Game Review - by StormDaemon
Skiing games are not created in large numbers like many other types of games within the industry. When they are made, they're usually a breath of fresh air, or cold air as it may be, and are usually interesting. While Skiing '99 is interesting, it isn't groundbreaking and certainly isn't well done in areas such as the graphics. The highlights of the game include the music and the fun of skiing.
This game has many features, which both help and make the game not so great. Some of the better features were the many different ways of racing, whether in freestyle, competition, or training. There were also several mountains, skis, outfits, boots, and outfit sponsors that all added a lot of detail. The environment consisted of a background, 2D trees, rocks, white and gray snow, banners, a crowd, barriers, and not much else. One of the more proclaimed features by the game itself is the training by Picabo Street, which is discussed in the gameplay section. As for the music, it was really good and was surprising when compared to many other features. As for the sounds, they were okay and average at times, with some being stupid. Last but not least, the game allows for multi-player over a modem, direct connection, or internet.
Skiing '99 played pretty good for a skiing simulation. Not too many other companies have ventured into the world of skiing and with that in mind, Sierra Sports made the game fun to play while being a good simulation. Even though the average graphics took the game down a little, the fun factor helped to bring it back up.
The control of the skier is simple and effective. You can stand or crouch down for maximum speed, and you can turn. Turning doesn't always make you go in the desired direction because of the physics involved. For example, if you're going 90 MPH down a mountain, turning your skis to the left doesn't mean you'll go to the left. Eventually you'll turn, but not immediately. I found that out the hard way after crashing into the walls a few times. Amazingly enough though, you get back up every time. Even after hitting a tree at 90 MPH, you get right back up and ski, which is not realistic at all. Just about everything else is simulated well, but the immortality thing needs a bit of work on.
The rest of the game plays just like a skiing simulation, right down to the choice of skis and boots. The events available to play are downhill, slalom, super slalom, super G, and all around. Single racing or season play is available, as well as pro training from Picabo Street and hot dogging. The range of mountains to do stuff on is good, and the mountains are varied and provide for different experiences. Racing is fun, but I preferred hot-dogging better. The training provided by Picabo Street consists mainly of "Go faster," "Don't hit that," and "You can do it." Needless to say, that was very disappointing. Considering that I know next to nothing about skiing, I needed a whole lot of help, and I didn't get it. Not even the manual said much about actually skiing. Anyway, once the control is mastered and understood, the game does become fun, especially in first person view.
In order to truly provide for a good skiing experience, 3D graphics are a must, and were used, but not as good as they could have been done. While a few things were in 3D, including yourself, the mountain, and some rocks, just about everything else was a sprite, including the trees, the crowd, the barriers, the sky, and the people. The 3D things themselves didn't really look that great, being rather blocky and all, and the animation for you as the skier was really choppy and looked bad. One of the few good parts of the graphics is the different views that are available. You can view 1st person or three different 3rd persons with varying degrees of distances away from the skier.
The few graphical effects that were present were not very good, for instance, whenever you would take a turn or move, snow would spray from the side of your skis, but it looked average and was the same pretty much all the time except for the fact that it might get bigger as you go faster. As for the rest of the effects, which was weather, they were average.
The sound effects were actually impressive considering the rest of the game being as it is. For instance, the music throughout all of the skiing has a fast beat and is the kind of rock you'd expect to hear in a skiing highlights video. The music actually sounded good, too, which was really unexpected in today's age of really bad sounding background music that pervades action games. Aside from the good music, the rest of the sounds were above average. One of the sounds that really caught my attention was the sound of the wind rushing past me as I skied down the slopes. The rest of the sounds were okay, and ranged from grunts and pain sounds as you collided with a tree going 90 mph to the crowd cheering after you finished a race. Also included in the game is the voice of Picabo Street as she supposedly trains you.
Skiing '99 has both good and bad things that bring the game and down. While the gameplay is fun and pretty good for a skiing game, the graphics make it seem inadequate and hastily made. While there were no bugs, the graphics could have been done a lot better without a lot more work, but they were not. The only reason this game gets an Overall rating of 4 is because of the fact that it is kind of fun to make jumps at 90 MPH. The bottom is that if you like skiing, you'll like this game.