E3 2001 Hands-on: Airblade

Sony's hoverboarding game pits you and your stolen hoverboard against "the man."


Sony is showing its Tony Hawk-like hoverboarding game, Airblade, here at E3. The game has a bit of a storyline. You, as Ethan, have come into possession of a stolen prototype hoverboard. The company that made the board wants it back. It's up to you to smash the evil corporation.

You ride the hoverboard just like a skateboard, though its hovering nature allows you to do some pretty unskateboardlike stuff, such as riding a few feet up walls to make really tight turns. The game controls roughly like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, though you can use the circle button to grab onto poles and spin around them insanely fast. If you grab a horizontal pole, you can use it to launch yourself sky high.

The game works on a timer, and completing level goals adds time to your clock. Goals include grabbing a set of specially marked poles, knocking out bodyguards and snipers, smashing satellite uplink trucks, and grinding on limousines to smash them. The game gives you one goal at a time, and a Crazy Taxi-like arrow points you toward the goals.

Graphically, the game has a very smooth look to it. The city level on display is nicely detailed and packed with pedestrians, cars, and other obstacles that make the environment feel alive. Additionally, the game moves very quickly, and it maintains a solid frame rate throughout.

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