Tony Hawk thrashes the PlayStation with Pro Skater
(IDG) -- Skateboarding is not a crime - but trying to top Tony Hawks Pro Skater in the Fun Factor ratings will be. This fast paced thrill-a-minute skateboarding game will be the standard on the PlayStation for a while. It's one of the best games this year, and it's full slate of tricks, bails, and twists that will keep you satisfied for a while.
The daily grind
Don't think that just because it's a skater game that you have to be a skater to play it. Tony Hawk lets the novice and the skate junkie alike enjoy the action. There's no complicated story line or rendered cut scenes in-between skating -- you simply grind, gleam, and glide through ten different skate areas including classics like Burnside in Portland or the streets of San Francisco.
You'll tear it up in abandoned warehouses, schools, and even in a river gorge in Phoenix. Pick from one of ten skaters, all with different moves and special tricks as you try to grab high scores, find hidden video tapes, and collect other items to help you reach your objectives.
The game is a slick piece of work for the PlayStation. Although you will find the occasional seam split or blank polygonal dead-end, you'll be amazed by the detail in the game, including the full-on face bashing and asphalt blood-letting that hardcore skaters are used to.
But what really seals this skate's fate is the game's incredible speed, which blazes past games like Trickstyle for the Dreamcast. The complement of special moves is also spectacular, with a level of variation that makes almost any gravity-defying trick possible.
Wheels of fortune
A good skater would readily admit that the music attached to skate culture is a big part of the experience. Activision never slouched by giving lame, generic studio music to Tony Hawk fans -- expect the thrash stylings of the Dead Kennedys, Primus, Goldfinger, and Suicidal Tendencies to round the soundtrack out.
Don't like skate music? Turn it off and skate to Frank Sinatra to see what a difference a song makes.
Although the game is styled so novices can easily figure out the controls, finger pimps will rule the roost in Tony Hawk. Some of the better combinations (and the higher scores) are achieved by the most intense finger aerobics since Track and Field. Mashing won't help either - you have to know the combos to score.
Hawk your other games
All in all, Tony Hawk is an impressive tour-de-force in the skating arena. Competition like MTV Sports: Snowboarding, Trickstyle, and Thrasher: Skate and Destroy already have the bar set pretty high with this game. Who will bring the Hawk down? It's going to take a fairly high-flying predator to do the job.
Fun Factor: 5.0
During the intro to each level, a screen will appear showing your objectives. Pay close attention to the right of the hidden tape marker - it shows exactly where the tape is.
Beat the game and you'll see a special bail video showing a variety of spills. But Gold Medal in all three competitions and you'll see a special video of your skater's highlights.
When your special meter is lit and you do your special move, throw a couple of rotational spins in to jack the score way up.
Complete all the mission objectives and go for gold in all three competitions and you'll find the hidden skater.
During long grinds, hop up (using the X-Button), grind again, and finish the grind with a board twist for amazingly high scores.
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