Amped 3 E3 2005 First Look

2K Games representatives told us they were taking Amped in a less serious direction. That might have been the understatement of the show.

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When we sat down with Amped 3 producer Matthew Seymour to get a look at Amped 3 and he told us that the development team was taking the series in a less serious direction, we weren't quite sure what to expect. The fact is, there's nothing that would have adequately prepared us for the approximately minute-long video montage that we saw next. We were struck speechless for a good 10 seconds after viewing the video. Then we laughed maniacally. In summary: The schizophrenic, jarring montage looked like something made by and for hardcore stoners with attention deficit disorders. The longer summary: Imagine a long montage that's part MTV and part Comedy Central in its randomness. It had sock puppets, Hindu imagery, nutty animated short skits, and other craziness...all crammed together.

So what does this all have to do with snowboarding? That's what we were starting to wonder. After the montage, the demo transitioned to a scene on a mountain, except there weren't any snowboarders on it. We saw two characters on sleds, attached to each other by a rope. This was a minigame that is meant to be played by two players. Since the characters were on flying saucer-type sleds (think upside-down trash can lids), you can control your sled by turning your character. Of course, the fact that you're attached to the other player affects your movement and direction. Both of you slide down a slope over nasty bumps and rocks. The goal of this minigame? Rack up as many injuries as you possibly can as you roll down the mountain. At the end of the slope, the score screen comes up, which shows a cartoony looking skeleton, with all the injuries piled up, highlighted, and scored by money. Then, a cartoonish doctor pops into the screen and declares the winner, whose six-figure medical bill will help him buy a new jet. The winner's skeleton is also crowned with a nice-looking tiara, while a Burger King-like paper crown adorns the head of the losing skeleton.

Are you confused yet? The entirety of Amped 3 is done up in this irreverently random style. If you were looking for a game that plays a straight game of snowboarding, it's pretty safe to say, at this point, that Amped 3 won't be it. If you're looking for a game that doesn't take itself seriously and is as likely to make you laugh or smile as it is to thrill you with some winter sports action, then Amped 3 is shaping up to be just that.

Later in the demo, we finally got a description of mountain levels, each of which will be more than four times larger than the mountains you played in the original Amped and Amped 2. There will also be alternate ways of getting down the mountain, aside from a snowboard, which is a not-so-subtle hint from Seymour of other craziness that will come from Amped 3. We also got a look at some actual snowboarding (imagine that!), with all the expected tricks, aerial acrobatics, and more. But in keeping with the random stoner theme that was slammed into our consciousness with an audiovisual sledgehammer at the beginning of the demo, you'll see flowers and other streaming graphics trailing behind your board as you grind rails, in addition to seeing animated halos (like an array of Hindu-style character arms) appear around your player as you perform aerial tricks.

It's unfortunate we don't yet have video that demonstrates this craziness, but stay tuned to GameSpot Sports for more on Amped 3, which will be released on the Xbox 360 this holiday season. And stay off the hallucinogens.

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