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MTV Sports: Skateboarding Featuring Andy McDonald
Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Darkblack
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Sports (Extreme)

Graphics & Sound:
MTV Sports: Skateboarding Featuring Andy McDonald looks pretty sweet. The graphics may not be revolutionary, but they do their job well in single player modes. In two player modes, the screen is divided vertically into two pieces. These 'half screens' don't give very much viewing area, sometimes making it really hard to see what you're doing. (This is especially true when you're trying to chase someone...) The skateparks look very good, though, and are very functional.

The sound effects are pretty good, but I find myself wondering where the applause (or, the much more frequent 'booing') is coming from... I don't SEE a crowd anywhere...! The soundtrack is a nice hard mix of the latest bands playing fast, driving songs that work really well for a skateboarding game. These artists include the Deftones, Cypress Hill, Pennywise, System of a Down, OPM, Snapcase, Goldfinger, Pilfers, No Use for a Name, and Flashpoint. And each time you start a new game, you can select either one song or random play. If you select your music and avoid the random feature, you can play the game without having to listen to System of a Down. (That's a GOOD thing.)

When you play MTV Sports: Skateboarding, you have several modes to choose from. In fact, there are ten separate game modes. Sound amazing? Well, statistically, I suppose it is, but ask yourself how many different modes you can think of for a skateboarding game. Seven? Five? ...Some of the modes are a bit of a stretch. I know that professional skateboarders are known to be very athletic, daring, courageous and, well, extreme - but I think that if asked to ride down a hill in a city to a ramp over a large expanse of construction area, perform as wild a stunt as possible while hurtling over this abyss and then land on the ramp on the opposite end of the chasm, they would laugh their heads off. (and refuse...) And If you don't find that to be a strained concept, how about the 'deathmatch' multiplayer mode, where you have to knock your opponent off of his board the most, using projectile weapons, such as 8-balls, blue star things and hand grenades(!?). Alrighty then. With a host of air and land tricks, the variation is definitely there, but it takes a whole lot of practice and some mad skills to progress at ALL in this game.

Are you a die-hard extreme sports gamer? If you like the amazing moves that can be done in skateboarding, you'll find a good deal of them in MTV Sports: Skateboarding. The problem here is that it just may be easier to learn to actually perform the moves than to try to get a high enough score in the game to progress. The point goals are excessively high, the stunts are insane, and the difficulty shoots up from there. If you're looking to play for hours and hours and you don't get discouraged by watching yourself fall face first into the concrete floor after a massive jump from a half pipe, then this game might be for you. If you get easily discouraged, you may want to rent this game first.

Game Mechanics:
MTV Sports: Skateboarding Featuring Andy McDonald has an interesting control layout which is fairly simple and surprisingly difficult to master. Tap that twice, hold this down until you're about to land and push the shoulder button to spin... but don't 'tap' when you're supposed to 'hold' or vice versa. This isn't helped much by the fact that what the buttons do may be different depending on whether you're airborne or on the ground, or depending on the mode you're playing in. This is especially noticeable of the triangle button which is used for Flatland tricks, Grind tricks or launching weapons (in the two-player deathmatch mode). Probably the only real thing that hampers this title is the lack of a variable difficulty setting. This could be as simple as having lower goals to progress if an easier difficulty level is selected. As it is, the game works very well, but you really have to be good... or else.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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