First released in Japan in 1998 under the title Snow Speeder, Big Mountain 2000, for some bizarre reason, came to North America two years later.
While lengthy delays between regions were all too common during the late ‘90s, it made little sense that Imagineer opted to localise Big Mountain 2000 for a Western audience. It came far too late in the N64’s lifespan: 1080 Snowboarding had already set the gold standard for N64 snowboarding games two years prior to its Western release. Even back in 1998 when it was still Snow Speeder, the game looked and felt dated compared to other releases.
While it’s fair to say that Big Mountain 2000 doesn’t have much going for it, it’s at least different enough from other snowboarding games. For one, you can actually use skis as well as snowboards, although they seem to control in more or less the same manner. Otherwise, Big Mountain 2000’s gameplay focuses almost exclusively on racing, unlike 1080 Snowboarding or Twisted Edge Extreme Snowboarding, where performing tricks are also a core element. You can still do tricks, and doing so earns you experience points that level up your character, but there are few opportunities (not to mention you rarely get enough air time to actually land a trick successfully).
As you race through each of the game’s three courses, you have a stamina bar which determines how fast you can go. Crashing into obstacles, other racers or fluffing the landing decreases this bar, to the point where picking up speed can be very difficult. Therefore, navigating Big Mountain 2000’s courses is as much about speed as it is careful cornering.
The game has three different race modes, all of which are available in both single and multiplayer. There’s a standard race mode, where it’s simply a case of being the first to reach the bottom of the course, whereas Slalom and Giant Slalom task you with navigating through flagged checkpoints.
There are four different characters to choose from, each with their own attributes. All characters can be levelled up over time simply by using them (although it’s a long process). The game also features real-life snowboarding brands, and you can choose from a range of boards and outfits, which also alter your boarder’s stats.