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  Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer
Overview
Featuring 6-time World Champion Kelly Slater, Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer lets you experience the rush of big wave surfing and the pro surfer lifestyle, as you travel to 13 of the most well-known surf destinations on your quest for the perfect wave. Surf as Kelly or one of 8 other top pros at the world's best and hugest breaks.

Game Play
While surfing is perhaps the original “extreme sport”, I don’t think that it has caught on and become as mainstream as skateboard, snowboarding, BMXing or motorcross riding, at least not in the gaming world. And I think that this is for one reason – no matter how hard the developers try, they are going to be limited by the main characteristic of the sport – waves. In skateboarding games, for example, the only limitation to designing each level is the developer’s imagination. In surfing games, all you have to work with is a wave. And while the waves in Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer are varied depending on location, it does not take long before you are able to adjust your playing to the wave variances and it seems as though you are playing a skateboarding game and constantly hitting the same half-pipe over and over again.

There are 3 basic types of tricks in the game, air, face, and barrel tricks and each can only be performed on the 3 separate sections of a wave. This provides players with a vast amount of different types of tricks that can be performed. The same combination of button presses will perform different tricks, for example, if you are in the barrel as opposed to in the air. Then there is the “Special Meter”. This is the bar that increase as you perform more and more tricks and when it is maxed out, you are pull of crazy combo “special” tricks that will score you BIG points. This is a challenge at first, until you realize you can just hop up to the lip of the wave at any time and fill the special meter up with just a few easy moves.

There are 3 main types of modes of play in KSPS. Career mode, Freesurf mode, and Multiplayer mode. In Freesurf mode, there are games such as Infinite Time, High Score, and Icon Challenge. In Multiplayer mode, there is Head-to-Head, Push, and Time Attack games. But the best mode, mainly because this mode allows you to earn new boards, increase your abilities and open new surfing “breaks”. The career mode is set up to be like a boat trip around the world where you hit all the best surfing spots. Each location has certain objectives like scoring a specific amount of points, hitting different thing in the water, or landing a certain list of tricks. For attaining these objectives, you are awarded attribute points and of course new boards. My favorite payoff though is the Full Motion Video footage of real surfers performing their tricks, which is narrated by Kelly Slater.

Summary
All in all, while I’m not a big surfing fan, I must admit that you really get the sensation of cutting through the water while playing. You can feel shift in momentum when your rider starts heading down the face of a wave and picks up speed. However, Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer’s random waves, stunning visuals, and amazing physics don't entirely overcome its repetitive nature or lack of difficulty. While Activision did a good job, I just don’t think that surfing translates very well into a videogame.

Review ID Number: 486
  Product Details
Activision
Review Date: 2003-01-08
Reviewer: Shawn Sardy
Rating: 8 out of 10
 
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