and knock them down with you coming out unharmed. The Damage meter makes a return in Avalanche and you can use your power bar charge as a shield so you avoid damage when wiping out. Although the average player shouldn’t have to worry much about their health since its fairly easy to make it down to the bottom of the course alive.
While the tricks are much easier to pull off and have a purpose in Avalanche, in the end most of the time it feels fairly pointless, because theres a much bigger focus on the actual racing. While not as fast as racing games such as F-Zero GX, 1080 Avalanche gives the player a great sense of speed and uses clever camera angles to increase the intensity of the race. Your character can get off balance and it requires you to rotate the analog stick in a certain way to regain your balance, but after the first few times this is rarely a threat to your race. Earlier courses have set paths to go down but later courses have multiple paths, giving you many opportunity to pull past your opponent. A lot of the shortcuts require some skill to take, such as using jumps to get on higher paths or using rails or trees to guide you over obstacles. This gives the game a bit more challenge other then just memorizing the shortest paths and simply taking it. Computers also make use of these paths, making the game increasingly difficult toward later courses. Environments are also a big factor, with falling ice and collapsing bridges that can alter your course unless evaded properly.
Avalanche features 5 character’s that all have different stats, while overall they all control very similar you will notice some things different like other characters turning more sharply or having better endurance to resist falling over. Each character also features two extra costumes you can unlock, but these are just cosmetic changes. You also unlock boards, but unfortunately the final boards have incredibly overpowered stats, making the most of the snowboards useless. Incentive is added to playing different character’s by using them to unlock content that is specific to each of them, encouraging users to try out each of the characters and master them.
Extreme Sport titles Generally need multiple modes to succeed and 1080 definitely fills the roster for modes. Match Race is a series of 1 on 1 races with a opponent over multiple challenges from Novice, hard, expect and eventually to extreme, all of which features courses that are different or mirrored of previous courses. These generally end with a timed race down a course with a avalanche right behind you. Gate Challenge has you trying to pass through all the gates on the course. Trick attack has a Half-Pipe, a massive jump and a trick course, but unfortunately due to the racing focus on this title, there aren’t many tricks to do, leaving you doing the same tricks over and over again, to remedy this they added a combo system that adds multipliers to your points, but this doesn’t replace the lack of tricks available for you to do. You can try to beat time records in Time Trial mode as well as collect coins to unlock content. Theres also a multi player and LAN mode that allows up to 4 players to race at one time. When playing with 4 players theres some frame rate issues but for the most part is simular to the single player experience.. Unfortunately local multi player only features six tracks, which is very disappointing. I was unable to play the LAN mode of this title, but I cant see too many people playing the LAN.
While Avalanche is a 2003 Gamecube title, the title looks fairly decent. Environments and effects look great, but there are a few blurry textures. For the most part it probably looked pretty nice back in 2003. The character models haven’t aged well though, and some details didn’t transfer well to 3D models from the concept art, such as Ricky Winterborns Skater type hair, looks more like blond dreadlocks. Character designs overall look good and theres a variety of costumes if you dislike how some characters look. Main menu is stylish following the similar style or the first 1080 title.
Strangely enough, despite Nintendo rarely using licensed music in their games, 1080 Avalanche features thirty eight licensed songs. While the soundtrack is fitting for the title, it seems that most of the soundtrack is made up of small bands that never made it anywhere. Voice clips are pretty good and match the character’s look and personality. The announcer doesn’t add or take away from the experience, he is where he is needed and isn’t so over the top that you start getting annoyed by his presence, most of the time you forget he is there. Sound effects are well done, and small chimes or your character’s voice kicks in when landing tricks to let you know that you landed correctly.
Avalanche’s replay value really depends on how much you like the title. Players who enjoy a fast paced racing game should enjoy playing through courses multiple times, and unlocking all the content. Overall Avalanche is a good snowboarding title that focuses mainly on racing rather then tricks, if you’re looking for a snowboarding title thats different then most of the bunch on Gamecube then I would highly recommend you pick this title up, even more so then usual since it is incredibly cheap on www.Amazon.com, it usually runs under 20$ No matter if you get it new or used.