With the release of Aggressive Inline for the Nintendo Gamecube, Acclaim has brought the first inline skating game to a next generation console. For starters I must say this game is very well polished, with very few annoyances and an all around great experience. If you are a big Tony Hawk fan this game will seem very familiar from the moment you pickup the controller and enter a level. This game defiantly takes its notes from the right source. Just as in Tony Hawk there are tons of different grab, flip, and grinding tricks to perform, not to mention some signature special tricks. Huge environments with almost everything grindable make this title not only fun but also very engrossing.
The menu screen is cool as hell (playing skating videos in the background), and easily navigated. Apart from career mode this game features a multiplayer, timed run, free skate, and park editor. Sorry, this game does not have a create-a-skater mode, get used to the outfits your skaters are wearing because you can’t change them. Career mode has over 12 different skaters to choose from including a schoolgirl named Chrissy whose physical physics in the game are flawless heh heh. Tutorial mode is easily breezed through, and then the skating is left up to you. The levels are huge and graphically beautiful spanning what seems like could be 8 city blocks. The controls are very tight and well designed. Pulling off grinds is as easy as jumping toward any object and pressing the Y button. Aggressive Inline also features a cess slide (revert), and a manual to have endless tricks, but the manual is surprisingly hard to execute right after a trick, which defiantly makes some of the later objectives very difficult.
Although this game seems very reminiscent of Tony Hawk the objectives and play style are completely unique and original. This game does not feature timed runs but instead a juice meter, if the meter runs out your run is over. Perform tricks and nab juice boxes to refill the meter. I really enjoy the concept of the juice meter, it allows you to try and retry objectives without worrying about time. The objectives are also laid out very differently from that of Tony Hawk. Talking to people learns challenges, and completing one task will usually unlock another. Each of the game’s seven levels are unlocked as you complete tasks in the previous level, and every level has around 15 or more challenges.
The multiplayer mode is actually one of the best features. Not only does it have the standard modes such as most points, and best trick, but also features a few more off the wall modes that you just have to try for yourself. Twenty-one is a unique way to skate against a friend in which playing cards are scattered throughout the level, and the objective of course is to get black jack. Another fun multiplayer mode is egg hunt in which you make believe it’s Easter and beat your opponent by collecting the most eggs.
The graphics and sound turn this great game into an awesome one. The frame rate is smooth with no slowdown that I have seen. The skaters are beautifully rendered, and even their clothing moves perfectly agreeing with the actions of the skater. Each level has a unique theme and sticks to it nicely without making the surroundings mundane. Just as in Tony Hawk blood sprays out when you bail out or land sideways. Which reminds me of another feature unseen in any previous skating game, which is your ability to bail from a ramp and simply land for no point value. And the soundtrack featured is excellent. New alternative mixed with old punk sets a great mood for this game. But you can’t manipulate to play list as you could in Tony Hawk 3, not a big deal though. The sound effects are top notch as well; different grinding sounds appropriately accompany the many different objects.
As I said earlier this game is very well polished and tons of fun to play. The only major drawback I found was the manual. This game could have been a lot better if this trick was as easily executed as it is in Tony Hawk 3. But aside from this Aggressive Inline is a must have for any fan of extreme sports. The play style of this game stands apart from any other extreme sports game on the market, and I vividly look forward to a sequel.