Alpine Racer 3 (PS2) - Tom Knowles - 3/10

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Alpine Racer 3 [game information] Version Tested: PAL Genre: Sports Publisher: SCEE Developer: Namco

There are some games you just can’t stop playing, that draw you in deep and keep you there right to the end and beyond. These are the games that you will find yourself thinking about when at work, in the pub, watching films – all the time. They may even encroach upon your sleep and invade your dreams. Alpine Racer is not one of them. In fact unless like me you were going to review the game it is hard to imagine why you would play the game at all. Perhaps as a form of self harm? And so to it……

Alpine Racer 3 is an extreme sports racing game in the style popularised by the Cool Boarders series on the Playstation. Choose one of the 7 characters (some of whom would be at home on Dead or Alive or Soul Calibur), put on some ski’s or strap on a snowboard and race you opponent down snowy mountain slopes at breakneck speeds remembering to avoid avalanches, trains and other pitfalls whilst pulling off enough stunts to earn the lucre for some fancy new gear. Innovatively this involves a tricky combination of slamming left or right on the control stick and holding down O on the straights. Follow these instructions and in less than an hour you will have won the Extreme Championship Cup. Hurrah.

Next up to tempt you back is the allure of finishing the game with different characters. Or perhaps you’ll fancy a shot at the Cross Race? A wee go on the slalom course? Try beating your best time on the time attack mode? No. No, because you’ve already hurled this game out the window having unselfishly chosen not to return this pap to circulation where some unsuspecting victim may purchase it along with their first console (well it would be a PS2) and think for one second that this is what gaming is all about.

Thankfully gaming is not about creaky visuals that would be embarrassed and out of place on the PSone. Neither is it a necessity to gnash your teeth in time to some gratingly bad music wandering how someone has managed to make a mess of controls which boil down to three commands; left, right and faster. It is not essential to navigate ugly, garish menu’s, nor listen to pointless and irritating commentator’s - the source of witty remarks like: “Well that was good…..not!” How we laughed.

With any luck you will be sat in front of Tony Hawk’s or Dave Mirra marvelling at the control you are able to exert over your character. You will perform tricks of your choice accessed through skilled button combinations or frenzied button bashing. It is unlikely that you will fly off a ramp in order to artlessly auto-perform another underwhelming grab or flip.

A good sensation of speed is about all that Alpine Racer has going for it but then it must be child’s play to chuck these crappy textures and blocky models around at high speeds. Two player races could have been a giggle but these are sadly marred by sloppy controls, awful visuals and unimaginative courses.

Is it really this bad? Yes, but don’t be alarmed: listen to the sage words of Gamestyle’s dedicated reviewers and all this can be avoided; your gaming life can be rich, varied and colourful, blissfully devoid of enemies of entertainment like Alpine Racer 3.

Game Score: 3/10 Reviewed By: Tom Knowles