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Kelly Slater\'s Pro Surfer Review - Gamecube

80%
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First there was the trend of skateboarding games thanks to Tony Hawk so it was inevitable that some surfing games followed. Trouble was, it was taking long enough! Sunny Garcia was the most recent next generation surfing title published by Ubisoft and it was solid if a little bland with it's amateur presentation. Transworld Surfing published by Infogrames was a decent title. Both of these titles weren't on the Cube but the question on every surfers lips was, what's Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer going be like? After all he is the epitome of all surfers, kind of like the Tiger Woods of Surfing.

Gameplay

Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer at first provides a fun and awesome experience of surfing. A tutorial in a wave pool helps get you the basics in beginner, intermediate and advanced. These are helpful, all games like these should have a tutorial. A huge variety of tricks are available such as basic carves, floaters, lien airs to advanced moves such as superman airs, hang ten and darkslides. The advanced moves are specials, and you can only do this by performing tricks in a row and by landing perfect after an air.

After a while unfortunately it feels a bit like Tony Hawk on a wave, which isn't entirely a bad thing. But it is a surfing game and you find yourself getting rewarded for unrealistic outrageous stunts instead of the more traditional surfing moves. There is a bit to keep you coming back with unlockable characters such as Tony Hawk, Travis Pastrana (motorcycler) and fictional people like Surf freak and Tiki God. The bails videos show some freaky wipeouts in mega surf that will even make the tough surf Nazis cringe. Some of the latter stages get quite tough such as getting 500,000 points and not wipe out once during the 3-minute period.

The controls are great, easy to pull off, yet hard to master. If you're good at Tony Hawk you'll be good as this. Even in the tube it has the manual balance meter as in Tony Hawk 3 and 4. Another questionable move is the choice of surfers, most of the them such as Tom Carroll, Tom Curren have retired and Donovan Frankenreiter doesn't even surf professionally. Some more younger up and coming surfers would have been nice, but Sunny Garcia's Surfing and Transworld signed these guys first I imagine. Another bummer is that you can't duck dive and surf on other waves. This shuns out the exploration element of surfing, searching for that ideal wave as the wave is just handed to you on a platter.

Graphics

Graphically Slater shines with some pretty water effects shown on the Gamecube. 15 beaches are shown throughout the world including our own Kirra and Bells Beach. A nice touch is how Kelly introduces each beach and the waves characteristics before you hit the beach. Animations are very fluent with no slowdown evident at all. Depending on the ... (continued next page)