The success of Tony Hawks Pro
Skater seems undamagable. No matter who has done ports of the game and what system it has
shown up on (except GBC, but well let that slide), it is always good. Such was the
way with THPS2 for the Game Boy Advance, which kept me playing all summer. Unfortunately,
Activisions O2 lineup (Mat Hoffmans Pro BMX, Shaun Palmers Pro Snowboarder,
and Kelly Slaters Pro Surfer) has not matched the glory of the THPS franchise. Mat
Hoffmans Pro BMX was a disappointment on the PSOne, and its much, much worse
on the GBA.
course the game looks great. It features bright, colorful graphics that are easy to see,
and the riders look like theyre actually doing the trick theyre supposed to
do. It also features all the riders from the PSOne version, including Hoffman and seven
other pro BMX stars. The large number of riders to choose from, and the replayability of
each pro career, would be a major boon if the game were worth playing through once, which
First picking up the game, it seems impossible to play, as if something seriously went
wrong with the control. After running through the tutorial it turns out that the control
isnt so bad, but something went seriously wrong with the whole basic concept of the
game. Playing Pro BMX, or even Pro Skater, is all about freedom and freestyle. You want to
ride wherever and trick off whatever obstacle you see. Unfortunately in MHPB you are stuck
trying to work within the constraints of the game design.
Each level is
presented in an isometric view, similar to THPS2 on GBA. What is very different is that
you have almost no control over the movement of your bike. You play the game on horizontal
lines, and you can only switch between horizontal lines when you are on the flat, and then
you can only switch between lines very close to you. So, for example, if you wanted to
reach the exit of a ramp, you may have to traverse the ramp three or four times before you
can actually move your rider down far enough on the screen. Add in the complication caused
by the isometric view (various entries, exits and obstacles get hidden behind various
others), and youve got a really not fun game.
It doesnt matter that the graphics are pretty great or that the tricks are easy
to pull off and look really cool. The game defeats you before you even begin. Going
through the tutorial mode you slowly realize the horror youll experience at the
hands of this ill-thought control scheme. Because the whole game is about riding your
bike, theres no way to avoid the insanely crummy controls.
feature some good multiplayer options, but the link requires another cartridge and, again,
youll be riding that bike the whole time. I cannot stress enough how little fun it
is wrestling with this game, and the effort takes away from any joy you might experience
playing it. Unless both you and your friend are huge, and I mean HUGE, Mat Hoffman or BMX
fans, it would be cruel to recommend a purchase on this game just to play multiplayer.
Overall, Mat Hoffmans Pro BMX is a flop. While a GBA port similar to THPS2 would
have done the trick and made this another great title, the bizarre decision to keep the
control as awkward as it was on the GBC ruins the whole package. I do enjoy extreme sports
games, and I was looking forward to this one, so its with deep sadness (and possibly
optimism for the sequel) that I warn any and everyone away from MHPB for the GBA.