In the mid to late 90s sports video games were an open market. It was a time when seemingly any company could publish whatever sports title they wanted, which kept EAvil companies from monopolizing every sport known to humanity. This was good for the consumer as it meant developers actually had to try harder with each installment, instead of merely updating rosters for each subsequent year. However, this left developers fighting for an ever-dwindling slice of the same pie, causing developers to turn to up and coming sports such as snowboarding, giving birth to titles such as MTV Sports: Snowboarding.
Developed by Radical Entertainment, a company whose name fit perfectly in the 90s, and published by THQ, MTV Sports Snowboarding hit store shelves in late 1999. Radical Entertainment would go on to develop quite a few really good titles, as THQ would also go on to publish many good titles, but MTV Sports Snowboarding however will most likely not be remembered as one of them. The biggest marketing draw to the game was the fact that MTV put together the soundtrack. As a matter of fact, if you didn’t even want to play the game you can simply go to the options and listen to the soundtrack on your own terms.
From what I can recall of playing this game as a kid it wasn’t very fun, and playing through it for this review just proved those memories to be accurate. By the time this game was released Cool Boarders was already four games strong, as a matter of fact Cool Boarders 4 had just released a little over a month prior to MTV Sports Snowboarding. So I took it upon myself to compare them back to back. The good things I can say about MTV Sports Snowboarding is, it is snowboarding and it looks fairly decent. The controls are pretty good, with the exception of being locked in once you hold the button to get ready for a jump, but pulling off tricks isn’t hampered by the controls.
When you start the game you’ve got pretty much everything unlocked from the start. I searched through my memories cards to find my old saves for this game but couldn’t, and I think the reason why is because I deleted it to make room for a better game. I really don’t know what else to say other than it’s snowboarding. You choose the boarder, the board, which downhill track you want and you try your best to perform tricks. Remember when I said tricks weren’t hampered by the controls, well they aren’t, they’re hampered by the environment. Even if I lined up a jump well and managed to land it, there was always something right there to prevent me from carrying on and setting up for another jump. Since Cool Boarders came out just over a month before MTV Sports Snowboarding I spent some time with it too, and while many things need to be unlocked I can say without a shadow of a doubt MTV Sports Snowboarding pales greatly in comparison to Cool Boarders 4 in every single way.
Now you have to remember this is a game I grew up with, this is a game I played and played often because I couldn’t go out and buy a new one. As a matter of fact I didn’t even pay for my copy of this game. As a teenager I listened to a local rock station that was having a competition and caller number ten would win a prize pack. This night in particular, when I heard the prize pack included a video game, I set my sights on winning, and somehow I did. Thanks X-103! Or maybe, no thanks X-103. Even though I listened to alternative rock, at that time, I still found the soundtrack to be a bit lacking and I usually just turned it off in the options to focus on snowboarding. I fully intended on this being a review of me saying my memories failed me and this game was a gem in the rough, or that I was wrong as a kid, but if anything I feel even stronger about how much I don’t like this game. It’s not complete garbage, but MTV Sports Snowboarding was just a day late and many, many dollars short.