Cool Boarders 4
|a game by||989 Studios|
Seems like the Cool Boarders lineup has been around ever since the Playstation came out. When Cool Boarders 3 came out it was a big visual improvement in the series. But while the graphics improved, the controls got worse. Well, before the programmers had a chance to stretch their fingers, their bosses at 989 & Idol Minds must have cracked the whip on ‘em and had them busy writing code. Whatever happened, it worked. The end result is that has fixed any trouble spots from CB3 and made last year's improved graphics even stronger.
There are six mountains to choose from with five different events: Slope Style, Big Air, CBX, Downhill, and Half Pipe. Slope Style is one of my favorites -- you head down a slope full of jumps, trees, cars, picnic tables, and other objects to jump on, jump over, and generally abuse. Big air is a couple of smaller jumps leading up to a huge jump where you try to complete as many tricks as possible before landing. CBX is a race downhill against three other snowboarders through flagged gates. Downhill is also against three boarders, but this time you pick any path down the mountain and, while you can do tricks while heading down, the object is to be first to the bottom. Half Pipe is a timed run through very, very long halfpipes. This year's version is better visually than any of the previous versions, with 7-UP graphics (crisp & clean). The boarder’s moves seem more realistic and, most importantly, your favorite slider has become easier to control. CB3 was a graphical improvement over the first two, but the snowboarder response to player input was slow at best. Well, in CB4 the boarder turns right when you want it to, so the controls feel a lot more responsive. The moves and tricks have also been altered so they look more realistic. A nice touch was the inclusion of spin control, what a concept! In CB3 if you got air and spun (except in the halfpipe) you prayed to land it without crashing. In CB4, you can stop your spins by releasing the spin button. The boarder just completes the rotation and lines up the landing.
Another, albeit marginal, improvement is that you no longer have to play a character from a pregenerated eclectic mix of characters. You can create a boarder by inputting all of the normal physical characteristics, picking out clothes, and also picking the graphics and attributes on your very own custom board. The other choice is to choose a professional boarder. Of course, like the mountains, boards, and event choices, you start with a limited selection. Unlock more choices by achieving certain goals (or by entering the cheat code). I would have liked to have seen a bigger variety of moves, more individuality, or signature moves (as seen in thevideo game) to separate the different pros from one another.
Graphics & Audio
These graphics are good. The background didn’t seem to have a depth to it, although it was crisper and of a higher resolution than before. Creating a three dimensional background using only white and off white (didn’t see any yellow) for snow is probably tough. The tricks are improved, with the boarder looking more realistic when performing the various moves. Watching a replay of a good run is always fun and for your best moves they’ve even added slow motion. The sound effects are okay. Seems like they’ve just reused the sound effects from last year, from the "if it’s not broke" school of thought I suppose. The music is not noticeably bad or annoying, it’s just not very good.
I enjoyed playing this game. I have CB3 and this game is a lot better. They’ve done a good job making the game seem more like the real deal. Well, okay, it’s not really like going snowboardin’, but the game’s at least closer to N64’s. There are plenty of modes, new boards, mountains, and pros to unlock so what are you Powder Heads waiting for? If you can’t have the real thing, then this game may be your best option.