Tony Hawks Pro Skater (Sniper)
Genre: Extreme Sports
Developer: Ideaworks3D
Publisher: Activision

When I played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater originally, it was with the Dreamcast port, which obviously looked a lot nicer than the N-Gage version. From what I saw of the original PSX title though, this port looks nearly identical, even slightly better, since the low texture resolution is not nearly as noticable on a handheld's screen. Although the game doesn't look quite as comely as Red Faction, the framerates are consistently higher.

Since the N-Gage can handle full digital audio, and since compressed audio with a fairly high sampling rate fits nicely onto an MMC, the N-Gage version features songs straight from the original. While a few of the tunes are omitted, the punk/ska melodies sound good and fit the game well. The sound effects, also straight out of the original, are probably the best so far on the N-Gage. In the end, if you've heard the PSX version, you've heard this port as well, whether that's good or bad.

After a good solid hour of playing Tony Hawk on the N-Gage, I was able to perform just about any combo I saw fit, albeit not with 100% consistency. It's not Ideaworks3D's fault that the N-Gage buttons are close together though, and I think the key config works just fine. What they could have done differently is gone the extra mile and added some of the gameplay elements from the newer Tony Hawk titles, such as manuals and the invaluable on-screen balance meter.

The excellent level design and control scheme is completely intact here, making this title, bar none, the best extreme sports title on any handheld platform. Despite including four bonus maps and N-Gage Arena support, I still think Ideaworks3D should have made this port unique from the other titles in the series, mating the best features of all the Tony Hawk games. Perhaps money and time budgeting did not permit them to be this ambitious, but the rating is pared down regardless.

Sniper's verdict: