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1080°: Avalanche (JP) is the sequel to the popular Nintendo 64 snowboarding game, 1080° Snowboarding. It was released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2003 and includes the characters from the previous game and some brand new ones.

Gameplay

Being a racing game, your objective is to get from the beginning of the course to the end in first place. The whole course is downhill, and there are no laps. As in most snowboarding games, you are able to perform special tricks while in the air, and doing so will raise your jump meter. Backtracking is impossible, however. There are moments where your character gets thrown off balance (which causes the music to stop). To restore balance, rotate the control stick clockwise if the meter goes left or counter-clockwise if the meter goes right. If the player is successful in restoring their character's balance, the balance meter flashes green and the player can continue as the music is restored. Failure knocks your character down and subtracts from your life meter as a red cross appears, but still restores the music assuming this doesn't drain the life bar completely; otherwise, it's an automatic loss.

Most courses have a banner that reads things like "End of Course", "End of Run", or "Course End" over the finish line, which is always a red strip. Whenever the players cross this line, they have finished and stop.

Solid ice increases your speed but makes you too fast to stop quickly. Powdered snow slows your movement down, making stopping easier.

In Match Races, players race against the computer, proceeding if they win and losing lives (represented by lift tickets which break in half for each lost life) if they lose, their boards are thrashed from too many hazards striking them (represented by a health bar that depletes with damage sustained), or, in boss stages, their time runs out. If the player wins, this guarantees that the view would start behind their back and cut to in front of them during their stop. Upon losing, there is a chance that the camera starts to the character's side and pans around to their front. If the player wins, they get to see the AI player (who at that point has lost) cross the finish line and sulk. Multiplayer is almost the same, except the second player is another human player.

Time Trials allows you to go down the mountain on your own and hides five golden coins that must all be obtained to get closer to unlocking new boards. (You get one step closer to getting new boards per course where you obtained all five.) However, your real goal is to get down the mountain with the fastest time.

In Gate Challenge, players have to follow a certain route, lest they run out of time and lose. (They regain two seconds for every gate they go through.)

Trick Attack is a mode where you perform stunts on courses designed for them.

Development

Ever since the original game in the series was released, the producer of the game, Shigeki Yamashiro of Nintendo in Japan, explained that the extreme sports genre had become very popular in America. Their goal when developing the game was to take the concept of the original and add a more "extreme" approach to it.

Because the new game was on the GameCube rather than the Nintendo 64 the developers over at Redmond were able to push the hardware and offer improved features from the original and brand new ones. They did multiple experiments and went through trial and error and eventually came upon the idea for the avalanche. When shown at E3 2002, the game was called 1080: White Storm, similar to the GameCube's Wave Race.

The creators used motion capture for the playable characters in the game. The scenery was of course all made from polygons. In order to "strengthen the nature of the environment" (Trevor Johnson, artist), they included more animals. Initially, they planned to include weather and the time of day as they did with Wave Race: Blue Storm, though time constrains didn't allow for it.

Programmer Jonathan Johnson said that on the technical side of things they didn't have a problem since they had already created one game on the console and assisted in three others, they didn't have much of a problem, though including the LAN option, which barely any GameCube games have, it posed a challenge.

When it came to the avalanches, the developers had to work on various things such as music, programming, sound effects, and art. The team watched a documentary on snowslides and had to make sure the avalanches didn't make the processing too intense because they wanted to make sure the avalanches looked realistic.

Almost everyone on the team didn't know how to snowboard. Two designers, Jonathan Johnson and game designer Richard Vorodi, went snowboarding one week for research on the game. Jonathan ended up going to the hospital after being injured. He said that while he healed quickly, it was hard to use the keyboard which was required for programming for a few weeks.

Characters

  • Ricky Winterborn is the game's main protagonist, with his colour being a shade of turquoise. He has balanced stats.
  • Rob Haywood is the leader of the group, with a lime green marker despite not wearing the colour. He functions the best in the Trick Attack game, as his jumping ability is the best.
  • Akari Hayami is the only returning female, with her colour being pink. She has the best turning ability, which makes her the best suited for the Gate Challenge.
  • Kemen Vazquez is a new character. He has better speed than his fellow riders, so use him in Match Races.
  • Tara Hunter is a new character. Her acceleration is the best, but she isn't doing so well, so use her if you want to experience something challenging.

Courses

Categories

  • Ski School is an Enter the Cold course, which takes place on a bunny hill, and is the only one in the whole game.
  • Easy Life courses take place on typical downhill runs.
  • Angel Light courses take place in dark cities with lighting marking the path (Frosty Shadows being an example) or a forest (Treetop Trauma being an example).
  • Aspen Lake Dam courses have frontier themes, sometimes having wooden structures that collapse as you approach them. They do not appear in the Novice category.
  • Ride Easy Railways courses involve a railroad. They do not appear in the Novice category.
  • Frozen Mêlée courses are completely backwoods themed, with nothing that marks their endpoint besides the finish line. Only two courses exist in this category: Sick with It and Wit's Thicket. The name contains a misspelling of the French term Meslée.
  • Boss courses (marked in "Bold") are completely backwoods. Despite their name, these courses have you go down the mountain all alone. Watch out for avalanches on your way down, though. They are only available in the Match Race mode.
  • Trick Attack courses are available in the Trick Attack mode, where no other course is available. They are unavailable in other modes. Their only purpose is for stunts. Only three of them exist in the game.

