Xtreme Sports Hands-On Preview

The Infogrames published game will offer simulations of all things extreme, including mountain biking, sky surfing, ATV racing, bungee jumping, and more.

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This winter will bring yet another interpretation of the extreme sports game to light. Aptly titled Xtreme Sports, the Innerloop developed, Infogrames published game will offer simulations of all things extreme, including mountain biking, sky surfing, ATV racing, bungee jumping, hang-gliding, and snowboarding. The setup is that of a triathlon, with three of the listed events strung together on a course, causing the four contestants to, basically, scramble downhill on board or bike, hustle off cliffs on a hang-glider, and dart across the plains on an ATV. Or any possible combination of the events featured.

As the events are, in effect, races, contestants must hurry along the courses with as much zephyr as they can muster, all the while hot dogging substantially enough to score the vital trick points. Xtreme Sports features four contestants, of diverse nationalities: Raga, a Jamaican male, Cath, an North American female Jack, a British male and Nina, a Swedish female.

The build of Xtreme Sports we got to tool with seems surprisingly robust, as it was missing but two of the game's events. Several courses were available for play, as were each of the four characters.

All the events seem to place an emphasis on speed - a dynamic the game captures spectacularly. During snowboarding sequences, the environments zip by, and all the respondent atmospheric effects are accounted for: snow trails, powder clouds, even lens flares.Obviously borrowing many elements from past successful extreme titles, the game's control scheme will come as second nature to any thus versed. While the scheme changes slightly for every event, the boost button is ubiquitous to every event we played, allowing for a large increase of speed, whose use is regulated by a small meter. The hang-gliding controls are the most difficult to master, only because they differ so severely from the rest of the events. While hang-gliding, the shoulder buttons cause the glider to bank in their corresponding directions, allowing you to successfully navigate the slalom course the races are set on.

At this point, the control is a bit rough, overcompensating during certain instances, and under-compensating during others. Also, the collision detection is a bit off, especially during the biking and boarding events. Innerloop definitely has time to tweak these slight faults, though, so it's rather safe to assume that Xtreme Sports will be a solid, entertaining whole once it's release.

Xtreme Sports is gearing up for a December 2000 release, and will come complete with all the licenses appropriate for a game of its ilk: the clothing that covers the characters is modeled after European studio 55 DSL's line, and the music will be contributed by London's fine Ninja Tune imprint, with some particularly tasty cuts from DJ Food, among others. Look to GameSpot for continuing coverage.

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