Take a stab at three of the world's most exhilarating outdoor sports without getting scraped, bruised, or sweaty. You can try your hand at kayaking, mountain biking, and snowboarding as you attempt to finish a series of courses as quickly as possible. Choose from four skilled characters, then select your equipment each kayak, bike, and board is rated for speed, handling, and grip, so make sure to pick the one that fits your racing style. Once you're ready to go, you can compete in three modes of play: Arcade, Championship, and Multiplayer. In Arcade mode, it's just you out there trying to hit checkpoints in the allotted times. In Championship mode, you take on computer opponents in three separate events. If you beat the competition in all three races, you move on to the next continent. The action takes place in Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia, and each continent is represented in realistic 3D detail. The Multiplayer mode is split-screen mayhem, as you take on a friend in a heated battle. With additional features like instant replay and a soundtrack by six great French rock bands, Rush Down is sure to be a hit the world over.
Let's not beat around the bush here. Rushdown is about as much fun as playing your PlayStation during a power outage. The game features three different "extreme" sports: mountain biking, kayaking, and snowboarding. Each section of the game is broken up into several different tracks, each of which takes place in a different part of the world. For starters, you'll be doing most of your racing against the clock rather than against any AI opponents. You know the drill. If you make it to the checkpoint in time, you get some additional seconds added to your clock, and you keep on trucking. Run out of time, and the race is over. In multiplayer mode, you and a friend can go at it on a split screen, either vertical or horizontal, depending on your personal preference. You can also race against a ghost racer, which mimics one of your previous attempts. Rushdown's control is shoddy whether you use the analog control or not. Also, you would think that with the game's "extreme" take on sports, that there would be some various tricks in the game. However, the tricks are limited to an occasional movement here and there, as long as you catch enough air and tap the jump button a couple of times. The game's graphics are really terrible. There's quite a bit of seaming between the polygons, and the game's got more than its fair share of pop-up. Also, the textures are so muddy and pixelated at a distance that you often can't tell which way the track is going to turn until it's too late. The sound effects are really terrible (the sound of the bike landing after a jump or fall is especially bad), and the music, billed on the packaging as an "Original Jungle & Rock Fusion soundtrack by cutting-edge Euro bands" is repetitive and ultimately annoying. You really have to wonder how EA could have managed to release both this and the similarly weak Street Sk8er. There isn't much gameplay to be found here, and what is in the game can be mastered in around an hour. Rushdown seems as though it could have been a passable game - three years ago. Instead, it falls squarely in the "Hey, let's make an extreme sports game. Heck, my kid loves to drink the Mountain Dew" category. Avoid Rushdown at all costs.--Jeff Gerstmann
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