Jonny Moseley Mad Trix
Let's see...trick-charging control scheme? Check. Pyrotechnic light shows? Check. Music that fades when you catch big air? Check. Yep, Jonny Moseley Mod Trlx has copied SSX's formula in every way, right down to the white guy with the big 'fro. The only novelty here--besides the two planks of wood under your feet instead of a board--is the level design. Half the stages are set in real-world cities (like Las Vegas, Rome and Washington, D.C.) where Moseley himself always wanted to ski but couldn't because of pesky city ordinances and basic laws of meteorology. It's a neat idea, until you play it. You begin the game with plodding skiers; what's supposed to be a 50-mile-per-hour rocket ride feels more like a brisk power-walk at the mall with grandma. The control system suffers from a serious case of "grind-suck," too: Jab the grind button anywhere near an edge--even 10 feet away--and you get yanked to it like you're caught in a tractor beam. It makes for loads of disorienting moments when you catch air above multiple edges, which pull you to and fro as you try to grind. I figure the designers were trying to make the trick system as forgiving as possible (pulling off spins and flips is easier here than in SSX). But then why does my skier tumble at random? And why did it take a day for me to score high enough to finally reach the second level? Maybe these guys shoulda borrowed a few more gameplay ideas from SSX.
If there's one good thing you can say about Mad Trix, it's that the developers knew the only game worth ripping off is S5X. And rip it off they did, right down to the control setup and painted arrows on the turns. Unfortunately, they screwed up just about everything else. The first time I hit the grind button and watched my skier warp from one side of the screen to the other, that was it. In this game I've seen guys land on their heads and somehow keep going tike nothing happened, but then land square on their skis and bail. I've been turned around and found myself skiing back up the hill even faster than I was coming down.
At the outset of the game, Jonny conjures up a real noodle-scratcher: "What if it snowed in San Francisco?" By now, I'm sure he's sorry he asked. Apparently when it snows in San Francisco, some poor skiing sap tries to re-enact SSX as he careens off assorted debris and slowly oozes downhill (or uphill if you like, it doesn't seem to matter to the game). Meanwhile, to highlight your "sick" tricks, Bing Crosby belts out "extreme" cliches and street slang as eloquently as a Movietone recording. The whole damn experience is like watching your dad perform "Who Let the Dog Out?"--you want it out of your line of sight as quickly as possible.