Title :Cool Boarders 3
Platforms :Sony PlayStation
Publisher :989 Studios
Game Rating :7.5
Review by :Ken Gagne

Not all racing occurs from behind the wheel. While waiting for this season's first snowfall, you can practice your shifties, misties, and rodeos with Cool Boarders 3, 989 Studios' snowboarding title for the Sony PlayStation. 

Cool Boarders 3 is a typical racing game, with focus on stunts. Two players can race down 34 different event courses on five mountains, from Powder Hill to the Alps to Mount Everest, using any combination of 20 snowboarders and 22 boards. The goal of many levels is not to get to the bottom quickly, but to score as many points as possible from pulling tricks. 

The control is easy to grasp. The eight main stunts each correspond to one of the directionals plus the trick button, with other pulls and spins available with other combinations. It's easy to forget which direction is which move, so pick one and hope it executes in time. Getting the boarder to face the right direction when coming down from the half pipe can make or, more often than not, break one's momentum. Fighting among racers is allowed, but the purist can disable this option. Analog control is supported and welcome. 

Cold, flat graphics are the norm. Backgrounds are flat and foregrounds, polygonal; the sensation of speed is average. There are some extras such as falling snowfall and passing chair lifts, but overall, nothing's new. 

The rock and grunge soundtrack characteristic of snowboarding is present. There's some good guitar, but again, the music is average. Sound effects are kept to a minimum, including grunts of fallen boarders and the whistling of the wind, but not cheering or booing audiences, digitized speech, or other effects. 

As previously mentioned, challenge is present in the goals of both racing and stunt-pulling. The racing is fun yet not difficult, while slalom racing adds a bit more challenge; but pulling the stunts can be like pulling teeth. Sufficient hangtime is hard to come by, especially if the wrong choice of snowboard was made. Matching the computer's scores, even on the rookie difficult setting, takes much practice and patience. 

Cool Boarders 3 is fine as a racing title, but leaves much to be desired as a stunt machine, and will leave gamers feeling a bit cold. Warm yourselves in the glow of 1080 Snowboarding for Nintendo 64 instead.

This article is copyright (c) 1998, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 16-Nov-98