By Jason Frank
I'm going to try to write this review without once bringing up Tony Hawk,ooops. I didn't mean to do that, but it's done, and now that it's out there I guess that I have to deal with it. The original Tony Hawk was a game that comes around once in a decade. There's really been nothing like it except, of course, for all of those games that have been copying it. One of the biggest surprises of the Tony Hawk franchise was how well it translated to the Gameboy Advance. I never would have thought the game could have been so completely entertaining on the handheld system. To bring it back to the actual game I'm reviewing, you really just have to think Tony Hawk only cuter. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
It's not a bad game. Critics are often accused of damning with faint praise, but sometimes that's all that you can do. There's really nothing about this game that sets it apart from all of the other Tony Hawk clones already on the market. If perhaps I had some affinity for the characters, then maybe there might be a little more interest. On the other hand, if The Simpson's Road Rage taught us anything it was that we would still rather play a good version of Crazy Taxi with innocuous characters than a poor version with some of our favorites.
With a skateboarding game it really comes down to two things,the controls and your ability to see what's going on around the park so you can plan your moves and combos. And on both counts, the game lives up to its potential. Graphics are actually not all that critical to the genre (Personally I don't think that they're all that critical to any genre). However, the graphics are clean and clear. The level design isn't quite as imaginative as I would have liked, but it'll do in a pinch. The game also features a very thorough tutorial to get you up to speed on the controls.
There is something that I do feel I need to mention about this game. There is no blood. I'm sure you're saying to yourself, Of course not. Why would you need blood in a game like this?? I have to admit that the absence of blood whenever I wiped out was a little jarring. I've become so used to cringing with every wipe out when the blood spilt on the pavement. It hurt when I wasn't able to pull off a serious combo, and that potential for pain made the victories all the more sweet. I don't cotton to gory games, but I did actually miss the blood.
I've never heard of this franchise before, but judging from the artwork and character design it seems to be a skater version of the Rugrats. Sometimes I worry that as I get older I am getting more and more out of touch with contemporary pop culture. Anyhow, I'm sure there are fans of these guys, and for those fans, this will be a highly entertaining romp. If you just need a break from one of the many Tony Hawk games available for the Game Boy, this might just meet your need.