For someone as uncoordinated as myself, skateboarding via video is an excellent arrangement - to be able to skate with my bottom safely on a chair, with nowhere to fall, is bliss! My ill-spent youth was spent gathering a wealth of experience in pin-ball parlours filled with neolithic video game machines, so although I never achieved a great deal of success on a board, I've developed enough dexterity to overcome most of the difficulties of this simulation. And what a great simulation it is too!
Skate of the Art takes you to various panoramic locations, from Holland to Miami. The graphics arc clear and crisp, from subways to SkateParks. There are twenty exacting levels of play, each one preparing you for the final challenge -The World SkatePark. But be warned. Only the best will get to attempt this one! The controls are very simple. You really only need to know three things. With the fire button you increase speed. Moving the joystick to the left puts you into a tail slide. And if you do both at once you can do some pretty impressive "ollies" with multiple 360s.
If you're not up on the jargon, a "tail slide" is just what it sounds like - you lift the front of the board and slide the tail. A food way to approach the steeper ramps, An "ollie" is a bunny hop. But in Skate of the Art nothing is done by halves. Depending on your speed, you can spin around (that is, doing 360's), while you are doing an "ollie" and gain several metres in distance. This sort of jumping is critical to your success. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity of "Skate of the Art". It would be a big mistake to underestimate the amount of skill and accurate timing that it requires. With these basic skills you develop techniques for getting over obstacles and around other objects that impede your progress.
The initial scenes are set on a railway station platform. Besides the ramps and jumps, people have left various bits of luggage in your way. You're given five skateboards to begin. At first it seems easy and just requires a little practice. But each frame has its own particular perils -and the spills are spectacular! It's a fine combination of speed and timing. The computer graphics guys had fun with this one. I haven't replaced my joystick since my last review and I really needed a little more precision.
There are a whole range of exciting things waiting ahead, but I won't spoil your fun by giving too many details away. Besides, the anticipation might be too much for you and could put your concentration off. The movement is rapid and the reflexes are really put to the test. For those who are even more "unco" than me, there is a slow motion toggle. I was too proud to try it in the slow motion mode, but those of you who have no shame may find it handy. (Skate of the Art also has a pause toggle - which is quite useful too). And a few tips, from friends who really do know how to skateboard, won't go astray either.
Skate of the Art claims to be "The Ultimate Freestyle Skateboard Game". I wouldn't put to much weight on the word "Freestyle", since a two dimensional video screen does impose certain restrictions on a really three dimensional sport. Nevertheless, it seems to be the ultimate game, if you want to express those Atmospheric Aspirations! Take up the Skate of the Art challenge: Free your Body - Free your Mind -and enjoy it! As they say "So what the Heck! Jump on the Deck!" And make your mark in the Hall of Fame for the "Respectable Rollers".
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