Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam - WII - Preview 2
Skateboarding fans will have a lot to look forward to this fall, as Activision is gearing up to release not one but two new Tony Hawk games. One of the two games is Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, a launch title for Nintendo’s upcoming Wii console. Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam is a bit of a departure from the rest of the Tony Hawk series, as it focuses more on downhill racing than a tricks-and-goals system. GameZone recently got some hands-on time with the Wii version of the game, and it felt very unique, thanks to the Wii-mote’s interesting control possibilities. The game had an arcadey, SSX feel to it, with fast action and outlandish stunts, and should be one to look out for when the Wii launches.
In order to play the game, you must hold the Wii-mote horizontally and steer your character like you would a car. When you perform a grind, you must balance your character by tilting the controller into the grind. The game will also have a vast array of tricks, although not all tricks from previous Tony Hawk games will be represented, as some don’t really fit with downhill racing.
The controls felt very comfortable, and the tilt sensors in the Wii-mote were very responsive and lent themselves nicely to the game’s formula. The motion sensitivity in the controller could be adjusted through the options menu.
The game will feature licensed boards from several companies, with a wide array of skateboards and longboards from brands like Sector 9 featured.
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam features several different types of race modes in multiplayer. There are the standard Trick, Slalom and Race modes which are fairly self-explanatory, but there are also the Steal the Head mode and Elimirace. In Steal the Head, the object is not to cross the finish line before your opponent, but to spend the most time during the race in the lead. When your character is in second place, then their head will disappear from their body, and the only way you can get it back is to take the lead. In Elimirace, you must be in first place, otherwise a timer will count down the time you’re in second. Once your timer runs out, then you are eliminated from the race.
Graphically, the game moved at a silky smooth framerate, and offered progressive scan and 16:9 widescreen support. The characters sported a less-realistic more-cartoony look to them, and the courses had a very stylized feel to them. The soundtrack will feature a wide array of genres, with licensed tracks from White Zombie and Iron Maiden showing up.
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam is a fast-paced racing game with smooth graphics and great controls that benefit from the Wii’s unique abilities. Look for it at the console’s launch.