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SSX on Tour is a snowboarding video game, the fourth title in the SSX series of video games for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, PSP and Xbox. The game was developed under the working title SSX 4. It was released in North America on October 11, 2005 and was released in the PAL region on October 21, 2005. The PSP version was released in the PAL region on October 28, 2005. Unlike its predecessor SSX 3, On Tour isn't currently backwards-compatible with the Xbox 360.
The GameCube version contains Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach as playable characters. This was part of a deal Nintendo had with EA Sports to have Nintendo's intellectual properties appear in EA franchises.
The PSP version also differs greatly from the main console versions, with limited customization to custom-characters. It also has omitted the use of bonuses on the special "Monster Tricks".
The gameplay in SSX on Tour is similar to that in SSX 3, with similar controls and the overall aims of events remaining the same - snowboard down a mountain whilst gaining points for various tricks that can be performed. After each trick, a player's "boost bar" builds up, and once full enables a player to perform special moves - known as "Monster Tricks" now, previously known as "Über tricks".
Despite the similarities, numerous changes were made to the structure of races and events themselves. Players can now create their own characters, selecting his/her symbol, makeup, height, clothes and hair, in addition to whether they are a snowboarder or a skier (skiing being a new feature in the game). Once created, their 'boarder can compete in official competitions (known as "Events"), or unofficial challenges known as "Shreds". Each completed event or challenge gains their character "Hype", raising their profile and moving them up the SSX charts, with the ultimate goal of reaching number one.
With the focus now on custom-created characters, the original SSX cast is moved into the background slightly, appearing in various Shreds against the player, and available to play as when not on the Tour itself. In addition to seven returning SSX veterans, three new characters make an appearance: Tyson, Sid, and Skye.
Unlike its predecessor, SSX3, no online play was included on any of the versions of SSX On Tour. The main focus was on improving the single-player storyline mode, implementing the character-creation system, the selection of new tracks, and the addition of skiing as well as snowboarding.
This game is presented in the style of a sketch-book, a new direction for the SSX series. The cover artwork as well as the in-game menus are all shown in sketch formats, simplistic images often on a lined background. The special in game collectibles, displayed simply as snowflakes in previous SSX games, have been replaced with sketchlike doodles known as "skulvis", continuing the theme.
This style was continued to an extent on the actual races themselves, with the graphics smoothed down from SSX3, helping to improve frame rates and to keep the overall feel of the game as fresh as possible. New effects were also added, such as a blurring effect when racers reach a certain speed, similar to the effect used in Burnout 3: Takedown, another game released by Electronic Arts.
One of the most notable features of every game in the SSX series has been the soundtracks used, usually featuring prominently in the games. Like SSX Tricky and SSX3, SSX on Tour features a licensed soundtrack, including rap, punk, rock and alternative music styles. The prominence of punk and rock is a departure from the more techno-heavy soundtracks of previous games in the series.
The soundtrack is integrated with the game rather than used as a background to it. Tracks used on the menu screens play only as instrumental versions of the ones used during races. In addition, when performing "Monster Tricks" during an event, the music will fade away, to be replaced with the sound of the wind whistling by as the player cuts through the air. Upon hitting the ground again, the music cuts back in, enhancing the sensations of the game.
Full soundtrack here : http://www.gaming-age.com/news/2005/9/12-20
SSX on Tour received positive reviews from critics on the whole.. GameSpot gave it 8.7 out of 10, noting that the game's style was "unlike anything the series has seen before", and that it "expertly balances the fresh and the familiar", and "creates an engrossing experience that will have fans falling for SSX all over again". In addition, Metacritic's review system has produced a rating of 81 out of 100 for the game, based on a large number of critic's reviews. X-Play gave it a 3 out of 5.
Awards and nominations
- Alternative Sports Game at IGN
- Best Use of Sound in a Game at DEM X AWARDS 2005
- D.I.C.E's Best Sports Game of the Year Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) 2006
- Best Mobile Game of the Year CAEAA 2006
- Best Individual Sports Game at Spike Video Game Awards 2005
- Best Sports/Extreme Sports title at 1UP.com
- ↑ SSX On Tour Character Spotlight: Mario, Luigi, and Peach. GameSpot. Retrieved on May 4, 2009
- ↑ Mario Joins SSX On Tour. IGN. Retrieved on May 4, 2009