John Walker's Electronic House

Review: Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land

by on Dec.23, 2005, under The Rest

Oh dear. With Tony Hawk games you’re supposed to begin with one of those quick historical rundowns of the previous games in the series, in order that you can file the latest in the correct slot. But it’s all got too confusing. So many games. In order to survive this, let’s say that this is the first Tony Hawk game for the DS, acknowledge that Vicarious Visions have been porting the series over to Nintendo systems for a good long while, and recognise that there are parallels between American Sk8land and the current big-boy consoles’ American Wasteland. And we’ll also all agree that things went a bit wonky with the two Underground games, especially the horrid rubbish of THUG 2 and its Jackass-infected non-skateboarding lameness. Phew, eh?

Talking of going a bit wonky, after some absolutely superb GBA conversions of the series, Vicarious itself had a bit of a spaz over the Underground games. That it was able to take the high-fallutin’ 3D skateboarding games and convert them into something workable in 2D on the four-button GBA was impressive. That it managed to make them eminently playable games was a thing of wonder. But as Neversoft lost sight of its own franchise, so did the handheld ports.

But as with so many, it seems, the challenge of coding for the DS has given Vicarious a fresh charge of enthusiasm and imagination, and what we’ve ended up with here is a unique entry into the Hawk series, and one that’s really rather lovely.

Another good DS game! Obviously I’ll be joining in with the tiresome blogging of top 10 type lists soon, and the DS will have a far more prominent position than I could ever have imagined.

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