The Cool Boarders series for PS1 was a lot of fun, and the tricks and moves you could do were incredibly cool. So if you enjoyed those games, add a hefty dose of reality and an awesome soundtrack and you have SSX.
There is a lot of discussion about SSX and ESPN's snowboarding game (which I will probably also buy at some point) but in general terms, SSX is awesome. The biggest improvement is that you can use the analog (joystick) controls for the boarders and not the arrow pad, which makes the game much easier to play and the tricks/turns much more fun to perform.
If you have a PS2 and you don't have this game, you're missing out bigtime.
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After selecting from one of the four initially available racers, you must race against a full field of opponents down long, twisting, and sometimes gravity- and physics-defying courses. What makes SSX a standout from similar games is Electronic Arts' amazing attention to detail. The tracks show much variety in their outrageous twists, bumps, jumps, and ramps. However, to utilize them best, you must perform potentially backbreaking, neck-snapping tricks. Okay, you actually won't suffer any physical damage, but the cartoony falls do look rather painful.
The tricks are done by successfully performing complex button-mashing and joystick-twisting combs. The more and better the tricks you perform, the higher a speed boost you'll get to help you finish a track quickly. In order to progress through all of the rounds in World Circuit mode (the meat of the game), you must place at least third in each race. Successful completion of races also can unlock new characters and snowboards--each with dramatic performance differences. It might look somewhat similar to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater or other snow games, but SSX is a totally different take.