Ubi Soft

Ubi Soft


Surf Riders Review

By: John Doe

I've got two words for you: Fender Gibson. If all of you guitar players out there think I've just jammed two famous brands together, you'd be half right. Actually, Ubi Soft did cause that's the name of one cool cowabunga dude in Surf Riders. And things go right down hill from there. Kind of. As bad as this game is, it's strangely compelling too. I don't get it, but every time I went to turn it off, I sat back down and said, "I can do better than this. I'm a video game reviewer." Like that's my battle cry now. Johnny Storm has "Flame on", Ben Grimm says," It's Clobberin' Time" and I squeal, "I'll take care of it! I'm a video game reviewer!" Unfortunately, I am a video game reviewer. Which means it's my job to play this game. For every Metal Gear Solid there are 1500 Surf Riders. Think about that.


One of the first things you'll notice about Surf Riders is that the graphics are ridiculously primitive, almost a throwback to the days of 16 bit games, meaning the graphics in the game are about 3 or 4 years out of date! All the surfers look practically the same, the waves look just terrible. All of the beaches look virtually the same save for a slightly different color of water in each. And the animation? It's even more pathetic then the visuals! Every thing in the game that is (supposedly) animated has so many missing cells of animation that it looks like the graphic designers took a huge hit of crack before they came in for work every morning. Simply pathetic. Forget 1st Generation Playstation visuals, this seriously looks like a Genesis game!

The sound effects in the game are just as bad as the graphics! The sound effects are a terribly dated throwback to pre-1st generation PSX standards, and the music is - well, a throwback to the '60s! What prompted the decision from Ubi Soft to use such dated music is beyond me, but nevertheless, it was a very ill conceived idea. The music selections all sound like bad clones of surfer bands of the 1960's and many of them just sound like a half-assed rendition Wipeout with a few chords changed so they don't get into copyright litigations. Wow, they're too slick for me, dude. Or not. For starters, if Ubi Soft was going to use this type of music, why didn't they do the smart thing and actually use the real Wipeout? And second of all, I hate to break it to the good people at Ubi Soft, but I don't think surfers don't listen to this type of music any more! From the sound of things, it looked like the graphic designers shared their crack with the sound developers too! All right, all right, the game's problems in the sound and visual departments probably can't be attributed to substance abuse of the developers, but there's got to be some explanation!

You have two possible ways to play, which are World Challenge Cup Mode and Challenge Mode. In WCC Mode, you travel to places all over the world, and take on a variety of the best surfers around, and try to score as many points as possible by 4 factors: The "hangtime" you get on a wave, the height and number of spins you make during an aerial, how long you stay in the tube, and how high the spray is when you first enter it. In the Challenge Mode, there really isn't any difference, except if you place in the top two or three, you can compete in more difficult heats that provide you with more time.

What's ridiculous is that the waves you have to ride are all almost exactly the same! Yet its still ridiculously hard, just because the controls are so damn hard to get a handle on! The main challenge of the game is getting a handle of the controls, and you'll find yourself playing for hours before you do. Once you get past the very steep learning curve, and if you can ignore the primitive graphics and sound, surprisingly things can get fun! There's a very odd addictive quality to the game once you get a hold of it, and you might find yourself playing for hours even though the game isn't particularly good or exciting.

The best way I can sum up Surf Riders is "pretty damn addictive for a game that sucks!" If you don't care about shoddy graphics and sound, and are strong-willed enough to get past the game's learning curve, you may actually have fun. But I certainly wouldn't recommend it for purchase. If you can bare to take the time to get a hang of it, it may be a fun rental though.






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