(Game Boy Color)

Xtreme Sports (Game Boy Color)

Game Review

Xtreme Sports Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Conor McMahon

Like, totally awesome

While WayForward is busy cooking up the latest instalment in the wonderful Shantae franchise, fans are sure to get a little bit impatient for more of that half-genie action. Although the original is available now on the 3DS Virtual Console, we’ve also recently been treated to something completely different in the form of the studio's very first Game Boy Color release. Xtreme Sports certainly marks a milestone, but is it worthy of remembrance in its own right?

There are five sports included in the title, all grouped under a competition set up by the vaguely ominous ‘Xtreme Cola Company’. Best friends Fin and Guppi are among the athletes invited to compete in an island-wide tournament, giving players the chance to test their skills in an extensive story mode with some very minor RPG elements. Think Mario Tennis and you’ll have the right idea, as you’ll mostly just walk around the island to challenge rivals and earn medals to unlock new areas. It’s a neat little system that helps expand on what could equally have been a standard sports title, adding a touch of adventure into the mix.

Even if sports games aren’t your thing, at least the events on offer here are non-traditional, with enough variety to interest the gnarly and the bogus alike. We have Skateboarding, Surfing, Street Luge, Inline Skating and Skyboarding, each with a variety of stages and difficulty levels to constantly mix things up. They’re all singular experiences, meaning that you won’t ever race or directly compete against your rivals. Rather, you’ll aim to beat their record on a certain track, challenging their speed, high score and the number of flags collected along the way. One challenger may have raced to the end of a skate course in under a minute, for example, neglecting to score any points at all and forcing you to do the same if you want to be even faster. This invites the player to adapt their tactics and look at courses differently, making the most out of each aspect of their performance.

Thankfully all of the events control very well indeed, and outside of story mode they can be played at any time by selecting ‘Practice’. You’ll get the chance to train during the main game as well, but we feel it’s worth putting time into learning the ropes before fully diving in. The story-mode explanations aren’t quite up to the task, so it’s really a matter of testing out the controls for yourself and getting a grip on some increasingly complex courses. You’ll need to learn how to gather arrow pickups while Skyboarding to assemble your own stunt combinations, or how to pull off a double jump while Skating to reach higher areas; that’s just for starters. Xtreme Sports makes full use of the Game Boy’s limited range of buttons, not to mention the collectable Twitchy Shakes which further boost your abilities. It all seems pretty overwhelming at first, but this adds up to a ridiculously satisfying pay-off when you manage to complete a difficult run with flying colours.

Save for Street Luge — which is played from a top down perspective — everything moves on a flat, 2D plane which keeps things on the right side of simple while allowing for some colourful environments to be included alongside multiple track layouts. Everything moves at a blistering pace, meaning that one mistake can potentially ruin an entire run. It’s less a realistic simulator and more so a fast, arcade-style fight for points. You’ll go from skyboarding through the clouds to diving into the mouth of an active volcano, you’re just that rad. Jarringly, traversing the island outside of events is just too slow-paced. The player character strolls along without a care in the world, so moving from one side of the island to another is kind of a chore. Further areas are unlocked with medals, anywhere from 30 to 300, but you won’t know exactly how much until you walk all the way over and ask the attendant. It’s a minor gripe, but can result in the overworld feeling a tad more unnecessary than it should on some occasions.

The visuals are fun and tropical, with detailed characters bringing that well-loved (and often scantily clad) WayForward style to every confrontation. A particularly fun touch is the slew of onlookers that will stand by the sidelines of most events, watching on in collective amazement or horror depending on your performance. The story develops, meanwhile, once you start meeting members of the Bone-Heads gang, a group of masked thugs who snuck onto the island without invitations just to cause some havoc. Sounds pretty Xtreme if you ask us, but they’ll also pose the most difficult challenge and serve to add a bit of intrigue to the basic plot.

Conclusion

It’s surprisingly fitting that the Xtreme Sports tournament is sponsored by a supercharged caffeinated soda, as playing the game can feel something like a sugar rush at times. The sports themselves are charged with energy, variety and depth, not to mention the fantastic visuals and challenging difficulty. The crash comes once you’re stuck sluggishly wandering around the island for a more manageable opponent or even the next area, and moments like that hamper what’s normally a frantic experience.

If you’re after something twitchy and unique then this is definitely a good choice, rewarding skill and offering a fun time whether you’re a sports fan or not.

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User Comments (19)

Kirby-life

#1

Kirby-life said:

I'm glad that I have some extra money on my eshop account. This game sounds pretty good, I think I'll pick it up.

unrandomsam

#2

unrandomsam said:

The first Shantae is great the Dsiware one is nowhere near as good. (But it seems they want any new entries to be more like the dsiware one sadly).

HandheldGuru97

#3

HandheldGuru97 said:

Love this game on my GBC, hope more get to play it now that is on the 3DS. for $5 it is a complete and utter steal (BTW I also got it for $5) Give it a shot everybody!

