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Tony Hawk's American Sk8land is a pretty good game for the Nintendo DS as it's fun to play and contains a whole load of tricks to pull off like all the other Tony Hawk's games. It makes great use of the DS microphone and touch screen for controls and voice chat online.
The main story mode as cut scenes, which gives the game a bit of a story although it's pretty poor. You are making your own skate park and as you progress through the different levels such as Los Angeles and other skate parks, you earn money by completing challenges and you can buy more bits for your park.
The challenges within the story include many things such as pulling off tricks worth a certain amount of points, and gaining as many points in a given time limit as you can as well as collecting things within time limits or throughout the level. You go up to people within each level and speak to them to start challenges and you can free roam in your spare time, which is good.
You can create your own character and improve them as the game progresses as well as designing your own skateboard for them using paint and the touch screen to draw on designs. There are other modes where you can just freely skate around the levels to practice. There are so many tricks to pull off and you can do special tricks by tapping the special buttons on the lower touch screen once you start a trick. This will improve your score but you need to balance your skater using the directional pad to earn big points, which can be quite hard. You do get an opportunity to redeem lost points in this game by 'raging out' if you fall over after a trick. You hit three bars to stop them moving up and down and the more filled up they are, the more points you redeem back so it's not all bad news when you mess up.
The graphics are respectable as they are animated and of quite a good quality. The colours are vivid and everything has a sense of realism to it. The sound quality is ok but not that great. There are many commercial songs integrated into the game including my favourite, Holiday by Green Day, which adds a better feel to playing the game. The controls are great but it can be hard to keep your player balanced using the directional pad. Great use of the touch screen is used in the game and the microphone senses your voice when playing a series of small challenges online with players across the world. The online play isn't as popular as it used to be so it's actually hard to find a game, but it's a good feature. I wouldn't recommend this game as the replay value is low and it's not that fun unless you are a hardcore skater. You can buy it used and new for just £4.49 on amazon.co.uk, which is quite tempting.
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Despite the picture for this review showing a Gameboy Advance version, I am reviewing the Nintendo DS version of the game. It is another Tony Hawks game from world-famous skater series. The touch screen on the Nintendo DS enables you to play the game in a new unique way and enjoy skating through many areas.
There are many different levels in the story mode such as Los Angeles and then moving onto other places, which may be skate parks indoors such as the Vans level. You speak to different people on each level to attempt challenges they set you. They will give you a cash reward if you can complete it and it gets you one step closer to unlocking the next level. The missions are pretty fun and get harder as you go through the game but they are also quite repetitive. They will include doing things such as collecting the letters 's-k-a-t-e' in order within a time limit or reaching a certain score from tricks within a time limit or even pulling off a combo trick, which reaches a certain score.
You can also play online in a small variety of gametypes against people around the world using the Nintendo DS' wifi capability. The graphics in the game are pretty good and are animated, so they are bright and colourful. The sound isn't bad but could be better. There are lots of other little things you can do such as edit skate boards and create your own skater. It's a good game if you are into this kind of thing, but I wouldn't recommend it. If you are looking to buy a copy, you can buy it used and new on amazon.co.uk for £8.50, or for similar prices 2nd hand in shops such as Game.
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I bought this game a while back and was quite disappointed. I purchased it due to the online options such as being able to play opponents around the world in a variety of different games whilst being able to speak to them. It wasn't as impressive as I thought and the popularity of the game rapidly decreased.
In the single player, you are on a mission to build your own skatepark. They sort of made a story out of the game and as you go through the one player and unlock new places to skate, there are cut scenes, when you can then buy new objects for your park. The story is a bit lame but they did try.
There are plenty of tricks you can pull off from grinding to 1440° turns if you get high enough! pulling off combos is an exciting challenge. There are various characters in each level to speak to and they will ask you to complete tasks to get money and progress through the game. Challenges include getting a certain number of points in a time limit or pulling off a combo to get enough points to complete the task.
