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GRIND SESSION
"In an effort to wrestle the top spot of the skateboarding crown from Tony Hawk's, Grind Session mimics veritably all of the stuff that made that former title so excellent."
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Developer  Sony Game Type  Racing
Distributor  Sony Review Date  Jun 00
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Setting the Scene:
 
      You are an unproven skateboarder and you are ready to show the world your prowess. The other skaters aren't going to roll over and accept you just because you say you're good, you've got to earn their respect - and it's not going to be easy… this is a tough crowd.

Grab your board and get cracking, because you won't make the "in" crowd until you prove you're a top shredder... time to show that you can back up that cocky attitude with some serious boarding licks dude… get ready to pound the pavement.

Sound and Vision:
 
      The soundtrack is a collection of some recent hip-hop and alternative tracks from well-known artists such as Sonic Youth. Once on a level, you will hear the same tune repeat itself until you complete or restart it. This is not too much of a problem in the tournament mode (which has shorter playing times), but it drove me insane on both the training and open skate modes, which are untimed.

The in-game sound effects were excellent. The skateboard sounds varied across different surfaces, which included cobblestones, wood, and metal. They were realistic and very true. There is even a piano on one of the courses that you will get to "tickle the ivory" on the different keys as you ride across them.

The game also has various items like garbage cans, boomboxes and pigeons that you can try to knock over/scare away. These have excellent sound FX as well. The pigeons have the typical guttural tone and you hear them as they flap away. The garbage cans make a realistic clatter as they are knocked over (they're empty, fortunately) and there are some wood boards on cartons that make a good clopping sound when you knock them down. As you progress in the tournament mode, there are some great crowd noises for well performed tricks... adding nicely to the overall atmosphere of the gameplay.

The graphics are excellent as well. Everything is rendered using polygons. Your character has been constructed with enough of them to look smooth and solid rather than angular, and as with most of the latest releases 'seaming' and other glitches have pretty much been eliminated. All of the scenarios are quite different from one another and they have different surfaces as a result... you can easily see the difference between a shiny metal halfpipe and a grainy plywood one. Unfortunately, there are no wear or scuffmarks on these surfaces, as they would show in a real-world environment…guess there was just not enough RAM to store those kinds of images.

Overall the graphics engine is a nice solid piece of work that is right up there in quality with the legendary Tony Hawk's title.
 
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