Pros: Relieves stress when thrown against a wall, makes a great coaster
Cons: Induces stress when played as a video game in a Dreamcast
The Bottom Line: I gotta go back... Back to the future!
I remember when I first played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the PlayStation. Not being a fan of extreme sports games, I just shrugged and said, "Sure, whatever.". Tony Hawk's Pro Skater then went on to become one of my all time favorites. Soon after, I played Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX for the PlayStation and Jet Grind Radio for my recently aquired Dreamcast, and I began to wonder why I had neglected the extreme sports genre for so long. Then I played TrickStyle and said ,"Oh, that's right.".
I have to give props to Acclaim for at least coming up with an interesting concept: A futuristic racing game in which the contestants race on hoverboards. Not a bad idea. Then, when I first turned it on, the first thing I noticed were the beautifully fluid graphics, strutting the awesome power of the Dreamcast. During the character selection, I was thinking about the fluid graphics. At the beginning of the race, I was thinking about the fluid graphics. At the end of the race, I was still thinking about the fluid graphics. Nothing in this game is better than the beautifully rendered, detailed, fluid graphics.
This is not a good thing. It seems that Acclaim, like so many other companies in the early 128-bit era, decided to try to make a quick dollar by sacrificing substance for flash. It seems like the designers spent most of the time working on ways to make us ooh and ah and threw the gameplay in as an afterthought. Well, message to the designers: True gamers aren't that dumb. We notice little mistakes like this. It's games like TrickStyle that made the otherwise excellent Dreamcast bomb.
You can't blame them for thinking that they'd get away with it. The graphics are undeniably cool. They are appropriatly colored futuristically. All the characters have different outfits, and the hoverboards; after playing this game, I wanted to rush out to my nearest sporting goods store and buy one, and I don't even skateboard. The animation is very complete and fluid; not a frame of animation is missing, and the movements all look as complete as the movements of the real skateboarders outside. I haven't seen such amazing fluidity since Flashback or Vectorman for the Genesis.
But, it's as I said: The gameplay suffers horrendously. Sure, they control pretty well, but you really don't have anything to control except a few basic moves. You have an accelerator and a brake taking up use of the triggers, and four tricks for the buttons: A 180, a jump, a drill, and a speed luge. Now let me read your mind for a second: You think that you're going to spend half the game learning to do tricks using combinations of these four basic moves. I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're way off, because you won't be doing any tricks outside those four, which are used only for getting you ahead in the race. The luge speeds you up, the drill knocks the others down, the jump is self-explanitory, and I haven't figured out why the 180 is there yet.
Another problem is the challenge. You have all those fancy moves for the purpose of getting ahead. They must not work, because in every race I've been through so far, I haven't placed any higher than fourth. The difficulty in this thing is either very insane, or the computer cheats. Niether would surprise me. In fact, both wouldn't surprise me, not considering Acclaim's track record. No matter how far ahead of the pack you get, there is always someone right on your tail who drills you into the pavement at a critical juncture. Once he does that, you're pushed right into the back of the pack, no matter what place you were in before or how far behind the rest of the pack is. You have a short tutorial in the beginning for those like myself who are too lazy to crack open the manual, but I never got through that, either. Of course, you have the standard choices in the character selection: The powerful but slow guys, the fast but weak guys, the guys in between. But it doesn't matter what your character's stats are, they all go the same speed, have the same amount of power, and use the same techniques. Hey, at least it's a challenging lack of variety.
So, what can be done to this game to make your (now) five bucks worth it? If you're tired of those unsightly rings that cups leave, you could use it as a coaster. Better yet, use the case as a coaster and the CD-ROM itself as a frisbee. For me, since this game came free with my purchase of a used Dreamcast, the greatestjoy I'll ever get out of it is the satisfaction of reselling it and putting the money I get back toward a PlayStation 2.
All in all, TrickStyle shows the reason why most people think of extreme games as a fad. It's too difficult, too simplistic for it's genre, and there's no variety. No wonder the people at my local used game store decided to overlook it when whoever resold it to them resold it.
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About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston (BaronSamedi3)
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial. Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Become a hover-board warrior and rip up the airways of futuristic cityscapes in this raging new title on Dreamcast. A genre-bending first, TrickStyle is part racing, part stunt-based action that's hyper-charged by a powerful physics engine and state-of-the-art character animation. Go for the glory and race against the planet's top gravity surfers -- but don't just get there first. You've gotta get there in style. Start at the Velodrome to practice over 40 different tricks and hundreds of combos that will score you points, increase your speed, and open up shortcuts in the heat of the race. Slash and burn your way through treacherous courses, taking different detours each time you play. Pull off outrageous stunts and leave your opponents put-put-putting in the wind