1080° Snowboarding – Definitive 50 N64 Game #23

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

Extreme sports were all the rage in the N64 era. Although Nintendo’s console didn’t land its generation’s best version of Tony Hawk, the system could boast the best jet ski game with Wave Race, and the best snowboarding game with 1080.

Hit up the ski lodge, pick your favourite snowboarder, and grab a board, it’s time for 1080 snowboarding.

1080 Snowboarding’s main mode is Match Race. Here, you’ll face off against a number of individual competitors in a series of races, with glory waiting for you at the finish line. This is where speed is really key, but it’s not as easy as barreling down the mountain. You’ve got to balance your boarder out after any jumps by angling him or her to line up with the slope you’re about to hit. It’s all about keeping the momentum going. There’s also a damage meter to watch. Deplete it, and your race is over.

Of course, there are also 2P VS and Time Attack modes to take on a human competitor or yourself.

1080 shows off its elaborate trick system across two modes. In Contest mode, you earn points by both performing tricks and passing flags on the correct side. Chaining together successive flag passes is vital while you fly down the mountain. Meanwhile, over in Trick Attack, you’re left to earn points just from your ability to pull off stunts. A time limit and check points keep you moving.

Tricks are performed by combining the B and R buttons with moves of the control stick. The more complex and longer the trick, the more points you score. And the ultimate prize? Well that’s managing to pull off three full rotations in one jump, nailing the game’s titular 1080 Air spin trick.

An international cast of five boarders along with their eight snowboards are available for you to try. Both boards and boarders hang out in a ski lodge just waiting for a chance to hit the slopes. Additional snowboards and even some special boarders can also be unlocked.

1080 Snowboarding contains six regular courses, each with its own personality. Some are narrow and treacherous, others leave plenty of opportunity for tricks. Alternative routes can also be had for those willing to take the risk.

What really makes a snowboarding game is the atmosphere – and 1080 brings it. From the frankly bizarre music to the satisfying sounds of cutting through the snow with your board, from the looming backgrounds to the blustering weather, and from the realistic collision physics to the thrill of landing a perfect trick.

By the time of the GameCube, Nintendo’s extreme sports edge had dulled. While 1080 Avalanche and Wave Race: Blue Storm were solid follow-ups to their predecessors, they failed to surpass competitors or capture the same excitement from fans.

Let me know what you think of 1080 and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #22 on the Definitive 50 N64 Games.