MTV Sports Skateboarding
Typical. We wait years for a PC skateboarding game, then two arrive at once. Unfortunately, MTV Skateboarding is the runt of the litter, when held up next to the fabulous Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. Despite a rip-roaring soundtrack and some fine graphics, MTV Skateboarding is held back by slow movement and sluggish controls. It doesn't have the 'feel' or the speed to match up to the might of Activision's skatefest, in spite of an almost identical control system.
MTV Skateboarding does have Stunt mode (which allows you to jump one-off ramps), MTV Hunt mode (collect MTV logos to prolong time) and Survival mode (gain additional time by pulling tricks) - but it doesn't have the same addictive qualities as its rival and comes out second best. For completists only.
Download MTV Sports Skateboarding
Coming from THQ and Darkblack, this skateboarding title features Andy MacDonald and a 3D-person crew of pro and fantasy skaters duking it out in a number of ramp and rail-ridden arenas. The game is more detailed compared to THPS, but the graphics don't look as natural. And the same goes for the animation in this early build. Let's hope this stuff is tweaked in the final version. Look for it late this year.
We recently had some play time with this fall release from THQ and Darkblack, and can't say we're terribly impressed. Granted, the game is only about 85% done (so there's still time to improve the awkward control and grainy graphics, among other things), but at this point it just doesn't feel as natural as (you guessed it) the upcoming Tony Hawk sequel. We'll let you know with a review soon.
I'm gonna forget for a sec that this thing is the most blatant Tony Hawk rip-off yet, because even in an alternate dimension where Tony's skate game never existed, MTV Sports: Skateboarding Featuring Andy MacDonald would still suck. Awkward, unresponsive, just plain God-awful control is the main culprit here. Tricks just seem to happen by accident half the time. Sometimes I can pull a grab after a kick trick; sometimes I can't. I end up bailing on half my grind attempts, which pretty much turns this into a vert-only skating game. Street-style skating just gets too frustrating. To make matters worse, the game wails annoying booing noises every time you bite it. (I turned the sound off about halfway through my first run.) MTV Sports: Skateboarding looks about as good as it plays, too. The visuals are grainy and the framerate chugs along--particularly in the two-player split-screen modes. An abundance of modes and levels is really the only thing this game has going for it. Aside from the main career mode (which has you completing goals while being rated by judges), you get an icon-hunt mode, an overly difficult stunt course, a survivor game that adds time to the clock for every successful trick, a novel combat multiplayer game and much more. The terrible game-play just wrecks it all, though, just stick with THPS2. It may lack the licenses and logos of MTV Sports, but it's at least a thousand times better.
In a world where Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 exists, MTV Skateboarding is almost inexcusable. The level design is fine, the variety in skaters, locations, music and so on is passable. However, the skater animation is just sad, and the control is horrendous. Flips seem to have a short delay on them, and no matter what button combinations you press it seems your skater only does what you want about half the time. Technically this game has just about everything else it needs to succeed as a Tony Hawk clone, right down to the licensed music (which, by the way, slows the game down each time a new track is loaded up). Unfortunately, the control just kills it.
Publishers have figured out there are big bucks to be made from extreme sports titles. Unfortunately not all of them can be as good as Tony Hawk. Some aren't even in the same hemisphere...That's the case with SFAM. It's pretty weak across the board (pardon the pun), from the unnatural animation to awkward trick interface--everything is below-average. It's become apparent that the camera plays a major role in ramp-based skateboarding and BMX games. It's very important that it zooms and scrolls fluidly with the action, especially when riders launch off ramps. SFAM doesn't excel in this area either. Aside from the cool music, there's not much here.