Visual Concepts think it's soooooo coooool, just cause it's able to make a game that has one sport, like basketball or football. Well, IN YOUR FACE! Innerloop has just released a game that has six -- count 'em -- different events stuffed into one single GD-ROM. Six! It takes Visual Concepts a year to make ONE game and Innerloop has made SIX of them in one game! XTREME SPORTS! And you know what? They're all freakin' extreme. No, they're better than that -- they're all XTREME!!! See, the lack of the "E" means that they're much tougher than a simple "extreme" game. Xtreme gamers don't have time for things like protective headgear or proper spelling! They're too busy being xtreme down the sides of mountains or up in the air! Too bad that the whole package is xtremely average in terms of gameplay.
Hey, you! Pansy! You think you know sports, just 'cause you've got a Dreamcast? You think you're tough because you play rad games like NFL2K1 and NBA2K1? Wrong! You're a puss! You're not extreme, excuse me, xtreme at all! You stick to your one wimpy little sport, filled with helmets and pads and time outs, while the rest of us manly types are combining three or four or five sports IN ONE EVENT! Eat it! While you're wasting time driving to flip a little piece of plastic through a net or throw a ball through a hoop -- my granny can throw a ball through a hoop -- we're snowboarding down a mountain, jumping on to a hang glider, flying through balloons, falling onto a mountain bike, jumping over rocks and then bungee jumping off of bridges. Whaddya think of that? Unh!
There are six different events in the game. ALL of them are XTREME! There's snowboarding, but not just regular snowboarding -- XTREME SNOWBOARDING! Players whip down the mountain, grind a few rails, hit a few jumps and do a few lame tricks. Then there's mountain bike racing -- XTREME MOUNTAIN BIKES, that is! They're like regular mountain bikes, but louder and with less agility! It's like steering a collection of lead pipes through a dirt track while trying to do a bunny hop. There's also XTREME SPEED GLIDING! You fly through the air and try to avoid big balloons! Yargh! Then you can jump on an all-terrain vehicle for some XTREME ATV RACING! And XTREME BUNGEE JUMPING! And XTREME SKY SURFING! Plus, you can punch the other racers in the face! Whoa!
Xtreme Sports' cutest feature is that the player doesn't simply compete in one event and then move on to the next. This is no California Games, monkeyboy, this is Xtreme Sports! After players swoosh down to the bottom of the snowboarding run, they need to bang on the buttons with xtreme speed to make their athletes run over to the speed glider or ATX or mountain bike. Xtreme Sports mixes wacky extreme sports events with Iron Man-style endurance tests. We'd call it a triathlon (as the Iron Man is), but some of the later competitions roll four or five events together. It's more of an Iron Man for your thumbs, really.
Each of the different events is decent, not great. But when you consider that there are six different games, most of which are wildly different from each other, you have to give props to Innerloop for being able to crank out a game that lets you tumble through the clouds attached to a sky board, bungee off the side of a bridge and jump over moguls on a snowboard. As we've come to expect from Dreamcast titles, Xtreme Sports is pretty to look at, but unlike deeper sports games, it's only good for about 10 to 15 minutes of play time before you've had enough. It's not that Xtreme Sports is a bad title, it's just that, like so many other Dreamcast titles, it's an xtremely short game. There's really not much to the game to compel players to goof around with it for more time. Two of the sports -- bungee jumping and sky surfing -- are locked, which forces the player to go through the competitions in order to open them, but the payoff isn't necessarily worth the xtreme effort.
What really pushed us over the edge in terms of not liking the game is the fact that the button schemes seem to change radically from event to event, which can be confusing as the player switches between them in the midst of a challenge. Also, the player needs to do tricks while racing in order to boost speed and earn points, and the entire trick system is almost counter-intuitive. Attempting to bunnyhop on the ATV requires the player to press up twice on the controller, followed by the trick button. A back flip on the mountain bike is done by hitting left, up, down and the trick button. Where most "extreme" sports these days are making tricks more comprehensible to the player (Tony Hawk 2's trick system is the best example), Xtreme Sports seems to have gone out of its way to be as obtuse and Tekken-ish as possible.
Bottom Line: At last, a game that lets you live out your fantasy of being one of those xtreme dudez from the "Do The Dew" commercials. And, like a Mountain Dew commercial, the fun ends after 30 seconds or so. Pretty, but shallow.