Monday 11 July 2016

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (Nokia N-Gage review)

Developer: Ideaworks3D
Publisher: Nokia
Released: 2003

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is a sports game that originally debuted on the PlayStation in 1999.

It consists of nine levels that take place in locations such as a School, a Mall and even Roswell! You have two minutes per attempt and your objective in each is to complete five missions; these include reaching the High / Pro Scores, locating the S-K-A-T-E letters and finding the Secret Tape. The rest of your goals are level specific such as grinding the lunch tables in School or destroying five cop cars in San Francisco. The action zips along at a blistering speed and the gameplay is as enjoyable as ever with a nice range of missions, huge, varied environments and a deep trick system. It's impressive that all nine levels are included and you can even watch a full replay of your last attempt and save / edit it into smaller clips. The button layout has been ported over well and most of the time you'll feel in total control of your skater. However, where things start to fall apart is in the vert game due to the slowdown and inconsistent frame-rate that make it tricky to see the rotation of your skateboard for a clean landing. These technical issues can also affect your input commands as they're sometimes ignored, meaning luck plays as much of a factor as skill. The draw distance isn't great but once you've memorised the level layouts it's not too much of an issue. One major plus is the ability to play four levels from THPS2 (New York, Hangar, Philadelphia and Venice Beach) in the 2 Player, Single Session and Free Skate modes. While many secret areas are absent they're still tons of fun to skate around and the level design truly shines. A few of the music tracks also made it into this port which really helps to compliment the action.
When the technical issues don't rear their ugly head, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater features some top-notch extreme sports action. However, while it's impressive that the entire game has been squeezed onto a portable device, the N-Gage isn't quite powerful enough to handle the twitch style gameplay that's required throughout.
Random trivia: If you complete all 30 missions you'll unlock Officer Dick as a playable character!

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