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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by THQ / DarkBlack

Ups: Great music; tons of game modes, courses and skaters; fun to play. 

Downs:  Two-player mode is weak; loading music sometimes messes up play.

System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation

ScreensPSX_S01-01.jpg (3758 bytes)There is a new player in the (until recently) Tony Hawk dominated arena of Skateboarding video games. MTV Sports: Skateboarding hit the ground running and it is battling its way to the forefront of the fray. It might be hard to take a look at a skateboarding game without saying, "Well, in Tony Hawk its like this..." or "Tony Hawk does it this way." Well, Im going to do you a favor and not mutter the words "Tony Hawk" anymore in this review, because MTV Sports Skateboarding stands very well on its own two feet (four wheels?) and wont be pushed around by you-know-who.

ScreensPSX_S02-01.jpg (4340 bytes)MTV Sports: Skateboarding has an excellent array of options. 14 Pro Skaters and about an equal number of make-believe skaters form the arsenal of skating power that you have to choose from. It has 10 different game modes, over 60 individual tricks and almost 40 different levels to grind, ride and shred. It supports 2-player mode and has 4 different games that you can play against your friends. The single player option lets you choose among 6 solo-skater play modes. I was very impressed with the wide selection of games. The many play modes really extend the playability of the game and definitely helped hold my attention for hours on end.

ScreensPSX_S03-01.jpg (2625 bytes)The single player modes are Freeplay, Lifestyle, High Score, MTV Hunt, Survival and my favorite, Stunt Mode. Freeplay allows you to choose a skater and just go kick it at one of the indoor or outdoor skateparks. Freeplay lets you practice your tricks and pull off cool combos with an unlimited amount of time on the clock. Freeplay was fun for a little while, but I really like to see my score piling up. Besides, if I pull off a 540 Darkair with a late Shoveit to Nose Slide, I want to get credit for it! Lifestyle is the games career mode. You pick a skater and compete in freestyle competitions and are rated by a panel of 6 judges. Your rating reflects your technical ability, variety of tricks and the number of successful tricks pulled off in a specified time period. As you qualify on each of the competitions, you unlock new outfits, boards and courses. The game also gives you hints on how to improve your score for next time.

ScreensPSX_S04-01.jpg (4167 bytes)High Score mode gives you 2 Minutes and 30 Seconds to pull off as many grinds, airs, slides grabs and combos as you can. If you do good enough, you get the honor of being named Top Skater for that course. MTV Hunt pits you against time while gathering MTV logos that are strewn about the skate course. If you collect 10 you move on to the next course. The catch is, if you wreck, you drop one or two of the logos that youve already collected and as is the nature of pesky MTV logos, they scurry off to find a new home and youve gotta collect them again. Survival mode gives you 30 seconds on the clock; you earn more time by pulling off big air and cool combos. The goal is to remain "alive" as long as possible.

ScreensPSX_S05-01.jpg (5217 bytes)The game mode that most caught my attention was the Stunt mode. You are given a somewhat short downhill course and you need to ride the course and pull off the biggest and baddest tricks before you get to the end. If your tricks are rockin enough, you get to travel to the next course. The courses become increasingly difficult to navigate, which really honed my skating skills. The first Stunt course is basically a ski jump where your skater gathers speed on the downhill and is launched high over a half dozen cars all the while pulling phat tricks and spins in the air.

ScreensPSX_S06-01.jpg (4769 bytes)The two-player modes include Battle, Time Bomb, MTV Hunt and Deathmatch. Unfortunately, the two-player mode is where the game is slightly lacking. Battle mode awards each of the player 100,000 points, the players then skate around trying to "Steal" points from their opponent for pulling big moves. The drawback to this is that if you match two evenly skilled players against each other, the game goes back and forth until one player eventually just gives up. Time Bomb is a shorter two-player game where one player is marked at "the Bomb" which will explode in 65 seconds, that player must "tag" the other skater in order to pass the bomb. The player left holding the bomb after 65 seconds looses. MTV Hunt is just like the one player version apart from the fact that both players are trying to collect the MTV Logos. Deathmatch doesnt sport the blood and guts that its MTV Celebrity cousin does, but it does have weapons that you can fire at the opponent skater. These modes are all creative, but they left out the one mode that a player like me wants most: Time Trial, the mode where you score as many points as you can in a preset time and the player with the most points at the end prevails. This could have been a real winner of a two-player game if it supported this mode, but alas, we all have our weaknesses.

ScreensPSX_S07-01.jpg (3957 bytes)The games graphics are decent. The camera that follows the skater always stays at a nice angle for full trick viewing and future terrain anticipation. Lighting and shadowing are simulated, but the skater’s shadow disappears when youre doing a trick, but that's no biggie. The ramps and walls all sport a realistic effect by having sponsor names and labels plastered all over them. The game's soundtrack is outstanding. The crew picking out the music mustve sent out a questionnaire to groups of local skaters to determine their favorite bands. There is a whopping 10 songs by 10 different punk, dub, ska, rap and hardcore bands. Some of the highlights are: Pennywise, Cypress Hill, Deftones, No Use for a Name, and Goldfinger. While playing any mode of the game, you can select any of the above artists to listen to in loop mode, or just put the stereo on shuffle and shred to a random sampling of contemporary skate tunes. One word of warning: when you select shuffle, the game pauses for a split second when switching songs, and that can really mess up a carefully executed combo.

ScreensPSX_S08-01.jpg (3615 bytes)Play control is pretty good. It is easy enough for a beginner to pick up quickly, but it is also precise enough for an experienced user to execute the tricks that he wants when he wants. The tricks are pulled of by a direction pad + action button combo. Flatland tricks are done using the grind button while on flat ground. Rotations are done using the R1, R2, L1, and L2 buttons. The options menu gives you the choice of three preset controller configs. These configs just switch the positions of the grind, kick trick and grab trick buttons.

ScreensPSX_S09-01.jpg (4367 bytes)Overall, I had a great time with MTV Sports: Skateboarding. It is fun and challenging enough to hold my interest. The plethora of game modes gives the game a "something for everybody" type of appeal. The soundtrack is great and the play control and graphics fit nicely into the picture. MTV Sports: Skateboarding is a stand out game that is a great addition to any skaters (or skater-at-hearts) game library.

--Tim Johnson