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July 06, 2005

REVIEW: Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure

  • Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, GameBoy Advance
  • Current Price (new): $15-$20 (some stores out of stock)
  • Amount of Game Played: 50%-ish

A skateboarding game for kids, you say? Ummm. Maybe. Not sure. Why do you ask?

A video game with Disney & Pixar characters, you say? I'm listening, though I've been burned before (see Finding Nemo - I'll review that clunker in the next few weeks).

How about a video game featuring many of your kids' favorite Disney & Pixar characters, as well as customizable characters the kids can create themselves, using the game engine that powered the highly-acclaimed Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4?

Actually, that sounds pretty cool.

As it turns out, you'd be right. Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is pretty cool.

There are many levels to skate in, and most are based on Disney or Pixar films. For example: Buzz, Woody, Jessie & Zurg can skate in Andy's Room, Pizza Planet or Zurg's World; Simba, Timon & Pumbaa, Nala & Rafiki in Pride Rock, the Elephant Graveyard or Scar's Canyon; and Tarzan, Jane, Tantor & Terk in the Jungle Treehouse. Note: There are more levels, but we haven't unlocked them yet.

By completing challenges and achieving various goals, you open up new places to explore/skate, as well as new clothes to use on your customized characters (more on that in a bit). However, while the game is easy for kids to skate around and have fun, it isn't very easy to accomplish many of the goals in the game. Basic skating is very easy, but complex, intricate moves are no easy feat.

That said, there should be enough in this game to hold your kids' interest without them feeling they have to "finish" the game. In our case, we've been playing on & off for several months, and we're barely halfway through, if that.

If this is the only game that your kids play, then perhaps they'll be frustrated if they can't progress very easily or rapidly through the game. In our case, since this is just a part of a 6-7 game rotation (approximately - it's pretty fluid, and counting the PC, it's more like 20), my kids end up not playing it for a while, which means that when they do play, it's both familiar and new again.

Depending on how old your kids are, the difficulty isn't necessarily a bad thing. Given that the core gameplay is that of a non-kids game (the aforementioned THPS4), it certainly has plenty of challenge to keep your older kids interested as well.

One thing that all kids should like, though, is the ability to customze their own characters. My kids loved creating and playing with their own, special skaters.

Other than the difficulty issues, Activision made a good decision when they borrowed the Tony Hawk engine to make this game. But they made a bad one when they borrowed the Tony Hawk soundtrack. It isn't that the music is offensive (though a few are a little hard-edged for my taste, and I'm a musician my damn self); it's that it doesn't fit the content.

Young kids don't need amped-up, adrenaline-pumping rock music to play a skateboarding game. They want music they like - music that makes sense for the surroundings. How about some music from the movies, then? You've already licensed the characters. Is Hakuna Matata or even the slower You've Got A Friend In Me too much to ask? Guess so.

Bottom line, this is another fun game for the family to play together. My wife doesn't play very many games, and along with Dog's Life and Super Monkey Ball, this is one of the few that she likes to play with the kids. Did I forget to say I like it, too? I do.

Both kids love what they call "the skateboard game."

Favorite Characters:
    • Buzz Lightyear
    • Jessie
    • Nala
    • their custom-made skaters

Favorite Levels:
    • Andy's Room
    • Elephant Graveyard


  • You also get to unlock new characters, as well as new levels; for example, when you unlock the ship from Tarzan, you also unlock Jane as a little girl. The review is 100% spot-on. The actual challenges are somewhat hard, especially for younger players...but the levels are so darned expansive and fun, it doesn't really matter.

    I find the best way to play this one is to alternately help the kids to complete some challenges, and then let them explore. My son could spend lots of time as Zerg, skating around Pizza Planet. :)

    About the music: I'm guessing the choice in music is based on Radio Disney playlists. I agree that the kids could care less, and probably would have preferred actual Toy Story or Lion King music.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 6:39 AM  

  • Once again, thanks for the info, WizarDru.

    RE: the music, I'm not sure about Radio Disney, but Activision definitely double-dipped on the soundtrack, using the same songs for both Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 & Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure. I don't know if they match 100%, but they definitely have at least several songs in common.

    For all I know, Activision had a whole Disney/Pixar soundtrack in place, and Randy Newman pulled out at the last minute, scrapping the whole deal. I'd love to know how they made the decision, because there's definitely a disconnect.

    By Blogger Dan, at 10:38 AM  

  • they should make this game for the wii...i love this game but my mom only has the wii and she wont get anything else...is there a way where i can contact them and give them this suggestion?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:17 PM  

  • it's also for gamecube, so you can play it on wii too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:33 PM  

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