The graphics are quite good and a bit cartoony. The sound is good too and there is a variety of sound tracks to listen to whilst skating including Holiday - Greenday, which is one of my favourite. It is an enjoyable game at first but the replay value is poor as I think everyone put down the game after a month or two.
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I bought this game ages ago as it sounded pretty cool. The main reason I did buy it was due to the online play and the fact it linked to the official website and you could do a lot of cool things with it.
The game itself isn´t bad and is quite fun. It´s similar to most tony hawks games. You simply skate around different locations in the story mode completing goals as you go. I was surprised that there was actually a bit of a storyline in this game. You are in the process of building a big really cool skatepark and you purchase all different equipment in between completing the career mode goals at each location.
Goals can range from anything like getting a certain score in a trick combo to skating around and finding all the letters ´s-k-a-t-e´ in a given time limit. To be honest, there isn´t much variation and it gets quite boring. There is also a free skate mode and of course you can head online to skate in a variety of different modes against other skaters.
It is a great game for some, but not for me and I would have been better off buying another game or something else. The graphics are cartoony, but look good. The sound is alright and there are some good tunes on there, which is a plus. You can buy this game for £11.40 second hand from amazon.co.uk.
Thanks for reading,
A while ago, I received a lovely Amazon voucher as a gift from someone for my birthday. Because it had a value of £30, I decided it was the perfect amount to buy a new DS game with. Browsing the site, I found this game for some ridiculous price and after reading about it and visiting the game's official site; I thought I would risk it and buy the game. I also had money left over for a couple of books! It wasn't a bad buy, and I didn't expect it to be some great game. However, it isn't bad and I quite like it overall.
There is actually a story present, and it is pretty good. There are cut scenes throughout the game, where you see Tony Hawk and the other characters talking about the skate park. The story features the main character Tony Hawk (who is a real professional skater) who wants to build his own skate park. Therefore, you play as Tony Hawk going through each of the seven different levels to earn money by completing missions and earning cash. Once you have earned enough money, you can buy a variety of different props for your skate park such as bars, ramps and even ones with moving parts on them. The story is quite basic, but an effort has clearly been made to make it a satisfactory story. Considering that it's just a skating game and most games don't even have a story, I am going to score it pretty high as an effort has been put into making this story along with cut scenes, and it works well.
The gameplay is quite enjoyable and can be hard at times too, so this gives you a challenge. There are 7 different levels to work your way through, but you can only head onto the next one when you have completed enough of the previous one. In each level, there are several 'dudes' as they like to call them, scattered around each level. Don't run them over; instead slowly approach them and come to a stop to talk to them. They can set you missions to do and will hand out the cash if you do what they ask.
- You gain points for performing tricks, which there are loads of -
The missions can range from doing a certain trick to doing a combo worth a certain amount of points or even collecting something such as the letters 's-k-a-t-e' in a certain time limit. You are always given a good briefing before you start the mission, so you know exactly what to do and how to do it, if it is some kind of trick. The story mode can seem a bit repetitive, but with different levels just around the corner, they push you on to keep playing.
There is also a Classic mode, which you can play in each of the levels too. In this mode, you are faced with a number of goals from the start such as finding a secret tape, performing a combo of a certain amount of points and skating along certain bits that may be hard to reach. It does add a lot more gameplay, with 10 goals in each level.
As well as these modes, you can enter Free Skate mode, where you can simply skate around any of the levels to practice. Sometimes you do need to practice in your own time because some of the story mode or classic mode goals can be quite hard. It also enables you to explore the levels without people scattered around the place. It isn't actually much different from the other modes apart from the fact that no one else is there apart from you. You may as well practice in classic mode in case you find the secret tape in each level as you are doing so... You can also play wirelessly play with your friends with just one game card! Using the DS Download Play, they can search for your game if nearby and play you in any of the levels, so you can go head to head!
There is also a skate shop where you can change your deck, edit your board, edit your graffiti tag, edit the special trick list, custom sounds, touch specials, outfits as well as view replays and statistics. The custom sounds are known as 'good news' and 'bad news' sounds that you can record into the microphone, which will be played at appropriate times. E.G. If you have set your bad news sound to 'ooh ****', then it will play this whenever you fall over in the game =)
Overall, the gameplay is quite good with a lot to do, especially if you cannot get past some of the challenges and goals like me. Even if you are good at the game, there is a lot to keep you going and you may just enjoy the thrill of skating and doing tricks in the Free Skate mode.
