By: Adrian V.
oohing and aahing over the new Gameboy Advance. With good reason, to
be sure, but the fact remains that the launch titles were, shall we
say, ‘malnourished’. Of course, I didn’t know this for a
while. My first game, Mario,
was pretty cool, and obviously beyond what my other Gameboy
could handle. It took me more than a few joy-filled hours to realize
that I had already played this game back when it was called Super
Mario All-Stars, and it had not one, but two extra games
in it that, unlike this edition’s original Mario Bros., didn’t
suck. Maybe being able to hear Mario and Luigi grunt every ten
seconds threw me off.
I then tried
racing game. I’m not going to bother locating and firing the
neurons that will access the actual name of that one, since Driver
on my Gameboy Color makes – whatever it’s called– it’s
whiny, sniveling bitch. Even with the overhead
Things were not
Then I found
myself staring at the boxes for Tony Hawk and Super
Dodge Ball. Decisions, decisions. I won’t bore you with the
litany of arguments, counter-arguments and rationalizations my brain
went through, but I will say two things; one- you can
probably guess which of the two I ended up with, and, two-
not once were the synapses holding the name of the aforementioned
racing game disturbed from their slumber.
As for Tony Hawk
2? How in the name of the Holy Mother of Creation did they fit this
game into my palm? There are many things I can think of that I would
like to have in my palm at any given moment, but no more. Now there’s
only room for the Hawk. Let’s set aside the upgradeable skaters,
leave for later the myriad tricks to purchase and master, and look
past the insane number of grinds and gaps to be discovered.
How am I able to control that tiny little guy (or girl, relax...) so
well? Sure it was a bit tricky at first, but the ‘at first’
lasted maybe an hour, and I was completely unaware I had even existed
for that hour, so entranced was I by the endless stream of
objectives and skateable areas.
Okay, so it’s
streamlined, since there are only four buttons to use. But even so,
the depth offered by the console versions was sacrificed by almost
inconsequential degrees, and that’s saying a lot. Sure, you
may want to drive around goofy tracks or wield undead-slaying whips
when possible, but grabbing twenty feet of air to hook a grind on a
rooftop lip before leaping to a rear-wheel manual ending with a
lofty half-pipe encounter is something you just can’t compare.
Where was I?
features. I’ll hit my favorites first.
This alone makes Tony the number one choice for your first
GBA purchase. Hidden in the game (in plain sight) are 156 different
gaps to be jumped or grinds to be, well, ground. In plain
sight because they’re right there, in every level, just waiting
for you to locate and skate them. Impressive because many of them
are less than obvious, and they force you to attempt skating everything
you see, rather than just hitting the half-pipes and a few rails
to satisfy the minimum score objectives.
forget the option to upgrade not only your skater of choice, but every
skater in the game on a single game save. Since each skater has
to complete all the objectives individually, you have a minimum of
thirteen runs through the game, if you can possibly stand the strain
on your personal relationships.
But here’s the
true beauty of Tony Hawk 2 on the GBA; at any time, anywhere, you
can turn it on and burn a handful of otherwise empty minutes
snagging a few objectives. You can build up Muska, and then decide
you want to see how someone oriented towards vert skating handles
the New York Streets. Or you can spend time perfecting your
glorious, endless trick. There are so many hours of gaming literally
at your fingertips, it boggles the mind.
With all this
tightly packed genius, it makes the few problems to be found that
much more painful.
First of all,
the isometric perspective can be difficult to deal with. Even after
many, many, many hours logged, I still have trouble going
vertical on any ramp that makes me look at my skater from behind. As
well, the characters are very detailed, but for all their detail,
they’re still less than an inch tall. This can sometimes make it
difficult to determine where your board is when landing a trick.
Finally, some people may not want to endlessly achieve random
skating objectives, and need more of a ‘plot’ to their gaming.
There’s nothing wrong with that, those people just need to leave
the ten-sided dice at home once in a while.
That was a joke.
For the rest of
you, if you own a Gameboy Advance and Tony Hawk 2 is not
among the titles you possess for it, this review is your final
warning before the Gaming Gestapo pays you a ‘little visit’.
You have been
- Loads of
- Battery save.
depth in a handheld, rivaling many console games.
can be tricky.
difficult to land a trick because the board is obscured by
either the skater or by getting lost while looking ‘through’
an obstruction. (The game makes anything blocking your view of
the skater translucent, not clear, so the colors can sometimes
Own it. Period.