Alpine Racer 3
Where shall we begin? Okay, let’s start off with the scenario. Sports games usually don’t really need a nice plot or a good story, but it does stand out if it does have one. Unfortunatly, no such luck. Alpine Racer 3 does start off with a promising intromovie though, promising you some outspoken characters and hefty moves. But does the gameplay live up to that promise, or to put it in other words: are movies makebelieve?
In the game you get the choice between 8 different, slightly stereotyped characters. From a small very likeable innocent little teenage girl named Chelsea, over a Jamaican rastaman José and Georg, a tall humorless Eastern European to the North-American bad-boy with muscles Brad Baxter. My favorite character was -of course- the French Meline Verlaine who wishes to ski down slopes wearing but her lingerie… hmmmmmm. Each of these characters has 2 outfits, neat, but not entirely credible… girls skiing in lingerie… in a tight kimono… ?
Now as you could expect, each character has different capabilities linked with its physical build: Chelsea for instance is very small, so she has virtualy no power, but that means that she has a higher agility when it comes down to turns and taking curbs. Our muscular American hero on the other hand is extremely powerfull but equally slow. Granted, one does feel the difference between the agility of the characters, but it’s clear from the start what’s going to happen: everybody just choses the best all-round racer… Why would I ever opt for iron-pumping Brad Baxter? Because of his power? Well… you don’t need it anywhere in the game, so why bother!
The game features 5 modes: Time Attack, Slalom, Cross Race, 1 on 1 racing for 2 players and the Extreme winners cup. All are equally boring except perhaps for the slalom events… at least there’s somewhat of a challenge, trying to cap as much flags possible. But that’s not quite enough. And what’s more, the Cross Race and Slalom are basically variations on the Time Attack mode. And of course, no continuing story or repeated plays.
As every PS2 owner knows, our controllers have a little shy of 20 buttons. Correct me if I’m wrong, but only 3 were used. The left joystick to steer, the circle button to jump or crouch (you can’t even choose) and the triangle to change the point-of-view. Not that the last feature is of any help, there are only 2 camera angles.
You would expect to be able to do some fancy jumping, Alpine Racer 3 being a sports/racing game… but no. Sorry, no can do! Only a few predefined jumps over which you as a player have no control. Tough luck. The game does it all for you. the only thing you need to do is steer.
Now… about the graphics. Sorry guys, it doesn’t do anything for me. Perhaps if the slopes were a little less boring and contain more variations, then the developers could have done something in the graphics departement. Now, it’s only white snow, some trees and obstacles and a town center at the end. Take the railroad tunnels for exemple, they are very very badly done. No details, fuzzy textures, bad design, stupid colours…
As for the sound department: well, the sounds are sufficient. Not out-of-the-ordinary, but at least they don’t suck as the gameplay does. A little more variation would have been nice, especially as far as the snowboard sounds are concerned. Now, a sports game usually has a commentator and so does Alpine Racer 3. Unfortunatly he restricts himself to repetitive mostly non-sensicle warnings. “If you keep going that way, you’ll hit a glacier!” is repeated over and over again. Now… correct me if I’m wrong… but I was actually skiing on a glacier, was I not?
In conclusion: Alpine Racer 3 is very easy: you just need to steer