You can head online using the Nintendo DS wireless wifi connection. When you sign on, you will be shown your friend code on the bottom screen, which can be added by others so you can play them and they will become your friend. You can also choose 'website info', where you can view a standard username and password that you can use to first log into the official site. The site is:
The site offers loads of things such as forums, where you can join up others and form skate crews. There are also downloadable wallpapers and designs for skateboards and tags. Tags can be sprayed in the levels where there are 'X' marks, and you simply spray on whatever your tag is to these X's and it will stay there. I am sure you get rewarded for this in Classic mode. There is also news as well as 'today's cool skaters', showing who has connected the most, who has gained the highest run score, who is the most popular artist and user, as well as the 'best newbie', which is the best newcomer. There is an equal section for 'pro's of the week'. The forums feature many boards for discussion topics, but due to this game being a bit old now and because it was never THAT popular, it has died. Here are the forums latest statistics:
Active Members: 194
As you can see, there are just 194 active members. These people may visit the site once every couple of weeks or so, and out of 19,329 total members, this is a tiny fraction that are active. It's a shame that the game has died, however you can still find people playing online and get matched up with them!
I was surprised to how well the online system works. You can go head to head with your opponent and free skate around any level. Once you have got some practice, either of you can set missions by pressing start and going from there. There are 5 things you can do:
Free Skate - Just like on the streets; skate around in your own time performing tricks and showing off to your opponent. There are no rules, and by default you will start in Free Skate mode.
Trick Attack - The player with the highest score at the end of the time limit wins.
Score Challenge - Similar to Trick Attack, except the match ends when the winner reaches the target score
Combo Mambo - The player who performs the biggest combo awarded most points in the given time limit wins! Every combo counts and your new best ones will be added to your top score, which your opponent will have to beat.
The Price is Wrong - This is the fun one. You have a target score to reach and a chosen range. The player who gets closest to the target score WITHOUT going over will win. It is quite tricky, because if you go over then you lose, but you have to get as close to the target as possible. You are awarded points for tricks.
So, the wifi was quite impressive when I first went online. It is still active with the odd few players on there every now and then, so you can still get matched up and play someone. It works well, and there is no lag normally but it doesn't matter anyway because you aren't able to touch each other or distract each other anyway.
In general, the graphics are OK. When racing through the game, you don't always notice them. However, if you were to go up to something such as a door with stickers on it that you can see from a distance, all you see from close range is big pixels. From a distance, everything looks good, and when skating around normally, the setting is quite impressive. The graphics are done with vibrant colours in a kind of sketchy cartoonist style. They work well for the game, and give it a bright and pleasing feel when playing. Not the best graphics on a DS game by far, but they aren't bad compared to some I have seen on other games.
The sound is one of my favourite parts. When you are skating and in the menus, there are soundtracks played. The great thing is that you can head down to options and music to check out what each soundtrack is and you can turn them on and off to choose which ones you want playing. I actually quite liked some of the soundtracks such as 'Holiday' by Greenday. It actually made me go out there and buy Greenday's latest CD, which I am now a great fan of.
The quality of the music is good and very clear. It really sets you in the mood for skating, and is very fast-paced and exciting to bring emphasise on the fast-paced gameplay. Some of the songs are really weird though like one where the singer keeps repeating 'I like dirt' as the main chorus, going on to say how it tastes... very weird.
Apart from music, the other sounds are pretty good. Appropriate sounds are given to the game when you are grinding along rails as well as jumping up ramps and landing. Depending on the material, appropriate sounds are given. There aren't many sounds aside the music, so I think it is good to have some music on even if you don't love it. The quality of the sound overall is rather good, so you can't complain.
