Copyright/Publisher: US Gold, Programmed By: Chris Butler, Music By:
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Skateboard, Number Of Players: 1
The conversion of the skateboarding arcade game, 720 Degrees, has finally
arrived from US Gold.
The player starts in 'Skate City', which is viewed in isometric perspective
3D as a multi-screen scrolling area comprised of dozens of small ramps, water-troughs,
shoops and skate parks.
The skateboarder has three tickets, allowing entrance to any of the four parks
dotted around Skate City, and is awarded an extra one at regular point intervals.
Each of the four skate parks hosts a different competition: half-pipe stunts,
in which the player attempts to score a set number of points by performing tricky
manoeuvres; downhill racing over a series of ramps; slalom course where a series
of gates are negotiated, and jumps, which requires the player to skate down angled
ramps and avoid water jumps.
Successufl qualification in a competition - gold, silver or bronze - is awarded
with cash and bonus points, depending on the quality of the performance. All four
parks are attempted before returning to any, and failure to qualify costs the player
Between pars visits the player performs jumps on the streets or over the ramps
that litter the playing area. Each successful stunt earns the skater points, and
therefore tickets. In addition, the players visits Skate City's four shops to
upgrade is pads, helmet, board and shoes, effectively increasing his skills and
giving higher scores for stunts.
The player's stay in the main area is restricted by a time limit. When this
expires, a swarm of killer bees gives chase - and if a park isn't entered quickly,
one of the skater's three lives is lost.
Included in the package is an audio take containing music from the arcade machine.
First impressions are really good, as US Gold have managed to capture the look
of the graphics, and a fair deal of the sound from the original - especially
if you include the audio tape (mind you, it seems that the music quality is highly
subjective, as although many rave over the soundtrack, we were all reaching for
the volume within seconds.
720 Degrees also plays much like its arcade parent, and this is really where
both the strengths and criticisms lie. The game has the flair and slickness asscociated
with arcade machine, but with 720 Degrees, the original was lackin variety in
play, and its conversion suffers likewise.
Although there are four parks, and lots of things to jump off and spin over, after
an hour or so, you find yourself playing exactly the same patterns, repeating
the same exercises, and generally getting bored. This is a good conversion, but
isn't a classic by any means.
I've never played the arcade game, so I can't compare the conversion to the
original - but it's certainly a very good game in its own right. The action
'feels' great, and the skater is very quick to respond to the joystick, which
is necessary to negotiate him around the skate park's tortuous hazards.
The action is nicely structured, and I like the idea of having to keep on
scoring to ensure a steady supply of tickets. The time limit is a constant worry,
and trying to remember which park to skate to next, and which extra skating gear
to buy keeps the gameplay bubbling along at a frantic rate.
The graphics are a little sombre, lacking the bright colours normally associated
with skateboarding, and some of the sprites are very blocky indeed - but the
overall effect is pleasing, and the 3D convincing.
The only niggling point
I have is that the gameplay becomes repetitive after a while, as there are only
four different things to do. Still, those who like their action fast and furious
should enjoy 720 Degrees.
The obvious comparions between US Gold's and Electronic Arts' skateboarding
games tend to favour EA's in the long run. 720 Degrees is a very good arcade
conversion, but the starting material doesn't really hold much promise for a
home computer game due to the limited variety.
There are only four events, which are completed in more or less the same way
every time. Unlike Skate Or Die, there is little room for improvisation: after
a while a set routine is developed and stuck to for the remainder of play.
is unfortunate, since the game is excellently designed, very smooth and quite
entertaining. The worst part however, has to be the music - which is absolutely