Review by Slateman
"Obligatory comparison to THPS...this loses on all accounts!"
I remember when the original came out, I was really excited that finally someone had decided to make a skating game. We have enough snowboarding ones already! The gaudy colors and annoying engine really destroyed all my hope for this game to be good. Then (you know this would have to be part of the review) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater came out and blew me away! It had it all and more.
So, EA had the chance to make a game better. Unfortunately it fails in almost all regards.
The graphics aren't as painfully bright as it's predecessor, and the stages themselves have some interesting sections. There's some cool ramp configurations and rails all over the place. But interesting is where it ends. THPS had ingenious level setups. The only place where SS2 may have an edge is that some of the levels are really quite large.
Since THPS had easy controls and awesome combos, we'd expect this to be the same. Since the game is more arcade than sim, you would figure the moves would be easy to pull off. This is simply not the case here. I don't know why you have to press odd combinations of buttons to pull off a simple kickflip, while a double backflip benihana is only slightly more difficult. The combo system is decent, as it's difficult to do at first, but after practice, it gets easier. That is good design, reward for practice.
The modes in the game include competition, free skate, pool duel (2P) and some others. These are the main modes, and competition is where you'll spend your beginning time with the game, trying to get points to power up your characters and seeing new stages. In this mode, you will have to reach a certain point total, and skate through to the finish line in order to continue onto the next stage. This is a nice difference from THPS, as it forces you to pull off your best moves, and keep on track to skate through the whole stage in a time limit. There are multiple difficulty levels in competition mode, and after skating through easy, the medium level proved frustrating enough. Without memorizing all the moves and their odd button presses (which use the L2/R2 buttons extensively), and capturing the 10,000 point crystal, you may find these stages difficult to clear.
The level editor in the game is decent, it gives you quite a few pieces to build with, but you only get a small slab of concrete to work with, and it's difficult to know what you're doing. Kudos to EA for implementing this, but already THPS 2's level editor is leaps and bounds past what this offers.
I'd also recommend turning off the controller shock option. It shakes violently all the time, and is perhaps the most annoying use of such a function in any game I've ever played.
Graphics: 7 Not bad really, but nothing memorable at all.
Gameplay: 5 This is where the game hurts...
Controls: 6 Until you level your character up, painfully annoying.
Overall: 5 Sorry about the THPS references, but it set the
standard and SS2 falls short...way short.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 04/17/00, Updated 04/17/00
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