By Brad Cook
A frigid wind whips across your face, but its not causing the shiver in your lips. And that thump-thump-thump you hear isnt the blades of the helicopter youre sitting in its the sound of your heart as you gaze down on the drop point known as The Eyrie. Its the highest spot on the mountain from which you can start your snowboarding run, and you have yet to tackle it.
You take a deep breath and fall from the copter, your board hitting the powder with a satisfying crunch. You pick up speed as you head downhill, swerving around trees and other obstacles. You jump off a couple small drifts, performing a few nose grabs and tail grabs to get warmed up. Then you bend your knees, accelerating rapidly as you approach a steep drop-off
and youre airborne, at least 100 feet up, feeling the adrenaline surge as you twist through the air. With your back hand, you grab the edge of your board between the bindings, pulling off an indy that you combine with a backflip. As the ground rushes toward you, a nose grab angles the board up for the perfect landing. You continue down the Alaskan mountainside, confident you can handle any obstacles it throws in your path.
A Mountain Full of Challenges
Drop Point Alaska challenges you to master the mountains ten drop points, starting with the low-elevation one known as Kindergarten. Variable time-of-day and weather ensure a unique experience each time you set out to explore one of the largest virtual peaks found in a snowboarding game. Master each drop points challenges, such as pulling off a 5,000-point flip and staying airborne for six seconds, to unlock higher elevations.
You access each drop point by helicopter, and once youve unlocked all the challenges, youll be able to pilot it to any location on the mountain and bail out. Miles of terrain offer plenty of natural features for pulling off tricks, and youll also find pipes and other manmade structures for grinding, skateboard-style. String together tricks for high-point combos and see how long you can hold them.
While snowboarding, youll come across 100 mini-challenges broken into two categories: Stick a Trick and Trick or Die. In each one, you try to own the challenge by exceeding another riders accomplishments, which you view as a replay before you start. In Stick a Trick, your goal is to match the current trick and go one better to assume ownership. Trick or Die tasks you with holding a combo longer than the previous rider.
Oftentimes, the riders you must beat are other gamers, assuming youre connected to the Internet while playing Drop Point Alaska. The game also features an online leader board, so you can see how your high scores match up against riders around the world.
More Surprises in Store
Theres plenty more to uncover in Drop Point Alaska, including new clothing and snowboards to unlock. And when youre able to pilot the helicopter anywhere on the mountain, dont be surprised if you come across hidden features that were previously inaccessible.
So bundle up and get ready for the downhill ride of your life.
Check out our systems for your best gaming experience.
If you liked this game, check out:
- Mac OS X version 10.4.10
- Intel processor
- 512MB of RAM
- 64MB of video RAM (or Intel integrated graphics)
Tips and Tricks
- Build speed downhill by holding down the spacebar, which will make you crouch. Release it at the lip of the jump, maximizing your height and hang time.
- You can perform tricks even while on the ground. Press the spacebar to jump in the air a little bit and pull off a simple nose or tail grab. It will earn you a few points, as will taking a curving path that produces the most snow spray possible.
- Stick those landings. A bad one will cut your points earned by as much as half, and if you wipe out, youll lose them completely. Great finishes will boost your total by 1.5 or two times.
- Youll also pick up a speed bonus after finishing a trick, if you were traveling fast enough.
- If you begin to lose your balance while grinding, press the spacebar to jump off the pipe or branch and preserve the points youve accumulated.