Two Words: It Figures.
This whole scooter fad is a mystery to me. I just don't see the point of it all. To me, a scooter is like a skateboard with training handles- it's kid stuff that prepares you for bigger and better things. You can't really do anything special with it, so why not just get a skateboard? Anyway, this fad has definitely taken hold of the consuming public this holiday season and scooter sales have been quite astronomical. You know it's a big fad when unrelated businesses like McWhorters (a stationary store) start selling them.
It seems like only last month when Crave picked up the license to create a "Razor" scooter game. Oh boy, another cash cow that's just out to capitalize on the scooter madness. That's when I wondered, "What kind of game can you make with a scooter?" Sure you can grind, but after seeing a friend of mine snap his little scooter in half with a simple curb jump, I didn't think much could be done in the way of tricks. Apparently, I was wrong.
According to this game, you can save the world from a badly programmed robot named Norton by riding your scooter. Now if that ain't one hell of a trick, I don't know what is.
Razor is basically a scooter version of Grind Session with big headed cartoon kids. Reaching even further, one could say that Razor is the most pathetic attempt yet to copy Activision's runaway hit, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.
So what do you do with your scooter? You ride it and do tricks. Why? To save your fellow Razor gang members from the clutches of a " badly programmed" (the instructions actually say that) evil robot, of course! Someone please tell me how an entire gang of kids on scooters gets captured by a "badly programmed robot." Once you figure out that out, let me know how riding a scooter can save them. Badly programmed indeed.
Two "action packed" modes are available for you to choose from. You've got your one player game and your - you guessed it - two player game. Pretty exciting stuff, eh? The single player game gives you specific objectives to meet (a la Tony Hawk) in a mere three main levels. Completing these objectives will allow you to unlock the Sky Fortress levels where you must "collect all the wheels and free your crew." The multiplayer mode is just simple turn-based play where you try to outdo each other's score.
It's bad enough that the game has so few levels, but to add insult to injury, the areas that you do get pale in comparison with other skateboard games. Also, the six Sky Fortress levels aren't particularly creative and a few of them are exactly alike. No one on this development team gets any creative points.
Controls are pretty easy to get the hang of, since they actually copy the control of Tony Hawk failry well. Cruising around jumping off ramps and whatnot is decent fun. To top it off, the physics are very forgiving, so those who find Tony Hawk too tough will relish the fact that you can land just about everything.
Unfortunately, combos are a lot harder to pull off and the point system is a mess. Some of the most amazing looking tricks will only get a paltry score, making it difficult to grab that 10,000 point combo. What does make scoring easier, however, is the occasional bug that temporarily suspends your character in mid-air, allowing you to combo tricks like there's no tomorrow.
Graphically, it's easy to see how fast this game got pushed out the door. Let it suffice to say that I've seen better looking roadkill. Move along folks, there's nothing to see here.
As if things couldn't get any worse, the game's music is horrible. I like Weird Al and all, but I don't think he should be singing pop rock and alternative songs. What's that? That's not Weird Al? Ha! I guess the Crave and Shaba teams fooled me good. Next time, go spend the money on some decent bands, mmmkay?
Lastly, we come to the characters. Yup, those cranially blessed kiddies of Razor need a special mention. Two characters are available at the start of the game with three additional "crew members" that are unlocked through playing. Chad is the white guy with the broken arm (hmm… I wonder how he did that) and Ami is the token 'yellow' girl. The rest of the crew consist of Daryl, the black kid with an afro; Hector, the brown kid; and Brittany (do you really have to ask?). I don't know if they were trying to offend as many races as they could or if they were just trying to be overly PC by throwing in as many races as possible. Either way, the token race system is a bit nauseating.
As bad as this game is, young scooter fans will eat it up. After all, it's got a monopoly on the scooter game market and is really simple to understand. Plus, it retails at an affordable 20 bucks, so you're not throwing away too much cash. But for everyone else, might I suggest Tony Hawk 2? Let's tell Corporate America that we've don't need anymore of these crappy cash cow games. Like mom always said, "Games are like a box of chocolates. Just pick out the good ones and throw the rest away."