ColdingLight

#5

ColdingLight said:

Can someone please explain to me why an American developed video game released on GBC is already out in Europe but not in America? Jesus man... I'm honestly feeling like us Nintendo gamers here in America are inferior to our European counterparts. Like, honestly give me a good reason why this is more or less delayed in the States? The only thing I can think of is NOA is deliberately holding games back from being released here in the States for whatever reason. I don't know they're doing this.... Am I honestly the only one who's thinking of this? And am I the only one who's annoyed beyond belief? They just keep holding Virtual Console and digital released games back with no reason at all.

BulbasaurusRex

#6

BulbasaurusRex said:

It sounds like a great game, but the various sports on offer just don't sound very interesting to me. I'll pass.

Bass_X0

#7

Bass_X0 said:

Yeah, even if they're good representations of the sport, its still a sports game.

MeWario

#8

MeWario said:

@ColdingLight are you kidding me? I would kill for Cave Story on my 3DS and there's a little ol game called Shovel knight that I play in my dreams every night :( Not to mention your games are so much cheaper!... I guess we're both pretty hard done by.

ColdingLight

#11

ColdingLight said:

@MeWario Wha...? Cave Story is available in Europe...Lol...? As for Shovel Knight, it's coming worldwide. And given how good Nintendo of Europe is in terms of localization, You'll get it much sooner then you'll realize. Granted, We know that this game will come in a couple of weeks but it's still inexcusable. How would you like it if a European developed game was released only in America for awhile and not released in Europe? That'd be backwards as all hell to you I'd imagine. Plus, you guys have all these awesome Virtual Console releases and earlier releases and we don't even get a reason as to why it's not available stateside. Now, games being more expensive in Europe... Ok. That's something I can't defend. I don't know what to tell you regarding that. But the positive exceeds the negative. Plus, You guys are getting a Smash themed 3DS and we'd be lucky if we even got a yes or no over it coming stateside. What have you to complain about?

MeWario

#12

MeWario said:

@ColdingLight First of all, I bet my life that you guys get the Smash 3DS. It's like a time held tradition that you guys get it too, it's just announced later. Secondly, we don't have the superior Eshop version of Cave Story that everyone is holding out for. Thirdly, they were only two examples! I can give you a million more :P I think you just need to recognise that it's hard being a Nintendo fan everywhere sometimes.

ColdingLight

#13

ColdingLight said:

@MeWario As if. It's much more easier to be a Nintendo fan in Europe then in America. I mean, look at the Operation petitions if you want legitimate proof. And as for Cave Story, You more or less said Cave Story wasn't available in Europe when it actually is. Ergo, you're wrong. It may not be the specific version you want but you still have it. Plus, It's a free game on PC. (But I guess that's somewhat irrelevant.) And much like you (Minus the exaggeration.) I can name a million more reasons why you European Nintendo gamers have it far better then your American counterpart. So, I couldn't have disagreed more when you said It's hard being a Nintendo fan everywhere sometimes. You just don't realize how good you've got it. And lastly, as for the Smash 3DS bundle, I suppose only time will tell but looking at how the trend has gone for years, I doubt will get it.

Dodger

#14

Dodger said:

@ColdingLight I don't agree. Europe pays a lot more for games and gets a lot of delayed releases. They have a worse rewards program. They have put up with 50hz games since forever. Plus, it seems to me like countries other than England get worse service. Other than that, they get some sales and we get some sales.

It is a bit hard to judge Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe based on a few third party downloadable games, even ones that are really good like Cave Story or Shovel Knight. It isn't either company's fault that any third party has to go through the ESRB and PEGI and work with different people. If they can't do much about release dates for a really good downloadable game, it seems a bit hard to judge one or the other for a delay in Xtreme Sports, a game where anyone would be justified in assuming it is a bad game.

Xenoblade is the only real example I can think of for NoA doing a worse job, and I still think it was alright to assume that an unknown JRPG may not sell well, based on how many others had flopped. They waited until they had proof that the copies they made would get purchased.

Kaze_Memaryu

#16

Kaze_Memaryu said:

This sounds much more fun than I would've ever expected! Shame on me for doubting WayForward!

Henmii

#17

Henmii said:

Nice review and nice score. Looks and sounds like a fun game, so it goes on my download list.

Geonjaha

#18

Geonjaha said:

@ColdingLight - One old GBC game doesn't get released in NA on the same week as the EU and you claim that NA has it worse somehow?

  • Cave Story, an extremely popular and well received Platformer of recent years, took more than a year to get to EU consoles, after numerous iterations in NA.
  • Shovel Knight, another great game, still hasn't gotten to the EU after more than a month.
  • EU pays 50% more than NA do on purchases such as these. 50%. VAT is only 20%, and even then we still get utterly shafted.
  • On the Virtual Console front: EU is still waiting for 5 Mega Man games to come out, that NA got over a month ago.

The fact that you disagree with a statement as simple as "It's hard being a Nintendo fan everywhere sometimes." just shows that you're only focusing on yourself. Staggered releases suck, but don't pretend NA has it worse than everywhere else just because of two 20 year old games that haven't come out in less than a month.

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