Do you hate your
kids? I mean, really really hate them? If so, than this is the
perfect present to put under the tree this holiday season. Don't be
fooled by the Disney license: this is not a kid's game. In fact,
this isn't even really much of a game at all. It's a horrible
experiment gone terribly wrong.
The gameplay is
hard to explain, because there really isn't any. The trick system is
simplistic, with only about 40 or so different tricks to accomplish.
I can understand making a kid's game simpler than other
"extreme" games, but it's nearly impossible to pull any of
them off. This is due to the incredibly sluggish controls and
framerate, which results in tricks being successfully pulled off
successfully about half of the time the player pushes the proper
buttons. So right away, we've pretty much eliminated all of the
trick-based objectives (primarily scoring) as difficult to
The game does
offer up a variety of other objectives in each level that aren't
trick based, but these are almost all incredibly difficult to do as
well. Some of these objectives involve collecting over 500(!)
crystals in a limited time frame, destroying a variety of objects,
and making it to several different checkpoints. Never mind that the
horrible camera/controls/framerate make skating by itself nearly
impossible, but most levels are laid out in a manner that screams
"I dare you to find anything!". Level design is incredibly
complex for a kid's game, often requiring the player to pull off
several miraculous feats in a row to reach out of the way parts of
the level required to complete an objective. Even if the little tots
manage to navigate their way through this mess, it's doubtful that
they'll have the patience to do it level after level.
the sluggish controls and spotty framerate is a horrible camera
system. The camera swings back and forth wildly, rarely offering a
decent view of the action. Often it gets stuck behind a wall,
directly above the player, or just completely lost panning around. I
think we all know by now how important it is to actually be able to SEE
what's going on.
None of this is
even touching on the physics, which are best described as
unrealistic. For example, once the player starts a grind they can
literally grind forever. As they slow down, eventually a base speed
is reached where the slide just continues on until the player
intentionally jumps off. Performing tricks off of ramps is
inconsistent, as the exact same speed in one case results in a
higher jump than the exact same speed in another case. Speed is
gained going downhill, but that's about the only case where reality
intervenes. Of course, who can accurately judge speed at all when
the framerate is as horrible as it is?
Sports Skateboarding is by far the worst looking GameCube title
to date. Each Disney character only has the most basic of animation,
looking more like robots than cartoon characters. Even that crappy
Mickey steamboat cartoon had more animation than this! Where there
are textures, they're both N64ish blurry, stretched out, and/or
distorted. And of course, there's very little in the way of
"special effects" like light-sourcing or particle effects.
This entire nothing graphically is amazingly complimented by a lot
of pop-up and even some minor fogging. The framerate is perhaps the
worst I've ever seen in a finished product, outside of Ultima IX
running two years ago on my crappy PC. At best it's playable in a
stuttery way, and at worst it's maddening.
In sum, despite
incredibly simple level geometry, bad pop-up, tiny and/or blurry
textures, no special effects, and simple animation Konami STILL
couldn't get a decent framerate out of a N64ish game running on
GameCube hardware. I'm can't really put into words how pathetic this
really is. Just an absolute programming disaster.
I don't know who
the announcer is, but I hope beyond all hope that I never have to
hear his voice again. Not only is the quality of his voice whiny,
but he utters a "clever" phrase after every single action
the player makes in addition to several other off the cuff remarks.
The music is actually decent in an "aimed at kids" way, as
are the totally unrealistic sound effects.
- It has Disney
characters in it.
- The trick
system is simple, which theoretically is good in a kid's title.
- There's a
multiplayer mode, but good luck finding anyone willing to play
- The announcer
hates your kids and wants them to go deaf.
- The framerate
fluctuates between approx. 0-20 frames per second, residing
mostly in the mid-teens range. Even crap-tastic Universal
Studios had a fairly solid framerate. This alone is
enough to make the game unplayable…
- ...but the
game also features a camera system that rarely gives a good view
of the action, incredibly sluggish controls, and sadistic level
- This is
easily the worst looking GameCube title yet. Where there are
textures, they're incredibly blurry. Character models are only
slightly animated at best, and this is topped off with a
stuttering framerate, fogging and pop-up.
objectives are difficult for experienced gamers, much less the
tykes this game is aimed at.
"training mode" is simply an open area where the
player can practice. No real tutorial in a kid's game?!?
Please do that
special kid on your list a favor and don't buy them this stinkin'
pile of horse dung no matter how much they want it. This ain't
kiddy, it's crappy. They may hate you in the short term, but
as soon as they get a chance to play it somewhere else they'll run
home (screaming) and leap into your loving arms. If you've
already purchased it, then either take it back or blame it on Santa.
yet + eardrum-shattering commentary + a modicum of gameplay rendered
unplayable by framerate/camera/control problems = the worst GameCube