Tony Hawk’s Pro Snowboarding? I think not. Review

Joe Dodson
Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder Info

genre

  • Sports

players

  • N/A

Publisher

  • Activision

Developer

  • UEP Systems

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GBA
  • PS2

rating

Tony Hawk’s Pro Snowboarding? I think not.

Imagine for a second that you’re obsessed about something, like, for instance,

Doritos. You love Doritos. You try to work them in everywhere you can: Doritos

in your sandwiches, Doritos in your desk at work – we’re talking a straight-up

Dorito fetish.

Eventually,

you get to placing your Doritos where they don’t belong and something bad happens.

Maybe you stuck a Dorito in your car and skewered your butt by accidentally

sitting on the pointy end. Perhaps you ruined a pristine white sweater by manhandling

it with orangey-yellow powdered fingers.

Now you know what it feels like to be in Activision’s shoes. It’s nice that

they can make a great game series like Tony

Hawk’s Pro Skater
, but for the love of god, what is Tony doing in their

other games? Matt Hoffman’s

Pro BMX
was basically Tony on a bike and now we get Shaun Palmer’s Pro

Snowboarder
, or Tony on snow.

As opposed to making a real snowboarding game, it’s as though the folks at

Activision gutted Cool Boarders and replaced

all the missing bits with parts of a skateboarding game. And when I say gutted,

I mean raptor-style eviscerated. Shaun Palmer is a very bare-bones game.

Other than the Career mode, your only single player choice is the Free Ride,

where you get to play any level you’ve unlocked in Career mode without any objectives

or time limit. There’s really not much to see here.

On the other hand, Career Mode sends you down a mountain with the task of

completing nine objectives. These objectives are simple enough, requiring you

to do things like a certain trick or finding a set of obscurely placed objects.

Just think of them as gems or coins and you’ll get the basic picture.

The problem with the Career mode levels is that it’s a carbon copy of the

THPS games. Finding the sacred fiz-bah gems and destroying the cursed

coffee carts is a bitch, especially since most levels have multiple paths. Unfortunately,

all you know about the level is revealed in a five-second introductory clip,

which is played at the beginning of each run. They are so useless it’s practically

offensive.

Shaun Palmer takes place on a mountain, which means you start at the

top and wind up at the bottom every time. This makes finding all the little

odds and ends a pain, as opposed to the THPS games in which you can just

skate around the map looking for stuff until the time runs out. In the case

of Shaun Palmer, there really needs to be an on-screen map and little

arrows and plumes of smoke a la Cool Boarders to keep you up on the score

and the goals. As it stands, you can run through a level a thousand times busting

the sickest tricks ever and still not get the sponsors you need.

And not getting these sponsors is a bad thing, as sponsors are the basic currency

of Shaun Palmer. Without them you can’t unlock things like new boards

or new levels and you don’t get to augment your boarder’s stats. This means

that completing some of those awful objectives is absolutely mandatory for progressing

through the game.

More often than not, getting a sponsor will involve grinding. I’ve seen a

real snowboarder grind, like, once. Snowboards are not skateboards; they

do different stuff, and they’re fun for different reasons. Skateboards can go

anywhere and grind on anything. Snowboards go on snow, and they go fast.

Shaun Palmer doesn’t seem to understand that it isn’t a skateboarding

game; you can go anywhere (even the tops of chairlifts), but you can’t go very

fast. At least in Tony Hawk it makes sense. Here, it’s just lame – especially

since the game ends up being a total grindfest.

To

score the big points, you grind everywhere, all the time. Normal snowboarding

issues like “turning” and “speed” are rendered moot in favor

of grinding, which is odd since, again, snowboarding isn’t really all about

GRINDING. You spend all the time you can on a fixed track, trying to get from

the roof to the water pipe so you can get another sponsor and get out of the

level you’ve been on for two hours.

The speed factor is very disappointing. You never need to race, even in the

multiplayer modes. It isn’t about who’s the fastest or twitchiest – it’s about

who grinds what the longest. In turn, the multiplayer modes suck. It’s you and

someone else, grinding everything you can and tricking off stuff. You can shove

each other. Hell, in one mode you can even hog the screen. But you can’t race

at all.

That isn’t to say the game doesn’t have its fast moments. A solid framerate

and some hectic rail-transfers can make for a rousing time. Unfortunately, you

usuallywind up flat on your back, and you’re always focused on that horrible

little balance meter.

That’s too bad, because Shaun Palmer looks nice. The character models

are good and the courses look okay. Some of the light sourcing and shading effects

are great. Night levels and sunset levels look way better than they play.

Besides the Career Mode and the Free Ride Mode, you can create your own snowboarder.

But you don’t get many choices, and at least a few of them are non-options.

I could only create about three boarders that I’d actually want to use.

The music involves a lot of Spineshank and Alien Ant Farm and Powerman 5000.

All of the tracks orbit the angry, inferiority complex driven Rap-core genre

that’s so popular these days among wrestling fans, so most of the songs put

you in a weird place if you aren’t a skinny white kid who hates your dad. However,

if you are, you’ll really enjoy this game’s soundtrack.

The sound effects are pretty forgettable, except for the yuppies who yell

at you depending on what surface you’re grinding. Hey you, get off that Tony

Hawk
game!

Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder is a fundamentally flawed game. It’s

a skateboarding game that’s trying to be a snowboarding game, instead of trying

even harder to be a good snowboarding game. It’s pretty fun to grind

and trick off stuff, but you can do that in THPS

3
without having to deal with the fact that you’re falling down a mountain.

With little speed and less originality, this one doesn’t have the skills to

out-trick or out-race its Tricky competition.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating3
Good trick system
Classic
But this isn't a skating game
Incredibly derivative
Weak multiplayer
No speed, no racing,