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Eye Toy: AntiGrav review: Eye Toy: AntiGrav

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The Good Gives a new dimension to Eye Toy games. Plenty of character and track options.

The Bad Jumps and tricks may be a strain for those with bad knees. Trying to manoeuvre too much may result in the need to recalibrate your player.

The Bottom Line AntiGrav represents a departure from the norm for an Eye Toy title, as it leaves the mini-game format for a hover board race that is reminiscent of SSX.

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Note: The RRP of AU$99.95 for Eye Toy antiGrav includes an Eye Toy camera.

Until the introduction of AntiGrav, all previous Eye Toy games had pretty much been variations of the same theme - a collection of mini-games that required short bursts of attention and frantic activity, but not too much in the way of skill or strategy. AntiGrav takes the first step in a different direction and that has to be a boost for the interactive Eye Toy concept.

This time out, instead of battling monkeys or Sega characters, you will learn to expertly ride a hover board - yes, if you were ever jealous of Marty McFly and his wheel-less floating skateboard in Back to the Future II, this game is for you. Once the Eye Toy camera is calibrated to track your face, your body movements (right, left, up and down) will directly control your hover board ride.

AntiGrav is set in a non-descript "futuristic" environment. First up you must choose between Single or Multiplayer modes and which of the eight super-cool characters you'd like to be: Nomad, Luna, Mika, Compound, Jett, Skye, Tetsuo or Tantrum. This decision will be aided by comments made during their intro such as "Large and in-charge" or "Time to shred some sled".

You then decide to compete in either the Speed or Style modes, and also which track or course to play on. There are five tracks to choose from: The Falls, Waterfront, Skyway, Aerodome or Black Rock Ridge. All sound intriguing, but unfortunately you must conquer The Falls first before you can select one of the others.

It's wise to take the tutorial before you begin your first run. Skip it and you're likely to wind up going backwards and crashing into every obstacle in sight on your first go. The tutorial explains how to steer, stop, grind the rails, jump and fly through the air. It also covers how to use and replenish the Turbo Meter for extra speed.

The tutorial covers only two tricks, The Cave Man Roll and the Back Flip, but mastering these as well as landing the many other tricks you'll pick up along the way will reap tons of points in Style mode or recharge your Turbo Meter in Speed mode. You must be air-borne to execute tricks, which are really combinations of arm movements.

Once you're off on your first run, you'll need to jump on a rail and hit tokens to score points. There will be different combinations of High, Mid and Low targets - hitting all in a series will yield bonus points. You'll also want to get into a Launch Pad that will start you flying through the air, attempting to ride through floating rings - again for maximum points.

There will be obstacles to duck or jump and shortcuts to find. Just when you think you've got it sussed, you'll cruise over a turbo boost that will set you scrambling to regain control. That brings up one of AntiGrav's few bad points - if you get too out of sync with the course and camera by moving your head to far too the right or left, you may lose control of your character completely and have to stop and recalibrate your head into the correct player control position.

AntiGrav arrives just in time for snow boarders to start training for the upcoming ski season. In fact, this game is probably closest in format to the very popular early PS2 snow boarding game, SSX. Replace snow with hover rails, swap the controller for the body movements picked up by the Eye Toy camera, and you've pretty much got the same game. Although AntiGrav's a much better work out - and ironically, the squats and deep knee bends required to execute the jumps and Turbo Meter in the game will help you get your leg muscles in shape for boarding down a real mountain. Who says games aren't good for you!

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