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Who are you? A small town Skateboard King. A punk, but a punk with promise. If you think you can just show up anywhere and skate, you are greener than you ought to be. If you want to skate on the good stuff, then you've got to prove yourself. You ain't getting nowhere for free.
Sound and Vision:
This is a mixed bag. The game has a great soundtrack with various hip-hop hits from many artists including White Lines by Grandmaster Flash. The audio tracks sound great, but seem to be the primary focus of the sounds. The skating sounds are either weak or non-existent.
The views are good and believable, but nothing spectacular. The polygon models for the characters are nice and solid if a bit small but they are well animated and depicted. Backgrounds are fairly well detailed and there is never any mistaking where you are and where you are about to head. On the glitchy side of things, scenes tend to jump when your character gets caught behind a barrier and you attempt to move out of the area you are blocked in. The "barrier" also obscures your view until you get the player moving again.
For those of you familiar with Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, Thrashers controls will take some getting used to. At first I found the handling to be almost absurd, bordering on the verge of frustration but after a bit of practice you should be pulling off some big point score moves; especially if you read the instructions before playing.
You start off in hometown USA and start working your way up to new and more difficult levels and there are some creative things adding to the play. Each level, you must not only exceed the points needed, but also you must avoid a cop with a stun gun, or a mugger out to make your life miserable. Some levels will also have judges that sadistically deduct points for falls. These "interludes" are not random occurrences though and doesn't change within the structure of the game. If there's a cop on a particular level, there's always a cop, etc. Take note, there are exits that are well marked at these levels. A little hint. Head for the exit and exit the level once you've gotten enough points, this will lock you in to be able to get to the next level. You can always skate it again if you want, but nothing's more frustrating than having the right amount of points and having the cop zap you with the stun gun causing you to lose that round.
Another thing to be aware of is that your points decrease as you pull the same tricks over and over in the same area until you get to zero so you had best be learning new moves on a consistent basis to continually progress.
There is one feature of the game I found EXTREMELY annoying. When your character runs into a wall (not a rail) or low barrier, you don't crash like you'd expect the character to, you bounce off the wall and start facing the other way. The second scene is in a New York subway and I got caught on the rails at a dead end bouncing in all directions. Moving the PSX controller knobs seems to make it worse. You just have to let it stop bouncing before you gain control. That is not only unrealistic, but extremely annoying and detracting from the gameplay. There also isn't any feedback on the dual shock controllers when you hit the wall. All other areas seem to be more true to form for realism though.
That brings up another point I have about the inconsistency of the feedback on the dual shock controllers. There is none. If you pull a trick off a wall and land hard on the surface safely, you feel no feedback. If you fall off in mid flight you feel your character's landing in the controller. The controller gives feedback for things like the subway train moving past you, but different surfaces don't give different feedback.
I found when the character falls or lands wrong, separating you from the skateboard, it .just ..seems .to .go .into .slow .motion .until you land. That is aggravating. If the point is to penalize you seconds off your two minutes, just deduct the seconds and crash at regular speed. I think this also takes away from the dramatic crash when you really take a dive. Then when your character is back standing up, he's not facing in a direction you'd expect him to be. I expected the character to be standing up facing the direction he was heading. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason why he faced the way he did when he stood up guess maybe the intent was to simulate confusion on the skaters part. I sure know it confused me!
As you complete a level successfully, you are rewarded each time with new tricks to add to your arsenal. This is a good motivator to continue through the levels. The tricks menu can be accessed any time by pressing the start button during the game. They take some practice, but do work well. I still didn't understand why the L2 and R2 buttons were never added to the trick combinations. This seemed to make the tricks harder to remember and I ended up just performing a set of tricks over and over. This causes you to have a hard time getting to the next level as the points decrease for the same tricks.
I tried the two-player option to see how that scenario goes. I was expecting to have a scenario like the beginning graphics when two players are skating together in the same park. This didn't happen. One player skates the area, then the other. The one with the most points wins. Very disappointing. A split screen mode on the same level would seem to make more sense to better get that feeling of skating with your buddies.
This is a 1 disk game for 1 or 2 Players. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).
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