"Well it's sure not Tony Hawk's..."

Gameplay: 5/10
If you've played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1, 2 or 3, you will know what to expect from a skateboarding game. With those expectations in mind, you are most likely going to be a tad disappointed with THQ's effort, MTV Skateboarding. The controls are mapped out the same as THPS (A=ollie, B=grab, X=flip, Y=grind, L/R=spin). The problem is that they're not nearly as responsive as you would hope. To perform tricks, you must hold down the button (flip, grab etc.) for about half a second and then push the direction for the trick. This gets very annoying when trying to pull off double diagonal taps on the controller.
The game is quite long, with many more levels than THPS, but the levels are of a much poorer quality, being much smaller and with almost nowhere to pull of a long grind/manual/flip combo. Even if you do succeed in doing one of these (almost impossible due to the difficulty involved in manualing (wheelie)) you get a very low score. The games producers must like vert tricks more than street, because, while it is easy to pull off a grab/spin trick for upwards of 60,000 points, the best you can expect for a huge, near impossible, street combo is 5,000. This frustrated me immensely because I am used to getting 5-600,000 for one of my grind combos (THPS2).
The tricks you can do in MTV Skateboarding are mostly much better tricks than in THPS (Crailslides, Darkairs etc.) Too bad they look nothing like the tricks are supposed to...
These things all add up to the game being MUCH harder than THPS. But is this a good thing? No. The game is hard to the point of knocking holes in the wall with frustration!
With all I've said there, you may be forgiven for thinking MTV Skateboarding is the worst game ever made, but it does have its redeeming features.

Features: 9/10
Here's one thing MTV Skateboarding is not short of! All up there are 10 (no typo) modes for you to skate your way through.

6 Single Player:

Freeplay: No time limit. Choose you skater, choose your level and go.

Lifestyle: Skate your way through a whole heap of levels of increasing difficulty. Near the end, this gets REALLY hard.

High Score: Get the high score for the level. VERY easy.
MTV Hunt: There are several MTV logos floating around the level. collect a set amount of them before time runs out. You drop some if you stack. There is also an extra deck picture to collect the parts of in each level. Fun but frustrating.

Survival: Very fun mode here! You start with a short time limit and have to extend it by doing various tricks worth different amounts of time. The top record on each level is enormous (the first level record is 15 minutes!) so it may take a while to finish. There are several AI skaters around. Although AcompletelackofI is probably a better description. They fall over a lot. But that doesn't really matter. At least they don't aim fr you... much.

Stunt mode: Fun. You are placed in areas with huge gaps to pull stunts over. Get on the records list to move to the next level. Very easy until the last level, which is impossible. (not quite, but I haven't done it...)

And 4 multiplayer (2-4 players):

Battle: Each player starts off with 100,000 points. Every time someone does a trick, the points from that trick add on to their score and are taken away from the opponents score. The first to 0 loses.

Time Bomb: One player starts with a bomb attached to them. There is a minute time limit. The bomb is offloaded onto any player they run into. After the time runs out. Whoever has the bomb blows up.

MTV Hunt: Same as the one player MTV hunt, but with more players. First to 10 logos wins.

Deathmatch. Well, this is different! Roll around and collect weapons. The grind button shoots. Kill the other player 5 times to win. The weapons include Grenades (!) 8 Balls (?) Floating mines (!?) among others. This is the most original 2 player modes I've ever seen in a skateboarding game. One question arises. Why didn't they include HORSE? (Call it SKATE if you want).

There are a whole heap of skaters, costumes, decks and levels. Too bad the skaters are all exactly the same (same tricks etc.)

Load times:
Oh Dear... It takes 15 seconds to load a level. The load screens are... different, with a picture of a band featured in the game and the name of a skater.

These are not the game's strongest point. The frame rate is dodgy in places to say the least. Some tricks aren't even close to what they really are supposed to be. It all just looks a bit blocky. Let's put it this way: it's nothing the Playstation couldn't have done ages ago. Nowhere near THPS2 on Dreamcast. Not horrible. Just don't expect anything like Shenmue...

Sound: 7/10
This splits up into
Sound effects: 2/5
The rolling noise (90% of the sound effects) is droning and unrealistic. The ollie and flip noises are the same (not awesome). There is one really strange thing, the complete lack of any sound (or anything else for that matter) when you run head on into a wall. You just instantly stop. No noise, no stack, nothing.

and Music: 5/5
Wow! This is probably the best aspect of the game. Rock, rap and everything inbetween. This is probably the only aspect in which this game utterly trounces THPS. With bands like Cypress Hill, Goldfinger, Pennywise, OPM and someone called strangely enough 'No Use for a Name' among others. The music is going to distract you from skating a lot, it's that good.
Too bad there's no music in multiplayer...

Replay Value: 4/10
I don't know about you, but I can't see myself playing through any of the modes on this more than once. After finishing MTV Skateboarding, I'm straight back to THPS2. Some people I know love this game to bits so I'm guessing it's all down to personal opinion. It's good, don't get me wrong, but there's not enough to keep me coming back for more.

Buy/Rent?: RENT (at first)
I'd rent it first if I were you. If you love it, go buy it. If not, enjoy it as much as you can for the week. Then move on to something else. There are a lot of things to do, so you won't finish it if you just rent it, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

In Summary
If you like skateboarding, give this a go. If not, it's not the kind of game that'll suck you in anyway like Tony Hawk's does. Try before you buy. If you can get over the irritating controls, it's a good bit of fun, if a bit frustrating at times.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 12/29/01, Updated 12/29/01

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