Novice

The courses in this category are designed for beginners and are thus easy on difficulty.

  • Ski School (Enter the Cold) -- The introductory stage in the game. The song that plays in this course is "Good Times" by the band Finger Eleven.
  • Tenderfoot Pass (Easy Life) -- Race down a mountain. Designed to teach players about sudden drops. There is a grinding rail after the first drop. This course uses the song "Killing Me" by Cauterize.
  • Frosty Shadows (Angel Light) -- A race through a dark city. The streetlights provide lighting for the track. Listen to Point A by the band Socketzero on your way down.
  • Spinal Damage (Sub-zero Assault) -- A Race down a mountain against the clock. The player heads through a shed that blew up. Song: SquidD's "A Matter of Time".

Hard

The courses in this category are somewhat hard.

  • Power Threat (Easy Life) -- A harder version of Tenderfoot Pass that makes faraway objects invisible until you get within a certain distance of them and may cause small camera distortions. This course's song is "Other Light" by Finger Eleven.
  • Treetop Trauma (Angel Light) -- Race through a forest, but be careful in the log cabin! Socketzero's "Friendly Fire" plays here.
  • Grits and Gravy (Aspen Lake Dam) -- Race through a mountain with some green ice. Be careful when the bridges collapse! Don't worry about the campers near the end; at the bottom, the grass will catch your snowboard, slowing you down. "Handful of Redemption" by Boysetsfire can be heard here.
  • Trestle Trouble (Ride Easy Railways) -- A race down the mountainside. To the left, a train chugs past on a bridge that the racers go under. SquidD's "Don't Stop Now" is used for this course.
  • Ballistic (Sub-zero Assault) -- You have two minutes and fourteen seconds to get down, but be careful on your way down the mountainside. Rockslides are going to ruin your day. To make matters worse, an avalanche that can instantly kill you has started! The song during your time in the course is "Pretty Neat" by Socketzero.

Expert

The courses in this category put your skills to the test, being very hard.

  • Revolution Cliff (Easy Life) -- An even harder version of Tenderfoot Pass that lasts even longer while "7 8 9" by SquidD plays.
  • Midnight City (Angel Light) -- Do not get entranced by song "Rookie" by BoySetsFire on your way down! This level is an even harder version of Frosty Shadows that has the player cross a road with cars and avoid persons on the way down in a large area. Go left at the last split path to keep your nose out of that dining hall, too. (You need to get onto the raised platform at the right and not fall of the overhang to do so, though.)
  • Rotted Ridge (Aspen Lake Dam) -- A harder version of Grits and Gravy that starts within the remnants of a collapsing shed that collapses even more quickly if someone hits the shed's framework. Be careful on your way out! There is also a rockslide in the large area. The song here is "Yuiop" by Socketzero.
  • Ride Easy Railways (Diesel Disaster) -- Quickly escape an automobile pileup on your way down the mountain. The second half of the course has mist that reduces your visibility. 8711 is here to accompany you with his song "Beat Me Beat Me".
  • Sick with It (Frozen Mêlée) -- This course puts your skills to the test! Find the correct way to go while listening to Socketzero's hit "Pear Spawn"! (In Match Races, you race a Doppelgänger.)
  • No Way Out (Avalanche Alley) -- Something caused massive snow buildups to burst! Quickly go down the mountain and you will escape hell!

Extreme (secret)

The courses in this category put your skills to the test and are mirrored versions of previous courses in the Hard and Expert courses.

  • Top Tree Mama (Angel Light) -- A mirrored version of Treetop Trauma. "Friendly Fire" by Socketzero plays here.
  • Treble Tussle (Ride Easy Railways) -- A mirrored version of Trestle Trouble with "Don't Stop Now" by SquidD playing.
  • Evolution Riff (Easy Life) -- A mirrored version of Revolution Cliff with SquidD's "7 8 9".
  • Sid's Night Midi (Angel Light) -- A mirrored version of Midnight City with "Rookie" by BoySetsFire.
  • Dazzlin' Teaser (Ride Easy Railways) -- A mirrored version of Deasel Disaster with 8711's "Beat Me Beat Me".
  • Wit's Thicket (Frozen Mêlée) -- A mirrored version of Sick with It, complete with Socketzero's Pear Spawn. (In Match Races, you race a Doppelgänger.)
  • Outway Knoll (Avalanche Alley) -- The final and hardest track.

Reception

It received a score of 7.5/7/5.5 from Electronic Gaming Monthly: Dan Hsu, the first reviewer, said: "You can't beat its cornea-stripping sense of speed". While Hsu found fault with the game's trick system, it was severely criticized by third reviewer Shawn Elliott, who believed that "Avalanche [...] can't compete with SSX 3".

Trivia

  • The Ballistic course in the Hard level is the only Sub-zero Assault course that has an avalanche that the player must outrun. (Spinal Damage doesn't have an avalanche chasing the player, and the only other two boss courses that have avalanches are both categorised as Avalanche Alley.)

External links

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