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Ski Resort Extreme

Score: 57%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Gathering
Developer: Cat Daddy Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

If youíve ever seen those ceramic Christmas villages in stores or at someoneís house, then youíll find a familiarity in the look of Gatheringís Ski Resort Extreme. The over-the-top look of buildings and characters may be cartoony, but donít let this fool you. Ski Resort Extreme looks very good, even if it is quite simple. But most impressive is the level of zoom offered in the game. At any time, you have the option to zoom in close enough to the action that youíll think youíre on the slopes with the patrons of the game.

Unfortunately, Ski Resort Extremeís audio is not up to the same standards. In fact, I have to say that the audio made me wish I was getting a face wash in the snow instead. The sound fx of the game are more annoying than intuitive, so every click of the button overpowers any music that may be playing. On top of that, the background music just isnít that appealing, if it is even present.


Gameplay:

Thereís just nothing extreme about Ski Resort Extreme (developed by Cat Daddy Games, who formerly worked on the Ski Resort Tycoon series). While the gameplay is obviously based on great management simulation games like Civilization or Sim City, Ski Resort Extreme just isnít very fun. Iím the type of person that can sit down for a session of Sim City, only to look up hours later and wonder where the time went. That just didnít happen with Ski Resort Extreme.

All of the functionality of building a ski resort is included in the game, and you become the manager/owner on a mission to build up a resort that will compete with any in the world. Your goal is the same as any other simulation of this type on the market: to build the best business that you can. This can only happen by appealing to a variety of skiers and snowboarders, while at the same time building a revenue base to keep your resort in the black.

Ski Resort Extreme allows users to build their resort in any way they choose, and doesnít seem to be limited to a ďblock methodĒ of placing pieces, as with other games in the genre. This is a very refreshing change, as it helps extend the possibilities of the game. Many types of runs, lifts, and buildings are available to place. In order to keep your resort residents happy, youíll have to build many places for them to hang out, including eateries, training buildings, and relaxation cabins, among many others.

Another aspect of Ski Resort Extreme that I really find interesting is the close-up camera as mentioned above. Unfortunately, while the zoom in level is outstanding, I would have liked to have the option to zoom out a bit further to see my entire creation. For those who would rather not play an open-ended game like this, Ski Resort Extreme does offer a Challenge mode. However, there are only a few scenarios available for each difficulty level.


Difficulty:

Ski Resort Extreme really isnít a hard game at all. Itís unfortunate that there arenít more ďproblemsĒ that arise, because the complaints of ski patrons can easily be remedied. Got a broken lift? No problem. Send in the maintenance staff. Littering a problem? Not enough parking? Not enough runs? Thereís nothing that canít be fixed with the click of a button. The only real difficulty lies within yourself when you first start the game. It is your option to choose how much capital you have at the start, which in turn determines how slowly or quickly youíll have a fully functional ski resort on your hands.

Game Mechanics:

The controls of Ski Resort Extreme are very simple and easy to figure out, even without the use of an instruction manual. If you still want to learn, you can always go through a simple tutorial as well. The interface offers a simple point-and-click method with the mouse. Unfortunately, it would have been nice to see the size and shape of objects and buildings before buying them, as that can sometimes determine where they will be placed. But one thing I just couldnít get over was that I kept accidentally ending the building process of ski slopes before they were finished. Even though it is displayed on-screen ďHold Shift to Add Another Segment,Ē the design for making corners within the runs just isnít intuitive, and becomes more frustrating than fun.

The fact is that when another game is going to put its own spin on a proven original (like Sim City), it should also include the fun-factor. This just doesnít happen with Ski Resort Extreme. While all of the elements are there, the overall experience just doesnít impress me. The lack of difficulty and depth didnít keep me entertained nearly as long as expected. For $20 (US), Ski Resort Extreme will surely attract fans of the sport and of this game genre. But casual fans may want to try managing a city instead of the slopes.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Minimum System Requirements:



Pentium III 800MHz or better CPU, Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, 128MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM, 750MB free hard disk space, DirectX 9.0 compatible 3D video card with 32MB RAM (64MB recommended), DirectX 9.0 compatible sound card, Microsoft compatible keyboard and mouse
 

Test System:



AMD Athlon 2700+ CPU, Windows XP Pro SP2, 1GB (2x 512MB) PC3200 DDR400 RAM, ATI All-In-Wonder 9700 Pro 8x AGP Video Card, NVIDIA nForce MCP Audio, DirectX 9.0, Sony DRU-500A DVDĪR/RW as main CD-ROM (Speed = DVD-ROM: 8x, CD-ROM: 32x), 6 USB ports, Cable Modem Hi-Speed Internet Connection

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