February 11, 2002
Sunny Garcia Surfing - Review
Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating Price
31/1/2002UbisoftKrome Studios1G$79.95
Online Gameplay Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border

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Riding inside a tube.
One of the most impressive things about the Playstation 2 after only a just over a year on the shelves is the wide variety of games available. Almost every genre has been covered from sports to puzzle, action to role playing, music to beat 'em ups. Surprisingly, there has already even been a surfing game, albeit the abysmal Surfing H30. Ubisoft's Sunny Garcia Surfing is a much more exciting product. It's better in every regard, and it has been developed right here in Australia by Krome Studios. But can Sunny Garcia Surfing live up to what we now expect from a next-generation PS2 title?

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One of the menu screens.
As a game Sunny Garcia Surfing, is fairly well stacked with features and game modes. The developers, and the license, allow you to compete as Sunny Garcia or eight other World-Class surfers including Corey Lopez, Shea Lopez, Shane Beschen, "Ray Boy" Jason Collins, Nathon Carroll, Rochelle Ballard and Tim Reyes. Krome Studios have included 12 exotic locations to surf on each of which has a unique look, and a different style of wave which greatly affects your performances and possibilities. The developers ahve also used "State-of-the-art Video Motion Capturing Technology" which allows you to pull off each surfers signature moves and surf with sick style. With 7 modes of gameplay including an arcade mode and head-to-head battles you can expect plenty of excitement.

If you are willing to purchase this game you will need to set aside some time to get used to the controls. Pulling off tricks successfully require precise timing of the button presses while you must also be careful of you position on the wave. Moving just a fraction too late, or too early, will see you wiping out in a hurry. It's a good idea to learn a wide variety of tricks as well as repetition will reduce your overall scores. As you progress through the Championship you unlock new stages, riders and boards. The 2-player mode is generally a lot more fun, if only because it's easier to beat a friend then the computer players. The game modes will take plenty of time to get through, but it's a challenge that may people will likely give up on well before completion.

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2-player split screen action.
As you can see from the surrounding screenshots the graphics in Sunny Garcia Surfing are adequate, while never reaching the amount of detail you would expect on the Playstation 2. Despite what you see here the actual surfing takes place, not only at different times of day, but also in different weather conditions, from sun to heavy storms. Animation on the riders is fairly good but the waves can be a little too unrealistic and consistent with very little spray or wash present. The texturing of the water is also quite poor with little real-world stlyed water like that in Atari Splashdown which has set new standards for water effects.

The music in Sunny Garcia Surfing has been provided by alternative bands such as Sprung Monkey and MXPX. However, I'm sorry to say that it just wasn't my cup of tea. It's not that I dislike alternative music, rather that this music just didn't inspire or make me want to crank up the stereo. Fortunately, the sound effects are a little better, although the waves don't crash with anywhere near the intensity as in real life. As an entire package the sound in this game is quite disappointing.

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Hitting one of the massive waves.
While I'm not a surfer myself, and this may have lowered my thoughts on this game a little, I do recognise that Sunny Garcia Surfing is probably the best surfing game ever released. Unfortunately, for the casual gamer the game may not quite gel together too well. It's very tough to get into but even when you get used to the controls the game can be a little on the repetitive side. Graphically and sonically, Sunny Garcia Surfing isn't going to win any awards either with some average visuals and music compared to other PS2 titles. Still, if you are a surfing fan then do remember that this is still and enjoyable title as long as you invest some time in it. A solid enough title with a slightly lower pricepoint of $79.95.

GRAPHICSThe wave forms are nice but lacking some detail, quite solid animation.
SOUNDIt's only adequate music but the crashing waves are a little weak.
GAMEPLAYA tough game that becomes fun when you get used to the tricks.
VALUEPlenty of difficulty but the waves are a little too similar in each level.
OVERALLAs a surfing game it's probably one of the best, but it's still not perfect.

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