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Professional wakeboarder Shaun Murray stars in the first PlayStation 2 game based on the competitive outdoor sport, which is similar to water skiing but with a specially designed board in lieu of skis. The game features six additional pro wakeboarders, each possessing seven individual skill ratings and a variety of signature moves. Players will travel the globe while competing in three single-player modes, visiting a total of 11 locales from the busy Hong Kong Harbor to the red rock surroundings of Lake Powell. Each area includes boats, onlookers, birds, and other scenic elements to help draw players into the action.
As with previous titles in Activision's extreme sports lineup, the goal in Wakeboarding Unleashed is to perform an assortment of spins, grabs, and flips, such as whirlybirds, elephants, and 180s, while being pulled at high speeds by a powerboat. Tricks not only increase a player's score, but they also help extend the amount of time available during a run by filling a horizontal gauge called the groove meter. Another indicator, the special meter, allows players to perform more dramatic stunts in slow motion. Scoring points with standard tricks and combos helps fill the special meter.
One-player modes include Career Mode, Free Ride, and Free Drive. Career Mode has players selecting a pro athlete and embarking on a series of challenges on each course. In between competitions, players can increase their rider's stats or earn new boards to improve their speed, edging, or trick ability. Free Ride involves practicing each course without worrying about the time-sensitive groove meter, while Free Drive has players simply driving the boat around the lakes. Two-player modes include Tug-O-War, Trick Attack, H.O.R.S.E., and Co-Op Mode.
Tug-O-War involves both players trying to outperform one another by stringing together as many tricks as possible. Each rider begins with a fixed amount of rope at the game's start, with each successful trick reducing the opponent's rope until there's nothing left to hold. Trick Attack involves competing for highest score, while H.O.R.S.E. has each player trying to duplicate the opponent's trick within a six-second time frame. Co-Op Mode has one person driving the boat while the other performs stunts to satisfy level objectives. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide