How many of you remember California Games for the Atari Lynx? I know it
was a long time ago that came out, but everyone who had a Lynx had that game
since it was packed in. You had a choice of 4 games to play from, and the best
in the pack was the surfing mode. From that point on, no one ever tried to capture
the feeling of that one game until now. KSPS for the GBA is pretty much like the
surfing round from California Games, but with more tricks, real riders and better
graphics. But don't expect much beyond that.
The GBA is a bit limited in how this type of game can be displayed. On the consoles,
KSPS provided a variety of environments and wave conditions. Here, you pretty much
see the same stage with a different pallate, background and wave heights. Sometimes
you will start in a different direction. But really, there's not much depth to
the environments in the game. But it's okay, since it's design is really ideal
for compact play. Like California Games, your perspective is facing the side, as
the wave comes towards from one end of the screen to another. Instead of being limited
to spin tricks like CG, here, you can pull off spins, plus a few acrobatic tricks,
as well as some face and lip tricks. And here's something you couldn't do in
California Games, get points for being inside the tube. I remember trying to see how long I could stay
inside the tube in CG, but get nothing for it. Well, now you can. Gameplay features
include a championship mode and a challenge mode, where you need to clear 3 goals
in one run. Not a bad set, but perhaps could use more. There are single session runs
and multiplayer modes as well.
Visually, there's not a whole lot going on in KSPS, but the water does look
pretty nice, and pretty sparkly in the background. The rider animations are done
well, but the character size may be a bit small. There are no framerate problems
and other than that, there are no other problems with the game.
The sound is decent, but not exceptional. The music is laid back, much like
the console version. For some reason, the GBA version has an announcer that
shout some things out every now and then. Why was that necessary?
Although the stage design is limited in KSPS, the gameplay design is well suited
in this format. It's not overly complicated and it's pretty fun. It also captures
the feeling of the surfing mode in California Games on the Lynx very well, and fans
of that game would be advised to take this game in consideration. It's a tight
and simple, but effective extreme sports game for the GBA.