Snow business like snow business...

Super Ski 2 logo

MICROIDS * £24.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

It's been a fairly quiet year for sporty games so far. There's been not so much as a peep or a whistle from the joystick-waggling fraternity, except for John Madden's Football. But fear not waggle fans, for spooky continental software blokes Microids are here to make your day with the release of Superski 2.

And before you ask, no I don't remember SuperSki 1 either. But by using some incredible powers of deduction I can guess that it probably had something to do with skiing, and it was presumably fairly super into the bargain. And, lo and behold, SuperSki 2 follows along similar lines.

You get to compete in six cold and frosty sporting japes, such as special and giants slalom, hot dog, ski jumping, downhill racing and bobsleigh. Quite how bobsleigh fits into a game about skiing I don't know, but who cares?

Especially when the bobsleigh is the best event of the lot. In fact, it's one of the most groovy little things I've ever played. Add a few more bobsleigh runs, and maybe an editor, and you've got an above-average game in its own right.

You see your bobsleigh from behind as it thunders down a twisting and turning track which should induce nausea in even the most strong-stomached among you.
As the scenery swings from side to side, and your sled goes flying round the bends, you're guaranteed to start swaying from side to side in your seat. Just like on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea when the submarine gets hit by something. Wow.

And that's just skiing bits are pretty much the same in design, but each requires different skills. The slalom, for instance, requires nifty steering to get through all the flags. On the downhill run you've got to go as fast as possible without flying off the course and straight into a tree. Each of these skiing sections plays very much like a driving game, but with the car replaced with some planks of wood nailed to your shoes.

The only events that don't quite work are the hot dog and the ski jump. The hot dog is the only simultaneous two-player event and requires you to ski down the screen, performing little jumps and fancy bits as you leap over piles of snow. More often than not, you'll just end up face first in the snow after an unsuccessful waggle. Too tricky, for it's own good really.

And that's also the trouble with the ski jump. It's too fiddly, and you don't get enough time to make any adjustments. You shoot down the slope, and then have about half a nanosecond to keep your skier balanced in mid-air, otherwise he goes splat all over the ground. And this happened every single time I tried it. Ho hum.

Well, how does it all come together? Quite nicely as it happens. The graphics are just short of excellent, and the sound is quite stomping as well. Obviously a game of this sort is best enjoyed when you play against some mates and even then you'll all get beaten by the computer players.

It leaves you feeling all humbled and small. And then you kick your monitor in, and feel much better about yourself.

In conclusion, the bobsleigh bit is ace, the skiing bits are a bit samey but still fun and the remaining two events are too tricky and stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

There is a practice option, so you can try and get the hang of them, but I recommend that you just challenge your friends to a bobsleigh competition and scare yourself to death from the comfort of your own home.