Beach volleyball has always been about good looking women jumping in all directions, right? C’mon, you can admit it, most people (at least men) watch beach volleyball mostly to see the girls, and Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball has sold a lot of copies probably because of that. But did you know that there was another volleyball game released before it, on the GameCube, that features good looking women too? I guess you didn’t! Funny thing is that not only does the game look good, but it plays well too and it is a lot of fun. Surprised?
The game had been first developed for the arcades by Sega AM2. It probably was a successful hit since it was ported to GameCube and a few things were added to it. The main feature of the game is the world tour mode. In it, you start by designing your 2 athletes by choosing their faces, hair, glasses and suits. Then, you give them names and start playing in various tournaments. The twist is that you control only one of the two characters. The second one is controlled by the computer. What that means is that at the beginning, the computer controlled girl will be very bad. The more you win and advance through the game, the more points you get to upgrade her. As you upgrade her, she levels up and gets better and better. You are the one who decides in which of the seven different attributes that you’ll add points. You can make your character faster, serve better, smash better, etc. So at the beginning, you’ll almost feel like you’re playing one against two since your partner won’t do much, but with time she’ll get as good as you.
During the games, there are also certain moments when the game stops and you have a time with your partner to talk. When that happens, you are given the choice of wither praising, encouraging, reprimanding her, or just do nothing. If you answer correctly, you are given teamwork points. The more you have, the better your partner will cooperate. You start at 50 points and you can go up to 100. So, say you are losing, and you praise your teammate, you’ll lose points since it’s kind of inappropriate. You can reprimand her or encourage her and get more points, praise her and lose points, or do nothing and stay where you are, which you’ll probably do when you’ll get to a hundred.
There’s also the obvious arcade mode where you’ll be competing in 4 games, the 4th being a match against the last team you played with. The games normally start at 10 points and you have to get to 15 with a difference of 2 points to win, but you can change the starting score in the options.
For those new to the game, there is a tutorial mode that you can complete. It features 25 different training exercises to complete. They show you everything from serving, receiving, tossing, attacking and blocking. The more you progress, the more difficult they get, but it’s a good way to learn. The controls might be simple, but it can be quite a challenging game.
On the technical side of things, the game isn’t all that bad either. it might not be the best looking GCN game yet, but it holds it’s own and it does the job. The character models are pretty good and so are the areas where you play. They all have a certain theme like one is Sega themed; the other is being sponsored by Pringles so you have the Pringles logo in there. It’s all pretty original. The character animation is ok, and when the girls walk in the sand it leaves holes so the more you run around, the more the sand will have holes in it and it’s kind of cool. The music is just your average sports game music, nothing special about it. Depending on the situation, the music will change. The sound effects are your standard ball hitting sounds, so nothing special there, just that it gets the job done.
It also has an extremely fun multiplayer mode that should come in handy during parties. It has lots of stuff to unlock to customize your characters, and it doesn’t cost very much. It is a nice addition to anyone’s game collection, as even though you’ll get bored quickly playing alone, you’ll have lots of fun playing it with your friends! Plus it has great looking girls!