Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Preview

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With over 1.5 million Dreamcast owners sitting in front of a shiny new Sega system, Crave Entertainment has decided to get in on the act with a DC port of Neversoft's outrageously popular PlayStation title Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Crave Entertainment issued a press release that said it would bring the skater to Sega's latest console sometime during Q2 2000. The Neversoft team, which created the original for the PlayStation, will not be bringing the game to the Dreamcast. Instead, it will be handled by Treyarch, developers of Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm.

Players will be able to control some of skateboarding's top talent, including Bob Burnquist, Kareem Campbell, Rune Glifberg, Buck Laskey, Chad Muska, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley, Elissa Steamer, and Jamie Thomas. Each skater will have his own signature moves, which he'll be able to perform with the skateboarding trick standards in nine environments, from half pipes to downtown San Francisco.

Even though Tony Hawk's Pro Skater has changed publishers, the Dreamcast version still has the heart and soul that made the PlayStation game such an amazing piece of software. Everything that you would expect from the game has been left intact - from the over-the-top skating action to the various modes. In fact, the only thing I could find that has changed is that there's now a "cheat" menu from the start screen that, while players cannot initially select from this screen, we're sure it unlocks at some point during the game.

While Tony Hawk's Pro Skater looks really good on the Dreamcast, it doesn't look as good as the early screenshots made it out to be. However, the build of the game we saw is still in an early stage so there aren't a lot of lighting effects or pretty touches, and it also looks as if the black background has been replaced with a light blue one, making everything look oddly tinted. Still, the graphical difference between the PlayStation and the Dreamcast version is obvious. Everything looks a lot smoother, the animations of the characters are more realistic, and your character's shadow looks really, really good.

While there was no music in the game, the audio effects were present. However, they seemed a little off - as you'd get the "you got a tape" noise when you picked up a letter. I'm sure that's just a result of such an early version, and all the sound effects will be the same as the PlayStation and the N64 versions.

Still, the most important part of Tony Hawk - the gameplay - was all there. This game has all the 720 benihanas and switch 540 rocket airs you can handle - and it looks really good doing it.

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