1080: Avalanche Hands-On

Nintendo is showing off its upcoming GameCube snowboarding game at E3, so of course we took it for a spin.

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One of the titles on display at Nintendo's E3 booth is its upcoming snowboarding game, 1080: Avalanche. Slated for release this summer, 1080 is looking pretty polished at this point, and while it's superficially similar to EA's SSX series, it plays quite differently once you get your hands on it.

1080 is easy to pick up and play. You can plant your feet and jump to catch air off ramps, and then perform a variety of tricks in midair using simple button combinations. But watch out, because not only do you need to land on your feet, but you also need to land solidly--otherwise, you'll lose your balance and will need to swirl the analog stick to regain it. 1080 features some pretty good-looking bails for when you land wrong or run into something. You'll see your boarder all covered in snow, which will gradually fade as you get back on your feet and continue your run.

The demo track we tried wasn't especially long, but it packed in a couple of great jumps and delivered a great sense of speed. The camera uses a nice, subtle zoom-in effect when you pull off a trick in midair, and you can see speed lines streaking by and your boarder's clothes rustling in the wind as you make your descent.

We were impressed with 1080's gameplay and are impatiently awaiting the game's release. After all, it's the sequel to the well-received 1998 snowboarding title for the Nintendo 64, and its solid play mechanics and good-looking visuals should be just the ticket to help cool down during the dog days of summer. 1080 is nearly finished, but stay tuned for more information leading up to the game's release.

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