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Bill

Thursday August 2nd, 2002

Agressive Inline

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Before I get into any detail, I should probably mention I spent a few hours with the Playstation 2 version of Akklaims Aggressive Inline. It was an enjoyable experience and offered 'Extreme' gameplay of some of today's hottest Extreme sports, very similar to Activisions Tony Hawk Pro Skater series indeed. Comparing what I have played of both version I have come to a small conclusion; the GameCube version is far superior to it's sister version for the PS2. The controlling is more polished (even though by a small amount it still is much better). Using a Analog is much, much better than that dinky D-Pad on the PS2 controller. The graphics seem to be a little fresher (nothing too noticeable), and loading times are fast (except when saving, which take more than 15 solid seconds). With that out of the way I'll try to get into details on the good and bad of the latest extreme sport game for the Nintendo GameCube.

I'm not sure where it's best to begin with; I imagine it's smarter to get the bad out of the way so I should probably mention that the controls for Aggressive Inline are anything but great. You can adjust to them easily, but I prefer those that are used in THPS. The "L" and "R" button are used to spin left or right, but what makes them different from the THPS "L" and "R" turning system is: you can't just press "R", or "L" and combo with a grab easily. You first must press either "L" or "R" and then quickly, but not at the same time press the "B" button while pushing in a direction with the analog stick to pull off different tricks. That is how you would do it if you want to spin while doing a trick of course, but you can pull off tricks while not spinning, or just spin without doing tricks. Your final point score will be lower, but it's a lot easier. I may be been a little bit too harsh, but the controls seem a little "tough" to master (and at first almost unbearable) - but since I haven't come close to mastering them I can't give a very accurate perception at the moment, although, I have adjusted well and like them more than I thought possible. In my final review, though I'll be able to talk more about the controls. Something cool about the controls, though, is some of the fakie's and "trick linking" you can do. For example, you can do tricks land backwards, manual, then grab onto a pole by holding "X" and then spin around it and swing off. These types of tricks make up for the bad controlling and "un-extreme" visuals. The visuals are bearly better than those of Tony Hawk 2 on Dreamcast. They are close to THPS3's though, but not quite as good.

The gameplay of Aggressive Inline, though is what hooked me and made me play for the last 3 to 4 hours straight. Very similar to the famous Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, players "rollerblade" (instead of skateboard) around different levels, completing missions, tasks, and pulling of sick combo's while trying to improve their stats (attributes). Instead of the tasks you need to complete appearing at the start of the levels, as in THPS, you must find different people wandering around the level you are in and talk to them by pressing the "X" button. Once you do this they'll ask you do some kind of mission, or task - ranging from pulling of Rocket Air's while transferring from a quarter pipe into a Half Pipe to getting 50,000 points in a certain amount of time. You don't have to worry about a time limit on levels (if you plan to free skate) either; instead of an amount of time to explore and grind the level to death, there is a "special meter" up in the right-hand corner of the screen. As long as players keep this meter full by doing tricks and missions you'll be able to skate as long as you like. And with more than 10 different tracks of music, all ranging from Hard Rock to Punk Rock, players will be in Inline Skating bliss. I played in Surround Sound and I know that I enjoyed listeninn to the likes of P.O.D. while busting out a massive 20-foot stale-fish. I also should add there seems to be 8 levels (including the tutorial level which you start in, which teaches you the basics of the game). I have played about 3 to 4 hours into the game and have only been able to complete one level 100%; that being the tutorial level. I've seen two other levels, though: a Hollywood-like level, filled with graves, traffic (which you can grab onto and ride), and much more for you to explore, and a Civic Center level which is filled with people, traffic, trolley's cables to ride, and a massive suburban world being buried with falling snow flakes.

Since each level seems to take at least (and maybe more in some cases) an hour to complete 100%, not to mention the hidden features that are secretly awaiting players to find them the game should take at least 20 hours to complete. From the difficulty and my experience with the tile so far, I estimate 35 hours worth of gameplay being spent on it to complete it fully in my case. But since it has some strong replay value you'll probably be back for more skating at least everyday for a month. More for some - who knows!

So, if what is described above sounds entertaining to the least then Aggressive Inline should be a great game to hold you over until Mario arrives August 26. The game is overall entertaining and is becoming one of my favorite extreme sports games to date. It's even good enough to rival the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. If you're afraid to spend your money on this then at least rent it. The folks at Akklaim have come up with a fun, addicting, and extreme game that's worth a rent to everyone.

--Phillip Levin

 

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