Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure Review
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is generally not the kind of game that you want to find out you have to review. Games based upon movies, TV, books, and comics, are miserable about 90% of the time, so there's usually very little to look forward to Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is slightly different because it is based on the Tony Hawk 4 engine, albeit an extremely watered down Tony Hawk. If you're male and over the age of 12, you won't like this game, but it's a good game for the younger crowd, especially kids that watch their big brothers play Tony Hawk but find it too difficult.
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure features Disney characters skating around in levels inspired by various Disney films. Simba, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and many more are playable characters in the game, though they aren't all initially unlocked. There are even a few real kids in the game who won a contest that's shown in the game's opening video. While the cast of characters isn't bad, it certainly should have been deeper. There are no classic characters like Mickey or Donald Duck, and there's nobody from the movie Aladdin either.
The game's levels are large, creatively designed, and feature a wide variety of objectives; some standard like collecting "s-k-a-t-e", or achieving a certain score, and others more interesting like setting plastic soldiers free from a locked chest by doing a trick on the lock. All of the tasks and challenges are revealed by talking to characters spread about in each of the levels, and they are also characters from the movie. While many of the objectives are simple enough for a young child, the camera often makes them extremely frustrating, as there's not an effective way to look around the area for things you've missed. It also makes searching for jumps or grinds that you need to perform, very difficult. It seems like if you're making a game for kids that no adult is going to ever play, you can go ahead and really simplify it, not just go halfway.
The controls are a watered-down version of Tony Hawk's though you have the option of switching to more detailed controls if you choose his makes it easier to do tricks as well as perform rail slides, though it decrease the amount of tricks you can pull off as well as your ability to pick a particular move. Your rider also does a nice job of landing some of your "less than perfect" tricks, which is very handy since it's sometimes tough to judge the angle you need to land at because you're controlling a lion skating on all fours. Overall, the camera and challenges could have been tweaked more, but it's certainly accessible to most young children.
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is a really average looking game. The framerate is very solid, but the backgrounds aren't particularly dazzling, and there's really no visual flair to speak of. The riders all have different animations, and they really stand out since some riders are solo, some are two at once, and others are on all fours. This makes for a wide variety of tricks that are specific to each rider. There's really not much to say here -it's kind of a plain game.
The game's soundtrack is certainly not what you'd expect to find in something designed for such a young crowd. Re-mixed Disney songs? No way. What you get instead is an assortment of pop-punk songs and several other songs that don't quite fit in. To make matters worse, the playlist is tiny, so you'll hear the same tunes over and over again. There's not much dialog except for when you speak to someone about a challenge, but what little dialog there is, is done well.
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is a solid game for younger children, but one that won't really appeal to anyone else. If there were a few more levels and a create-a-park it would skew slightly older, but alas it has neither. Anyone looking to unlock cool movies will be sorely disappointed as each movie clips is ruined with one of the game's songs playing beneath it, rendering them completely unwatchable. It's a great gift for a younger sibling, but if you're old enough to have enough money to purchase your own games, it's not for you.
10/22/2003 Aaron Thomas