Wakeboarding, for the unitiated, involves you strapping a stubby board to your feet and getting dragged over the water by a speedboat; think of it as a cross between snowboarding and waterskiing. Wakeboarding may be in its relative infancy, but Activision has nevertheless deemed it ripe for its own videogame, backed by one of the sport's leading lights Mr. Shaun Murray. Set across nine different exotic locations, Wakeboarding Unleashed sees you trotting the globe in a quest for wakeboarding supremacy. Each level features competitions and the usual array of points or objective based goals that need completing to unlock the next area. When you're not off completing goals, you can work on those all important big air tricks and combos. Using the speedboat's momentum and wake, you can launch yourself to dizzying heights, and the beautifully rendered levels offer plenty of grinding opportunities for racking up huge combos.
Visually, Wakeboarding Unleashed is a joy to behold, with crisp graphics, smooth 'boarder animations and hugely impressive water effects. While the control set isn't radically different from other O2 games (THPS fans will feel quite at home here), the dynamics of the sport make for some interesting game mechanics. While the levels are fairly linear (you are being dragged along by a speedboat, after all), Activision's innovative Rope Mechanics system allows you to drop the rope and use your momentum to go hunting for secret areas, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore despite the game's basic 'on rails' design. As well as the engaging single player career mode, with challenges including boat races, water balloon battles and ferrying animals, there are numerous two-player options, including co-op play in which one player steers the boat while the other tricks out on the board. If you're not feeling quite so co-operative, you and a friend can duke it out for the all important rope in Tug-of-War mode.
As a sport, wakeboarding might be slightly left of field but it lends itself surprisingly well to the O2 format. The diverse selection of goals, big combo opportunities and secret areas to explore give the game a longer than average longevity, and the water effects are nothing short of stunning.
- Take control of one of seven world-class wakeboarders and tear it up in nine top international venues
- Incredible water effects include realistic wake, reflections and particle effects
- Drive the boat in the 2 player co-operative mode, or fight it out for rope in the Tug-of-War mode