A nice little discovery when playing Steep Slope Sliders last night, and it's not one you'd really expect - the sound test. Head over to the options screens, and find the sound test, and you are given a collection of ten hyper-kinetic psychedelic screens that play to the music. It's not even slightly, Yoshi's Island-style psychedelic. It's a full-blown trip on the Salvia express.
The ten different environments consist of box rooms and tunnels. One features heavily trippy lights while polygonal Buddhist phrases scroll on by. Oh, and have I mentioned that you can control the direction, rotation and speed of these trips? Everything is set to some impressive club music.
It's interesting to see just how Cave aimed beyond just another sports game. They tried to capture the snowboarding rave culture. They intended to evoke the mood of the sub-culture itself. This is, again, something that Neversoft really ran with on Tony Hawk Pro Skater, which, I remind everyone again, appeared one year after Steep Slope Sliders.
One of the great mysteries of the games business is how a small development studio, best known for churning out a second-rate Playstation shoot-em-up starring Bruce Willis - if that doesn't set off alarm bells, then nothing will - managed to forge one of the most concise, self-contained, revolutionary videogames of all. Tony Hawk wasn't really an original at all; it's genius was in the way it deftly stole from the right games, in the right amounts. It's a witches' brew of sports, racing, and fighting games, with a heavy dose of Super Mario for good measure. But there's still an ingredient missing, a missing link still on the loose. Well, not really on the loose. Unless I'm really off the mark I think we've found our missing link.
Which reminds me of one related question I think I addressed in the previous post - why haven't there been any good snowboarding games lately? It seems like there were only five or six snowboarding games ever made. What's the deal with that?