Air Boarder 64
1080 Snowboarding has captured the console snowboarding video game crown. So how do you improve upon a hit formula? Open up the playing fields and turn the snowboards into airboards!
This game is set in the future, where airboarding is a hugely popular spectator sport, with audiences in the millions. You can choose from one of eight characters (four of whom must be earned from beating certain levels and meeting specific time, point or trick requirements) who are all vying for the coveted title of "Master of AirBoardin'."
You have an arsenal of more than 80 different moves, including nose slides, tail grabs, hand plants and roast beefs (Roast beef? Is that a real-life move?). Individual characters also have special tricks at their disposal. But what really separates AirBoardin' USA from most snowboarding games (besides the use of hoverboards, of course) is the freedom to go anywhere. Players can go over snow, water, land, vertically up buildings, etc. No longer are players limited to tracks and half-pipes.
AirBoardin' USA will have several modes of play. Besides a typical time attack and Practice Mode, the game will have a Coin Mode, where players must ride around and find coins scattered about the course. AirBoardin' USA will also have a two-player Versus Mode and a free run (where you can just hoverboard around and explore for fun).
- MANUFACTURER - Human Entertainment
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
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Take the hoverboards from Back to The Future II and put them in a game, and what do you get? Air Boardin' USA. But the creators of Air Boardin'forgot to make the game as good as the concept. It's as if the designers couldn't figure out if they should make a racing or a stunt game, so they decided to make both in one. The tracks aren't really tracks, but environments you have to maneuver around. What I don't understand about them is why they are so absolutely random in construction. Keeping your eye on the forever ticking clock while trying to do tricks is frustrating, and if you go through a checkpoint, it doesn't add a significant amount of time to your clock (like most racing games). Instead, it sets the timer back to the beginning. Two-player mode isn't worth bothering with as the perspective is so tight in a vertical split-screen that you can't tell where you're going. The game sometimes seems so slow to get going that it'd be faster to get off the board and walk. The characters are very atypical anime-style sports dudes (and dudettes)--one being a fat version of Link. Music is a strange game-show/ska combination that seems a little out of place. I won't say Air Boardin' is entirely devoid of entertainment value, as Fat Link and the very squeaky-voiced guy alone are great. But I can't see anyone playing this for enjoyment for very long. This one shou Id've stayed in Japan.
When Marty McFly rode his hoverboard through town square and thwarted Biff and his minions, I considered wanting to do the same in a moment of weakness. So did the designers of Air Boardin' USA. As if "boarding" games weren't generic enough as it is, Agate had to license one of the worst. The character graphics are nasty and the controls are strictly sloppy. This game is addictively bad Johnny E. and Chris Johnston were hypnotized by its non-importance.
The hover gimmick is not enough to help this game. There's nothing remotely redeemable here, especially the tracks. Outside of a few jumps, most are littered with unfriendly turns and obstacles. The weird thing is, you can climb anything but doing so disorients you to the point of stupidity. Pulling off tricks is incredibly simple and certainly not satisfying. Two-player is HORRIBLE. I'm not sure what the developers had in mind--I'm sure it wasn't this.
I suppose this game looked good on paper, but in execution its alt wrong. Pulling off enough quality tricks to earn a decent rating is difficult, at least until you learn to mash buttons like a madman. The coin-collecting mode is fun at first, since it gives you plenty of time to explore the game's massive tracks, but boredom sets in quickly. Visually, Air Boardin' USA is dull, its textures blah and repetitive. And you'll get sick of the music and announcer in less than five minutes.
A Back To The Fufure-style hoverboard 'sim' combining racing and stunts. An acquired taste - you might try it and like or hate it.