California Games II. (computer game) (Evaluation)
by Chantelle Oligschlaeger
Surf, sand, and sun--they're back in California Games II, a sequel to the original game that matched you up with some of the best dudes and dudettes in the Valley. This time around, you and up to seven other players can play new games with better graphics.
During the hang-gliding competition, you soar over seaside cliffs, performing stunts and throwing water ballons at the targets below. Just like the real thing, it's a lot harder than it looks. Ideally, you'd catch thermals to stay airborne, but it's difficult to read the wind currents when you're on the other side of the computer screen.
You have more control when you're snowboarding. If you survive the cliffs, tree stumps, and rocks, you'll face the Snowbowl and the grassy Obstacle Course. You'll find even more fun things there--like ice patches--to trip you up.
Jet surfing is less backbreaking. You can go through the ramps and course markers like a ghost and not wipe out. Nevertheless, you must stay on the course to earn points. The ramps on the Ramp-O-Mania course give you some excitement and extra points. Because you can spend most of your time finding your way back to the course, however, an overhead view of it during your run would be helpful.
You do have such a view to guide you as you skateboard through the California Aqueduct. That way, you're less likely to smash your face into the wall. If you do, it's a repulsive sight, but it's actually the biggest thrill of the skateboarding competition. After the first tunnel, you skateboard a little too slowly, and the fun of the stunts wears thin.
You could say the same for the bodyboarding competition when the wave breaks. You can easily memorize the obstacle course back to the beach, since it doesn't change. While you're riding the wave, though, you can perform stunts to some groovin' surf music.
The biggest disappointment of California Games II is that there are no big rewards when you finally finish a competition--no trophies, no hunky dudes or fabulous babes kissing you. You just get to live, and you won't have "fault dude" behind your name on the scoreboard. But with its VGA graphics, colorful lingo, and lively music, California Games II can at least let you pretend you're in California.