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By Charles Longer, Leisure Ninja

You know you're in for a treat when you fire up a game for the first time and get a THX sound check before the opening trailer.  If you have ANY sort of home theater system (and you've got your surround speakers set up correctly), this is one of the sweetest sounds you'll ever come across.  And if you've actually taken the time to use the digital audio output on the back of the PS2, well...yeah.  It's a surreal moment I can only describe as being bathed in sound.

But I digress.

SSX 3 carries on where Tricky left off with exceptional game play, improved character animation, stunning backdrops, easy player control, and the aforementioned superb audio.  The most notable improvement from previous versions of the game is track setup.  Like all racing games, you unlock new features/tracks in SSX 3 as you win races.  Unlike the older versions where courses are located in different parts of the world, SSX 3 is all based on the same mountain.  Once you have all the courses unlocked, you get to participate in a 30+ minute uber-race down the entire mountain.  Needless to say, it makes for a GOOD time.

I wasn't able to really get into the trick-intensive "Show-off Mode" because I don't have the patience to rack up millions of points on a half-pipe.  Don't get me wrong--I tried for a little while.  Like the newer versions of Tony Hawk, you're required to string your tricks together in order to get the huge multipliers needed to score big.  So...when you work hard to get a good run going and then blow it, it's hard to calm down and then get yourself psyched up to do it again.

Overall, the game has something for everyone.  Racing fan?  It's got you covered.  Trick fan?  Ditto.  Racing fan who likes flying over absurd terrain while trying to land ridiculously big tricks?  You can't go wrong with SSX 3.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


Chuck likes to hang out...when he's not taking care of his lovely, pregnant wife.


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09