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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Nintendo 64
Edge of Reality
GENRE: Extreme Sports
PLAYERS:   1-2
March 13, 2000
Tony Hawk: Shred

Tony Hawk: Shred

Tony Hawk: Shred

Tony Hawk: Ride

Tony Hawk: Ride

More in this Series
 Written by Alan Rumpf  on July 27, 2000

Review: As the ad promises, "Now you can be Tony"

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was originally released on the Sony Playstation and was met with great reviews as it flew off the shells, raking in the cash. The game took skateboarding on video games to a new level and everyone appreciated the great engine that let you do insane tricks and get huge air while still keeping it mildly realistic. After seeing it's great success on the Playstation it was only natural to see a port come to the Nintendo 64. Does the port live up to the Playstation original?

It sure does, and the visuals are definitely one of the main reasons. The course textures look so much smoother than the aliased Playstation version. Floors and ramps actually look like floors and ramps instead of a collection of pixels thrown together. While the body shape of the skaters may look a little bit blockier than it's Playstation predecessor, they also look smoother and the anti-aliasing of the Nintendo 64 really shines through when comparing the two versions of the game. While there is your normal amount of pop-up, more in some levels, less in others, it hardly takes away from any of the gameplay and it was well executed. While missing are the videos that would play on walls of the skate park and any of the extra skate footage, including the old Playstation introduction (the N64 intro is lame!), I find this doesn't really take away from the fun of the game. It may take away from actually having a purpose in getting all gold medals since you only unlock character's special tricks, but I don't really find this to be any big loss. The camera angles are excellent and will change slightly sometimes when going off a ramp near a wall. The camera is very well executed and there are very few glitches. While of course it does not visually look as good as the upcoming port on Dreamcast, it sure looks better than it did on Playstation and it looks better than the demos of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 I've seen on Playstation.

The course design is excellent in the game and is perfect for skating. There are a total of 9 courses in the game, you start with only a few and unlock the rest of them as you collect tapes along the solo player game. I find myself playing in the warehouse and skate park level the most, as they seem to be the most traditional to skating. There is an assortment of flat and downhill courses to skate on; all with more grindable edges then you can count. If you don't think your going to land a big trick hold down the grind button and you might just land it out by grinding an edge you didn't think you could. There are big ramps to get big air, and many half-pipes to do a series of tricks as well as certain places where the rails and ramps are set-up just right so if you can pull off the right tricks you'll get BIG points. While some courses are better than others the course design is no less than fantastic in this game.

Now, unfortunately the audio happens to be the weak point in the port of this fantastic skating game. More specifically the music is at fault. While the sound effects are your basic skating, grinding, and falling sounds you would expect to hear, the music is the weak point of the N64 version. The sound effects are all the same as the Playstation version but the music is not. For the obvious reason that Playstation had CD quality tracks and Activision and Edge of Reality could not find away to stuff all this music on to the limited cartridge space and still make it sound good. Using what they had however I would say they still did a decent job. While some songs did not make it all to the N64 from the Playstation version, many did. However, only about three of four of them contain lyrics. Most of the others are short little one-minute clips that are looped however it still isn't all that much of a problem, after all they're just Ska, Punk, and Hardcore skater tunes (That I happen to love). However some don't love that type of music so there's nothing preventing you from turning the music down, and turning up your own stereo. While the sound quality of the tracks isn't great and a lot was cut, it's still no big problem and doesn't really take anything away from the game.

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