On all accounts, both visually and aurally, Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild comes to the show ready to impress. First of all -- Splashdown: RGW sports some of the best water effects I've seen since... Splashdown (the first one). I could spend hours just watching the waves ripple and bobble from the wake of speeding watercraft. I also really enjoyed the player animations and style -- both of which are very reminiscent of the EA Big style. In fact, had I not seen the big THQ at the title screen, you could have told me this was a 'Big' game and I would have bought it hook, line and sinker. Perhaps the more impressive aspect of the game's visual package is the eight amusement park themed courses, all of which are loaded with eye-popping special effects. I especially liked how the courses were different with each lap -- unlocking new little things like a cave glowing with pirate's gold or the animatronic dinosaurs smoking, sparking and breaking down halfway through the dinosaur course.
Though the music lineup isn't as star powered as the first, the game's soundtrack is still excellent. However, 'name' soundtrack may not be for everyone since it tends to skew towards the rock fans with bands like Audiovent, The Donnas and The Exies. Regardless of your tastes, once you hear the songs in the game it's hard not to like them. But, for those who would rather take a red-hot poker in the eye than listen to rock, the game also includes a stellar 'non-star' soundtrack that is just as good. I'd actually encourage people to turn them on during the theme park courses since they really add to the overall feel of the parks. 'Chatter' also plays a big part in Splashdown: RGW. Each character has their own (rather deep) list of trash talks and celebration quotes that they yell out during races. Sometimes they'll break into little dialogs with certain characters, and at others they'll quote the last 15 years worth of pop-culture references. Just don't be surprised when you hear 'There is no spoon' during a race.