Tony Hawk's 2 really has opened up the possibilities for extreme sports games, meaning that Championship Surfer couldn't be appearing in a better climate. It still manages to land on its arse, though. The first thing that hits you is the music. Where Tony Hawk's offered a fabulous blend of Rage Against The Machine, Papa Roach and Public Enemy tracks, Championship Surfer could have come with classics from Dick Dale, The Lively Ones and modern day surf bands such as Man or Astroman or The Mermen. Instead the music is an appallingly synthesised bastardisation of surf. You can just imagine it playing in the background of a rubbish '60's Hannah-Barbara cartoon, with cardboard cut-out kids having a beach party and dancing.
The usual selection of game modes - head-to-head, stunt mode, championship, arcade - are introduced by a shabby interface and never quite capture the imagination. The learning curve is quite steep and involves falling off your board as you try to stand on it for the first couple of hours. Once you start learning the tricks it doesn't really get any more exciting. There's no feeling of exhilaration - so important in extreme sport simulations - to the point that it might as well be a rope-skipping sim. The below-par graphics don't help either.
The developers should know what they're doing since they're Australian, but perhaps they spent all day cruising waves, smoking joints and eating Tim Tams instead of coming up with a good game. This is the most advanced surfing simulation ever made for the PC, but then again there are hardly that many of them, are there? You'd still be better off getting an emulator and playing California Games.
Download Championship Surfer
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP