Kiddy T. Hawk
Rocket Power Zero Gravity Zone can be compared to Tony Hawk but it falls short in everyway. While similar in to Tony Hawk in the game play department, there are still many differences in this game mainly due to the NickToon theme. Because of this, younger kids might play this game over Tony Hawk.
Keep in mind that I am comparing this game to the Tony Hawk series because they are both skateboarding extreme sport games and Tony Hawk is widely recognized. As in Tony Hawk, the main objective of this game is to achieve the highest score possible while taking part in missions. Missions include things like finding letters to spell a word, or unearthing a hidden jewel. Money is awarded for completing these mission objectives. Once enough money has been collected, it can be spent in the shop for new boards and stats improvements.
A very helpful feature in this game is the tutorial. This tutorial guides the player through the many tricks in this game by demonstrating them on screen. Once the computer has performed a demonstration of the move, you get to try it out. While the computer is explaining the move, the corresponding buttons appear on screen. If new comers are trying out this extreme sport and know nothing about skateboarding, then this tutorial will get them up to speed.
Besides from the helpful tutorial, there are a few more modes of play. First is the simplistic Free Skate. Just as the name implies, you can travel to any of the areas you unlocked and skate there freely. The main mode of the game is the Career mode. Here players will accomplish tasks while earning money to by new things.
A have a few major issues with this game. First is the play control. Even though there are several characters to choose from, everyone turns really sharp. Because the turning is so sensitive, it can be difficult to perform the simplest of moves such as moving in a straight line and jumps are difficult to line up properly. Because of the bad turning ability, if the player runs into a wall or barrier of some kind, he gets stuck. Since the game moves the player automatically (there is no accelerator button) the player will continue to run into the wall. It is extremely frustrating to not be able to control the character how you want.
Next, I have a problem with the graphics. Because the characters are cartoons, the game should give that feel. However, horrible animations and retched transparency effects make the visual aspect of this game suffer. The animations are very short changed as most of them consist of a two simple frames. This makes the characters look blocky and zombie like. Even the overhead map where players choose the way they want to go isn’t of high quality. This game plays out in an isometric view so angles and space can be easily determined. Because of this, solid objects will need to become clear so the player can see when he travels behind something. Whenever the player moves behind a wall or something solid, that object becomes transparent. This effect is so full of cheese it should have started its own dairy farm. This poor effect just makes the pixelation worse. The music is pretty bland too. Annoying music will play and cheap sound effects are pretty common. You are better off listening to your favorite CD when playing this game.
Even though the turning is extremely sensitive, the control layout is well done. The control is scheme has been borrowed from the Tony Hawk games. Once “B” has been held down, the player will gain speed and jump when it is released. “A” is used to grind rails and other edges. The shoulder buttons are used in different ways to produce different tricks. Even though the GBA has only four buttons, the game makes good use of them, even if they did take it from Tony Hawk.
Another gripe I have with this game is that only one course is available from the start. In order to unlock a new level, the first level must be completed in its entirety. This is not a wise idea to start off a game with. If the player gets frustrated early in the game, one of two things will happen. First, the player will put down this game forever. Or second, he will want to try his luck at a different level. However, if the player is having difficulty with the first level and no other levels are available, then he will probably sell this game the first chance he gets. But for some reason, all the characters are available at the start. If there are many characters to choose from right off the bat, then why not levels? However, since this game has a password function and isn’t battery backup, a code can be inputted to unlock everything. The designers saved themselves with this one whether it was intentional or not.
There is a fair amount of replay value in this game because scores can always be improved upon. Plus, there is the option of multiplayer. But in order to get the most out of this game plenty of patience is required. Levels must be played numerous times to achieve all the mission objectives. But since the turning is really bad, levels will probably have to be played more often than you would like too.
If you must play an extreme sports game for GBA, then pick up Tony Hawk because it surpasses this game in every department. This game will only receive recognition because it contains popular Nickelodeon characters. Only die hard fans of the cartoon will appreciate this game. Stay away from this game and play T. Hawk instead.