LGR – Snow Wave Avalanche Review [Extreme Wintersports Pt.2]


[typing] Extreme Wintersports.

Even though Head Games made a whole bunch ofutter trash over their short time on Planet Earth, this one managed to standout as one of the trashiest, largely in terms of its abysmal performance and lack of any compelling gameplay whatsoever.

But believe it or not, there's more to thisdysfunctional family, and here's the proof: Snow Wave Avalance, once again developedby Hammer Technologies, but *this* time it's published byIntense Racing Into Reality®! At least this 1998 Americanrelease I have right here is! Otherwise, it was released as "Snowboard Racer"in the UK and various parts of Europe, as "Tignes Snow Wave" in France, and rereleased as "Tech Deck Snowboarding"in the US in the year 2000.

Seeing as some of these came out*before* Extreme Wintersports, calling this a "sequel" isn't exactly true.

It's actually the original game that ExtremeWintersports was based on in the first place, although it may as well be a sequelfor reasons you'll see soon enough.

And, yes, Snow Wave Avalanche here also remainssealed for the better part of two decades with no signs of tampering.

Inside the box, you getsome things – including: A CD in a sleeve, one INTENSE registration card and a technical troubleshootingsupplement page, and the manual, which looks more impressive on theoutside than it is actually on the inside.

It's just a bunch of black-and-white text – more than anyone needs – but I applaud the effort! Starting the game up, and already *this* isan improvement over Extreme Wintersports.

Unlike that, this is installed and starts up perfectlywith no problem on each machine I tried it on! Huh! After a few static logos, you're provided alanguage selection menu and a spinning skateboard that changes patterns to match the flagof each country chosen.

This feature alone is an incredible work of artcompared to the entirety of Extreme Wintersports, and I grow more confused.

After this, the game proceeds to play a demoin the background, and some music off the CD – – and *this* time around, it's an actual musicalcomposition, with vocals and everything! ["Nothing in the World" byMatamala plays; ska music] ♪ I would rather jump from the Empire State /Like a superman ♪ And the game demo in the background is evenrunning decently! What the heck is going on?! This is the *earlier* game! How is this so much better than Extreme Dickholesports and we haven't even gotten to the main game yet? The unexpected quality increase continues with a menu filled with legitimate gameplay options! The options menu is also a*real* options menu this time, letting you change details, volumes, and even listening to the soundtrack,featuring music by the band Matamala.

It even includes a text file on the CDso you can read the lyrics while listening! And what nice lyrics in a game rated for all ages.

Anyway, once you've selected agameplay mode, you select a surfer.

And even though it contains several ofthe same models as Extreme Wintersports, it also gives them names, stats,additional skins and an animated 3D preview.

And WHAAAT?! You canactually select an opponent, too? Yep! Here you actually have the optionto not only play against the timer, but against your own ghost recordingor a gaggle of AI opponents.

Actual competition in asports game! Imagine that! Finally, there's the gameplay itself! Aaaand.

it's alright, I guess.

It's about the same.

I mean, it's still an improvement, seeingas it no longer runs like month-old butt, but even with the better frame rate andcontrol response time, it's still noting special.

You race downhill against the timer,yourself or artificial racers, and along the way, you can performstunts and tricks if you want to, which in some modes it's notimportant, but in others it is.

The controls are still annoyingly convolutedfor pulling off said stunts and tricks, but at least it's a bit easier herewith the game running as it should.

Heck, I was actually able to make someneat-looking stuff happen – TWICE – and I didn't feel absolutely dead inside afterward.

Still, it gets repetitious pretty quickly, seeing as there are likethree tracks in the whole game, and even with varying stats, thesnowboarders all feel basically the same.

And while the Extreme Tour modeprovides *some* structure to the races, there's nothing to unlock alongthe way, as far as I could tell.

And whenever you don't win a race,ALL your progress so far is lost and you have to start over.

Still, I can't help but admireSnow Wave Avalanche because *this* isdownright competent, almost.

