JAGUAR: Val D'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding

From: John Daniels (ah499@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/30/95-01:49:08 PM Z

From: ah499@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (John Daniels)
Subject: JAGUAR: Val D'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding
Date: Sun Apr 30 13:49:08 1995

From: (Robert A. Jung)
Date: Sun Jan  8 18:30:57 1995
  Through the rain for a game of snow -- there's gotta be a joke in there
1-2 players
Atari Corp., for the Atari Jaguar
    Just in time for winter, VAL D'ISERE SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING arrives for
the Atari Jaguar video game system.  On the slopes of the world-famous French
resort, one or two players race down the hill while dodging trees, fences,
snowmobiles, and other hazards at over 100 miles per hour.  The slalom, giant
slalom, and downhill events offer practice and formal competition against
other athletes, while freeride mode lets snow fiends barrel down the mountain
versus the clock.
    Based on ElectroBrain's TOMMY MOE'S WINTER EXTREME for the Super Nintendo,
VAL D'ISERE is an uncomplicated game that successfully recreates the heady
rush of downhill skiing and snowboarding.  The emphasis is on speed and
excitement over realistic simulation.  Crashing into a tree at 90 MPH results
in a loss in time, instead of total elimination.  Controls are crisp and
responsive, with easy access to light and sharp turns, jumps, acceleration and
braking.  The default configuration is a bit strange, but ten controller
configurations ensure that players will find a scheme right for them.
    The difference between skiing and snowboarding is only superficial, but
the various game modes offer a healthy variety of gameplay.  Freeride is the
simplest form, where the main concern is to reach checkpoints to get more time
to finish the current run.  Adding to the variety are forks along the course
and different slopes, but the emphasis remains a race.  In formal competition,
the object is to pass through gates along the path and finishing early enough
to avoid elimination.  Subtle difference flavor each mode, from the slalom's
focus on sharp turns to the downhill's liberal speed allowances.  A
competition has its own set of five challenges consisting of three races each.
In training mode, however, players can only pick from the first race of the
first four challenges.
    Though VAL D'ISERE offers no difficulty settings, it's also fairly
forgiving.  For example, while collisions cost time, nicking an obstacle often
only results in a minor loss of speed.  That's not to say the game's a
pushover; the difficulty of later slopes and challenges increases at a fair
rate, with sharper turns, wilder peaks and valleys, and more obstructions
along the path.  Players' progress is saved to cartridge for freeride mode;
the manual mentions that progress in the competitions is also saved, but that
does not happen.
    The graphics and sound in VAL D'ISERE are high-quality efforts that fit
the game very well.  Visually, scrolling is fast and scaling is smooth, which
work together to truly convey the sense of wild speeds.  The terrain consists
of soft blurs of white and blue powder spotted with patches of dirt and ice,
all rushing against photorealistic backgrounds.  Foreground objects are
colorful sprites of near-digitized quality, while the far horizon allows
players to spot obstacles in plenty of time.
    Game sounds are understandably at a minimum: the rushing wind and breaking
snow are the most prevalent sounds, though other noises like tumbling falls
and starting buzzers are also used.  Complimenting this is the high-caliber
music, with a number of fast tunes playing during the action and more placid
themes between runs.  Finally, digitized voices, cheers, and effects round out
the audio perfectly.
    VAL D'ISERE SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING is a winter jewel -- a high-speed, no-
nonsense downhill game that's positively addictive to play.  Crisp controls, a
good variety of game modes, lovely graphics and beautiful sounds makes it the
king of the hill for video-game skiing titles.
                GAMEPLAY:        9
                GRAPHICS:        9
                SOUND:           10
                OVERALL:         9
  Rating values  10 - 8   Great! This game can't get much better.
                  7 - 5   Good. Average game, could be improved.
                  4 - 2   Poor. For devotees only.
                      1   Ick. Shoot it.

Return to message index