Occasionally, I get to play a game so mind-numbingly bad that I question why I got into this in the first place. ARCTIC THUNDER is one such game. The arcade game sucked, and so does the Playstation 2 counterpart.
It defies all logic. You need zero skill to play this game, and even if you have skill, it doesn't mean anything. I am convinced that there is little if anything you can do to ensure a first place spot. Some might be willing to easily pick this up thinking, "Hey it'll be like HYDRO THUNDER." Wrong. HYDRO THUNDER was great - it had jumps, shortcuts and you had to have skill (try the ultra hard levels - even I had problems). ARCTIC THUNDER has none of this. You can't tell where you're going, the AI is cheap, and the power-ups are generally useless.
One final slam: the snowmobiles have terrible control. I've driven (read: tried to keep myself alive) a snowmobile for real and let me tell you, they don't even resemble what you find in ARCTIC THUNDER.
Simply put, ARCTIC THUNDER is not a fun game, and it quickly becomes very repetitive. Normally when an arcade game comes home it loses something in the translation, but ARCTIC THUNDER had little to start with in the arcade and that just makes for a horrible console game.
On the graphical side of the ball, there are some very shoddy visuals here for a Playstation 2 game. Combine this with the fact that everything and anything is happening on the screen at once and you have a complete overload. With that overload comes the framerate that manages to slow itself down. I thought we were beyond heavy framerate problems.
Last but not least are the incomprehensible sound effects and the typical arcade game music. The music isn't too bad but deciphering all the sound effects as they happen is something that is exceptionally difficult.
ARCTIC THUNDER is a waste of your time - time better spent with something else like SPY HUNTER or DEVIL MAY CRY.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: Everyone
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: F
Reviewer's Wild Card: F