Wakeboarding Unleashed

June 19, 2003

In July’s issue of GMR Magazine, [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] was described as “If Tony Hawk Could Swim.” Obviously the aforementioned description was in reference to this games similarities to the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. Given the big name recognition of the Tony Hawk series I feel that it’s unfair to hype a relatively unknown game like this. A similar thing happened when Brute Force was hyped as the “Halo-Killer,” and obviously doesn’t even belong in the same rating scale as Halo. So will [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] suffer this reviewer’s wrath in the same fashion as Brute Force? Hell no, this game fucking kicks ass!

[heading]Who the hell is Shaun Murray?[/heading]

I’m a big fan of video games based on obscure sports. SSX Tricky is high on my list of all time favorites and I couldn’t name one professional snowboarder. Even going back to my Genesis days I thought EA’s Rugby was a classic. I can’t say that I am big fan of wakeboarding, in fact I don’t think I know the first thing about it, but I know that whenever I see clips of it on TV it doesn’t really look all that exciting.

That’s the beauty of video game world; they can take something not that exciting and make it an over-the-top, in your face action fest. [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] is the perfect example of this. The level design is creative, effective, and beautiful. You can grind on everything from moving 18-wheelers to power lines. Every level has enough unique aspects to keep you interested and wanting to desperately see what the next level has to offer.
[i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i]
I give the developer’s a gigantic thumbs up for the graphics on this game. I can only imagine the difficulty of designing an entire game based on the water. From what I’ve seen in the past water is usually one of the worst looking things visually in every game. I find the way the water and wake reacts to the boats movements as close to perfect as possible. Kudos Activision.

[heading]Required Accessories[/heading]

Before you being playing [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] I would recommend picking up some blood pressure medication, a stress doll and possibly a “break proof” controller. Yes, this is one of those games that will have you smashing your controller to the ground frequently, only to have you come back begging and pleading for more seconds later. To unlock different levels and increase character points you must achieve certain goals in the Groove Mode (free ride mode) or complete predefined challenges. Some of these challenges are seemingly impossible and it will take you a good hundred tries to complete them. The amazing part is that it never gets boring. Running through the same challenge for the hundredth time is just as much fun as it was the first time. On the “challenge scale” [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] is as close to finding the perfect balance between too easy and too hard that I have ever encountered.
[i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i]
[heading]And That Rope You’ve Been Hearing So Much About[/heading]

If you’ve heard anything previously to this review about [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] I’m sure that you’ve heard something about the rope. I won’t lie to you; the physics of this thing are unbelievable. You’ll almost feel like you’re really strapped to the back of a boat. You can glide into a turn and build up speed to make a huge launch off of a quarter pipe, and if you don’t think the rope is restricting your airtime, just let it go. You can use the ability to let go of the rope to set up huge catapult launches, bust a few flips, show off some nice grabs and than catch the rope on your way down.

[heading]Xbox Top 10[/heading]

I would consider this one of the best ten titles to own for Xbox right now. I know that’s a pretty lofty claim, but I can make it with full confidence that this game will not dissapoint. If you’re a fan of Tony Hawk you are sure to love this game, and even if you’re not (like myself) [i]Wakeboarding Unleashed[/i] rocks the house.