It's still not exactly fun, and it still calls you a loser when you fail, but it works, dang it! And like it's quote-unquote "successor," it doesn't glitch out every five seconds and make a slide projector look likea next-generation gaming powerhouse.

Plus, there's no nonsensical brandingand totally useless pro shop area that does nothing but get in the way.

And like I said, it has a soundtrack! It's not exactly my style of music,but, I mean, it's not bad! Pretty much the *only* thing thatExtreme Wintersports has over this is the inclusion of skiing and snowmobiling, but that's not saying much,seeing as those were the modes that played the worstand glitched out the most.

The question is how did Head Games takea mediocre snowboarding game like *this* and somehow manage to make it even worse, and turn into one of the most awfulwinter sports games in existence? Well I have a theory.

And that is that Head Games was oneof the single worst game companies to have unfortunately ever existed.

You see, Snow Wave Avalanche was one of the earlier titles from thenewly formed Hammer Technologies, based out of Madrid, Spain.

This was a group of ambitious programmers and artists from Digital Dreams Multimedia and NoriaWorks Entertainment who previously made games like Jurassic War and Speed Haste.

With years of experience under their belt, Hammer Technologiescreated the DIV Games Studio, a programming language and game creationsystem meant to help simplify the process of creating games utilizing the latest3D graphics and sound capabilities.

The first title created to show off whatit could do was Tie Break Tennis '98 followed up shortly by Snow Wave Avalanche, both of which the developerswere vocally quite proud of and hoped they would help spawn aresurgence in new game development in their home country of Spain.


Enter Head Games Publishing, the lowest of low-budget arms of Activision, who at the time was stillpretty new on the scene and were content makingunofficial Quake add-on packs.

But then, with games likeCabela's Sportsman's Challenge, Remington Top Shot and Zebco Pro Fishing, they discovered the lucrative world ofsponsored content and branded video games.

Combined with a distribution dealwith stores like Walmart and Kmart, these games sold incredibly well dueto the low cost and brand recognition.

And even if the gameplay wasn'tup to snuff, who really cared? Head Games started snappingup licenses left and right and would cut corners any way they couldin order to get a game out as quickly as possible, sometimes as little as a couple of months.

And as fate would have it, there wasthe fresh-faced Hammer Technologies vying for distribution dealsfor their new Spanish games.

So Head Games ended up paying for therights to rerelease and rebrand their work turning their tennis game into Extreme Tennis, and their snowboarding gameinto Extreme Wintersports.

But while Extreme Tennis made thetransition more or less unscathed, Extreme Wintersports, heh, was a total bastardizationof Snow Wave Avalanche.

Once Head Games haphazardlytossed out the original menus and replaced them with worse onesto include Arctic Cat and K2 branding, and slapped some snowmobile andskier models on top of the snowboarders, then thew in a bunch ofcrappy full motion video to complete the packageand fill out the rest of the CD, what you're left with is a game thatbarely functions and runs like garbage.

They took a game that was pretty okay and then, in the leastamount of time possible, restructured it to be anadvertisement for their sponsors.

And I'm guessing they got rid of thingslike the AI opponents and extra modes because their piece of junksnowmobilers and skiers didn't play well together with the rest of it.

Which is evidenced by how *broken*this stuff is in Extreme Wintersports when it comes to collision detectionand overall control over your movement.

Man, I already *really* dislikedHead Games before this, but seeing what they did to SnowWave Avalanche here is just abysmal.

And don't get me wrong,I'm not exactly offended or anything, since it wasn't a particularlygood game to begin with.

But the fact that they found agame that actually kinda worked and yet still managed to take a hammer to it, and smash out *any* remainingcompetent design or personality, is just astonishing.

What a pile of snowballs! [lumbering orchestral music] And if you enjoyed this episode of LGR, perhaps you'd like to seemine on Extreme Wintersports.

It's a bunch o' junk.

There's also plenty of othervideos on the channel, as well as new ones comingout every Monday and Friday, so stay tuned if you'd like.

And as always, thank you very much for watching.