Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (2005)

Genre: Sport  |  Players: 1-2 / 2-8 Online  |  Developer: Neversoft

Oh, no, not another Tony Hawk game post! Yes, but there's something positive to say this time, so I don't have to feel depressed by the end of it.

The main one-player game has the same awful 'One Goal at a Time' structure as the previous three entries, but for an 'open world' setting it does an admirable job at fooling you into thinking there are no loading times between areas.

The story is better than T.H.U.G's was. It's even kind of funny at times. You're a regular nobody, a wannabe, fresh off the bus, required to prove your skills to the local doucebags skaters before you can get a foot in the competition door and land some sweet sponsorship deals. Along the way you'll make friends and play a key role in the building of a private Skate Ranch.

You could play through that half of the game if you want, you might even enjoy parts of it, but the best thing about T.H.A.W is that it has CLASSIC MODE!

Classic Mode is respectful to the structure of THPS 1-3. You're given a set amount of time and a set number of goals (including Secret Tape) that when completed don't halt the action – you can keep going, stringing goals together in one glorious run. And, as before, you can boost your abilities by finding and acquiring Stat Points. The difficulty level is set kind of high, so new players may well be succumbing to frustration at times, but eventually you'll learn the layout of the levels and the button presses needed to score big combos.

More praise: the soundtrack has some excellent tunes from the likes of (in no particular order) Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, D.R.I., Public Enemy, Spirit Caravan, Green Day, The Doors, The Bravery, Motley Crue, and lots more (sixty-three in all).

Interestingly, the voice of the main character (Kensucky) in the one-player campaign is Will Friedle, who you may know as Terry McGinnis/Batman from Batman Beyond (aka Batman of the Future, 1999-2001). His new best friend is voiced by Cree Summer, who played Terry's friend Max in the same show.

3½ boulevards of broken wheels out of 5

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