Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild Impressions

Rainbow Studios' newest watercraft racing game, Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild, was on hand at E3 2003.

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We got a hands-on glimpse of THQ and Rainbow Studios' Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild at E3 2003. Rides Gone Wild is a Jet Ski racing game for the PS2. As the sequel to the original Splashdown game, Rides Gone Wild makes a number of improvements to its predecessor, beginning with the inclusion of water currents and waves. Instead of just flat water courses, Rides Gone Wild will have some courses with very strong water currents to deal with, as well as big, choppy waves that skilled players can use to get a lot of air under their Sea-Doo watercraft. Rider tricks will of course be a part of the game, as will the new vehicle stunts, such as somersaults and barrel rolls. You can mix and match rider tricks and vehicle stunts to pull off outrageous combo maneuvers in order to earn trick points. Counting all the different vehicle stunts and rider stunts, it will be possible to pull off more than 300 different trick combos. In most of the game's racing modes, doing tricks off every jump is necessary, as it builds up a special meter that gives your watercraft better speed and maneuverability the more the meter is filled.

The game includes more than 40 different tracks split up into different categories. Rides Gone Wild's eight outdoor tracks have an amusement park feel to them and will feature a number of animated environments to give you the feeling that you're driving your watercraft through a ride in an amusement park. One of the outdoor tracks has a pirate theme--on the first lap you'll see a pirate ship appear on one portion of the course. The second lap might show the pirate ship engaged in battle with some shore batteries. The third lap will show that the pirate ship has been blown up, and you'll actually ride your craft through a hole blown into the hull of the ship. The 12 indoor tracks will have a more technical racing feel to them--they'll feature tighter borders and require you to drive tighter lines. The game's 20 technical time-trial tracks will be even more strict, not requiring you to pull off any tricks at all, and your power meter will stay full at all times, giving you maximum speed and maneuverability. Finally, six freestyle tracks will have multilevel action, allowing you to pull off crazy stunts as you work your way up from one level to another.

Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild is scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2 in the late summer. We'll have more information on the game as it becomes available.

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