Gadget Guru: Indoor Sports

Boarder Zone

Created by Housemarque in Finland, published by Infogrames

Players can choose one of four game styles: single, practice, arcade, and championships. Three resort/hill locations offer at least three courses each. Thrill seekers can jump boundary fences and charge off-piste. Choose from six boarders with abilities ranging from good to great. The lighting and shadow effects are excellent, as are the riding physics and graphics. The soundtrack is bumpin' and board selection for all terrain is good.

Boarder Zone is available for the Sega Dreamcast, PC Windows 95 and 98 versions, and the Nintendo Game Boy. The Game Boy color version has a “ghost” mode added so one player can race against himself. PC and Dreamcast versions have a good trick index.

Rippin' Riders

By UEP Systems for Sega Dreamcast

The three play modes-freeride (five-plus trails and a hidden track), superpipe (two halfpipes), and match race with a battle mode for two-player challenge-keep it exciting. Choose from six main characters and one bonus ripper. Customize the rider by picking gear, board, and riding style. The high-quality graphics and sound make for intense play. The soundtrack has a decent mix music to keep you jammin'.

Here's a fun feature: in the two-player match race mode, as you outdo your opponent with bigger and better tricks, your opponent's screen gets smaller and smaller until you knock them off the screen completely. With lots of combo moves and secret shortcuts to explore, this game should keep you occupied a while. Good trick index for combos.

MTV Sports: Snowboarding

By Radical Entertainment and published by THQ for Sony PlayStation

Select from five play choices: training, qualifying, MTV challenge (five different venues), head-to-head competition (timed and trick events), and a create-a-park editor to design your own park. Events include slopestyle, halfpipe, freeride, boardercross, and big air. Graphically a little better than before. Band sign-ons like Blink 182, H2O, Lagwagon, Ministry, and more make for a tight and pumping soundtrack. Maybe next year VH-1 will put out a snow game, too.

Coolboarders 4

By 989 Studios for Sony PlayStation

Sixteen pros signed up to help create this game an nine snowboard companies are represented. You can also create and design your own riders and boards. There're five mountains to choose from in Vermont, Colorado, Alaska, France, and Japan. Each has downhill, pipe, slopestyle, CB-X (Coolboarder-X), and big air, plus a special event. A new TrickMaster mode has three difficulty levels (you must master each trick or you don't advance). Graphically better then CB3, with replay slowdown, speed up, or stop motion to critique your run. Trick index was updated with the latest combo moves.

-J. Dredd