The controls are one of the worse bits in my opinion. It is quite hard to pull off such tricks with the use of buttons. You are expected to tap the touch screen too at some points, and I have no idea how you are supposed to do this when all the other controls are using the buttons! This is really stupidly done, and I end up making finger marks on the screen as I have no choice but to use my hands. There is no way you can hold the stylus ready to 'freak out' when you are trying to play the game. You are required to hit 3 bars when you 'freak out' after falling and failing to pull off a trick. When you freak out, depending on how high up the bars are that you have it, you will still gain a certain number of points for the trick or combo.
The controls are further worsened by the sheer difficulty of memorising all of them! Different buttons will do different tricks. Different directions and button combinations will pull of even more tricks. I have found this with all games, but this one just makes it very hard. I only know the basic tricks and a few good ones to get many points, but the reason I can't complete some of the one player missions is because I cannot pull off such large combos! I would have to refer to the instruction manual where it gives BRIEF and rather confusing overview of the controls and tricks.
With bad controls, which are also difficult to learn and get the hang of to pull off tricks, it really lets the game down. Without good controls, the gameplay enjoyment is reduced as you are concentrating more on what buttons to press rather than enjoying what you are actually doing... probably falling over after not being able to do a trick! The controls earn a very low score, as they weren't thought out very well and like all skating games are hard to learn and to use. You need to be extremely quick with your hands sometimes.
This game has a low replay value, and that is why so many people have stopped playing the game and why it is so unpopular nowadays. It is still worth buying for the enjoyment of playing it yourself, and you may be lucky to catch the odd guy online to play against.
On a more positive side, there is a lot to do in the game, some of which is really difficult. With this game, practice really does make perfect, so it takes time to build up and get good. You can then take your skill online head to head against others, or set records on the different levels to be uploaded to scoreboards. This game may last you a good month or so, but after that I doubt you will pick it up and play it much if you aren't a hardcore skater.
You can buy this game at amazon.co.uk from around £10. These are used and new versions sold by members of the site, not Amazon themselves. The game can be bought in shops for around £19.99 in most places, or even cheaper in second hand shops or in sales. I have also seen this game featured as part of a 'two for £30' offer in Virgin Megastores. Not a bad price at all for a game with quite a bit of replay value.
I wouldn't really recommend this game to buy. However, if you are a skater you may like it, and for the price you can get it for, it may be worth the money. There is a lot to do and it's quite challenging too. The graphics are pretty good and the sound features some weird and wonderful music. You may only play it for a month or so, but for one month's enjoyment, maybe it's worth it!
~ S C O R E S ~
Story - 8/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Wifi - 9.5/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Controls - 3/10
Replay Value - 5/10
Cost - 9/10
OVERALL - 6.9/10
Thanks for reading!
- Recon -
The great tony hawks series come to ds with a storyline to build your dream indoor skatepark to impress all of the pro's, with a little money and a little help from your friends (Mindy, tony hawk) you can do this.
The create a character on this is very simple with few clothes and heads to choose. the skating you will be doing is set in varius places around hollywood and the skate park is smack bang in the middle of fun.
In this game you pair up with the great man himself who is impressed with your skating ability and a young girl called Mindy with the objective of building a skatepark, to do this you will need to raise cash and complete a number of goals along the way.
The main fun in this game is to be had by completing the various challenges sent your way however it can also be quite entertaining just skating around the various environments and completing tricks just for the sheer fun of it.
This is not the most challenging of games to play however there is still plenty of game play to be had due to the sheer size of the environments. The controls are easy to master and usually it only needs a couple of button options to perform the trick you need to complete the goal set you.
If you are looking for more challenge then attempt the classic mode as this has you having to accumulate a number of points within a set time, in all there are ten challenges in this section and it is quite tough.
Visually the game is great, you see the action from the reverse of the rider and there is a softer edge to the graphics than I have experienced in some of the console versions. Add to that a great soundtrack which is something you would expect from Hawks franchised games and on this one you have Greenday amongst the offering.
In summary this is definitely worth getting and it transfers well to the DS format. It is available at Amazon for £9.77 in the new and used section.
Tony Hawk's official skating game.