Review by KrayzieGuy86
"Tecmo claims another...."
Alright, let me clear something up:
What I mean by the title of the review is the recent trend of Z-Axis (the developers of Aggressive Inline) to include gratuitous sex appeal and the like in their games. Much like Tecmo (DOA, 2, 3, Xtreme Beach Volleyball).
Ok, now that I've cleaned that up...
I wasn't too excited about Aggressive Inline when I first got it. Word on the 'net was that the game was incredible, so I just had to check it out. I thought it would tide me over until WipEout Fusion comes out next week (shameless plug). So, as I popped in the DVD, I was greeted by a hilarious Z-Axis intro (yes, the developer has their own intro). After the actual intro, and drooling/drueling at the incredible main menu, I started a new Career. I picked Chrissy, the preppy Tecmo schoolgirl because I have no clue who ANYONE in this game is. After many hours of gaming, I must say: the hype was correct. The game is terrific. So many things in the game are great, and a few things bad. Let's get into detail, shall we?
WOW. Immediately following the Z-Axis intro is the stunning Aggressive Inline intro. I'm not sure if everyone thinks the same of it as I, but I enjoyed it 100%. It was my first time listening to Hoobastank's ''Crawling in the Dark'', as well as the first time I saw such awesome Aggro-Inline stunts. Following the intro is the presentation of the awesome menu. The menu is more or less 2 bars with the logo and selections on the left and bottom of the screen, with the remainder of the screen streaming an edited version of the intro with the instrumental of a song in the game. The song with lyrics is terrible in my opinion, but the instrumental is ok. In any case, all the menus and the User Interface in-game are all very good looking. Much better than THPS3.
The most flawed area of the game is the graphics. The actual character models are Azztastic, but the backgrounds are great. Well, most of them. The only thing that Z-Axis actually has to work on in terms of graphics are the character models and textures (of the characters). I wouldn't mind seeing such detailed backgrounds in AI2.
The game fuses THPS3 with Airblade (horizontal and vertical pole grabbing) with a few new moves (i.e. vault: magically vaulting 10 feet in the air to go over an object).
In each level, there are many, MANY juice boxes. The juice boxes give the character a small boost in the special meter (which works differently in AI... more on it soon). There is 1 special juice box in each of the 9 levels to actually increase the size of your special meter, too. Each level also has from 3 other special items: a Special Trick (signified by a head), a key to unlock an area to another level (neat new addition!), and a certain stat increase item (one for each stat).
The levels themselves are rather impressive. They are roughly 4 times the size of most THPS3 levels. They have various goals (which you sometimes acquire from NPCs) and are usually very fun to play in.
Next in gameplay: Attributes.
The way you increase stats/attributes in AI is actually very odd at first. By doing any kind of trick, your XP (yes, experience points) will increase depending on what you did during that trick. You jump on a ramp, do a flip, and land fakie (backwards), your XP will increase in Jump (higher jumping), Speed, and Fakie (increases speed while in the Fakie position). Do a Wallride, jump off the wall, land in a manual, and you'll get XP in Wallride and Manual. Easy, huh? Well, unfortunately it's not as easy as it sounds in the actual game. Stats increase at a snail's pace and it is very tedious to increase stats. I prefer the cash for stats system of THPS2.
FINALLY, the final part of gameplay: the Special meter.
Ok, it's not an actual special meter. This DOES measure if you can do a special move or not, but it has other purposes as well. Well, one other purpose actually. This measures how much time you have left until you Game Over (there is no 2 minute timer... forgive me for not mentioning it earlier). GAME OVER?! IN A EXTREME SPORTS GAME?! WTF? Yup. I thought it was a bad idea, too. The good news, however is that you can constantly increase the meter (not the size) to prevent a Game Over. If you DO Game Over, it will cost you $100,000. :( But it's not that hard to make that cash again. :)
Decent. The song selection is sub-par, with the only actual stand-outs being Hoobastank and Sublime's ''Wrong Way''.
The actual skating is standard stuff. The voice acting for NPCs (non-player characters) are ok. Nothing special. Although some are funny. Oh yeah, this game has quite a bit of profanity in it. One level has a man yelling and cussing at an ATM machine which won't give the man back his card.
One of the best extreme sports games I have played. Something is missing, though. I can't quite put my finger on it but it seems a bit dry when compared to THPS2 and/or 3. I seriously cannot wait for Aggressive Inline 2. If there is any. I wouln't be surprised if the game was released under Chris Edwards' Pro Inline or something of the like. Rumor has it that Z-Axis was purchased by Activision and added to Activision's O2 lineup... but enough of rumors:
Enjoy your game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/06/02, Updated 10/14/02
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