Put your control stick on ice

As the latest version of a ballyhooed series of snowboard games, SSX 3 lets rookie knuckle-draggers get big air and pull off tricks without too much button-pushing jujitsu. Riders with endless variables on kit and gear can stay in the half pipe or venture up a treacherous Matterhorn for three levels of timed racing. You have to medal in all the races at each level to advance to harder terrain. With crisp scenery sliding by, a soundtrack drawn from popular music acts and "karma codes" to earn money and purchase the ability to perform difficult moves, even blister-thumbed gamers can make their hermitages appear hip.

The game infuses onto alpine slopes the "we'll shred anything" mantra of the street skater. A long grind is a great way to gain on racing competitors, but massive face plants will draw computerized back talk, the bane of the would-be shredder.

-- Emmett Berg

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