Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Hands-On Impressions

Tony Hawk is coming to the N-Gage, and we have a demo version of the game. Can Tony go portable while still staying polygonal? Find out inside.


One of the more interesting launch games for Nokia's new cell phone game platform, the N-Gage, is a port of the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Originally hitting the PlayStation in 1999, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater sparked a revolution by almost single-handedly creating the alternative sports genre that's so popular today. The N-Gage version appears to be a credible port of the PlayStation game.

The N-Gage version features most of the same controls as the original. You're given some options about the configuration, but the game default buttons include using the 5 key to ollie, the 2 key for grinds, the 4 key for flip tricks, and the 6 key for grabs. While this closely mirrors the game's original configuration, the unraised keys can be difficult to hit in a timely fashion. Considering the game's focus on timing, the key configuration is less than optimal.

The game will have a career mode, as well as support for two-player games via Bluetooth. It will also have some sort of over-the-air gameplay mode via the N-Gage Arena, but we were unable to test this out to see exactly what it will consist of. Finally, you'll also be able to skate single sessions and enter free skate mode.

Another aspect of the N-Gage version of the game that will have an impact on timing is the game's frame rate. At this point it isn't nearly as smooth as the original PlayStation version of the game. However, the game looks just about as good as the original game did, once you take into account the slightly squashed perspective offered by the N-Gage's vertical screen orientation.

The new version also does a good job at presenting audio from the original, although headphones are a much better way to listen to the game's digitized music than the N-Gage's tinny, built-in speaker. Several songs from the original version of the game have even been included, like "Police Truck" by the Dead Kennedys, "Here & Now" by the Ernies, "Superman" by Goldfinger, and more.

All in all, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the N-Gage seems to play similarly to the original, but the game's control and performance don't currently appear to be up to snuff. Hopefully the game's sluggishness will be remedied before the game hits stores on October 7.

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