"Many gamers consider Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 to be the best in the series. Its well-designed levels, many goals, great soundtrack and cool secret areas kept Playstation gamers happy. But I’m sure only a few of those happy gamers purchased the GBA version of it. Lucky them. The GBA game is like a dumbed-down, uglier version of the original. Sometimes the levels are similar to the Playstation levels, other times they’re only vaguely based on them. Sometimes the goals are the same, other times the..."
Many gamers consider Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 to be the best in the series. Its well-designed levels, many goals, great soundtrack and cool secret areas kept Playstation gamers happy. But I’m sure only a few of those happy gamers purchased the GBA version of it. Lucky them. The GBA game is like a dumbed-down, uglier version of the original. Sometimes the levels are similar to the Playstation levels, other times they’re only vaguely based on them. Sometimes the goals are the same, other times they’re completely made up on the spot. Sometimes it’s fun to play, wait, no, that one doesn’t work.
But before I get on a nasty roll here, let me go back to the first time I played. What a foolish little boy I was, thinking the fun of my PS could carry into my GBA. Popping in the game I was completely clueless, perhaps even excited. The opening title screen featured a blocky Tony Hawk standing next to a random bus on a street. Sure, I think, he may look terrible now but I’m sure things will look better when the game actually gets going. I look in the options skate house for a second to check it out. Everything looks blurry in the background and hardly like a skateshop. Nevermind!, I tell myself, things will get better. They have to.
But they didn’t. In fact, they got worse. Starting up the first level, The Foundry, brought about some of the most hideous fake-3D graphics I’d ever seen. I suppose they thought they were clever trying to make things appear 3D, but really, everything just looks wrong. Wow, this looks really weird, I remember thinking. Quite an understatement indeed. You look down from an angle at your skater who’s in a flat level. Instead of skating around the screen, everything basically remains still, and the level seems to sort of slide around under your skater. It’s a very odd sensation really and takes a long time to get used to. And by “get used to” I mean “not vomit from”.
Anyway, due to this restricting graphical style, the level design has to be watered-down severely. Anything tall in the front would block your vision and you wouldn’t be able to see your skater. Something is very wrong here. Yes indeed, younger self, there definitely is. Plus since the gamer can only see things from the one angle, any details facing the other way would be missed, meaning they have to turn some things to face you so you can see them. This takes away any perceived depth that this game might have. Some of the tricks are cut out too, I guess because they were too hard to animate. The ones that they did manage to animate just look silly. What the heck trick was that supposed to be?, I wondered on multiple occasions. Instead of flying off the end of a ramp if you hit it with too extreme an angle, you just hit an invisible wall and come down on the ramp, I guess because it would be too hard to tell you were missing the ramp. If you try this in a bowl, you’ll spin around rapidly in a seizure-like fit. This is fun, I thought sarcastically. Though the mid-air spasms may have looked amusing, they certainly didn’t make for a very fun game.
It took me about 15 minutes before I realized that I had the volume all the way down. Cringing, I kicked up the volume. Oh boy, I worried aloud. For a brief moment I thought that it wasn’t that bad. Sure, it didn’t compare in the slightest to the rock/punk soundtrack from the PS, but it did have some rock beats. Not bad!, or so I thought. After a minute, however, I realized that it was already repeating. Within five minutes, I discerned that my earlier exclamation had been far from the truth. Oh God, I muttered turning the sound back off again.
Even the goals that remained the same just weren’t the same, because the levels were too different. They were easier and less fun. And that’s pretty much the story for the whole game. It’s a boring, watered-down version of the original, complete with awkward graphics, painful music, and weak goals. Not even the neat secrets remained. The big secret level that you unlock at the end turns out to be a weird, space-like landing without any interesting features called The Zone. What a let-down. Everything great about the Playstation game is shrunk down and uglied up to make this sad GBA title.
Community review by iamtheprodigy (August 26, 2007)
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