Tony Hawks Downhill Jam Shredding The Streets With Speed

There was a big problem with the Wii launch titles. Apart from some excellent versions, most of the games were simply ported from other systems and as a result suffered from poor controls. Controlling the movement of the shoe horns in a traditional game has never been so successful, and even well-known titles have taken this easy path. Activision’s Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam is one of the few Wii titles created with the Wii, but for some reason it’s still a game that’s best played with a traditional controller.


Developed by Toys for Bob and not Neversoft, the creator of Tony Hawk, Downhill Jam eschews traditional trick-based gameplay in favor of downhill skateboard racing. It’s a rough comparison, but think of SSX on a skateboard and you have a rough idea of how it works. In eight environments you will work through a series of unique events, increase your rank and unlock new skaters and boards along the way.

Your first and pretty much only stop will be the downhill challenge mode. Here they start with a rank of zero and are presented with a series of low-level events. Reaching the first three is considered a success and you will receive ranking points, with a new event level being unlocked once you reach a certain rank. These are pretty simple things, and although it’s not always easy to finish the first three, it’s not too complicated, and you have to go through a lot of the game before repeating an event for the first time.


It looks like every Wii game will live or die on its command, and unfortunately, Downhill Jam is in dire need of medical help. When played with the Wii’s standard racing setup (wii-mote turned to the side), you control your skater as he goes down a hill, doing your best to avoid walls, cars, bottomless wells and anything else that wants to stop her in her tracks. To say that the control is not up to date is easy to take, because for a game that requires such contraction control, the lack of accuracy of the Wii moth direction sometimes makes the game unplayable-especially at the moment after using a speed boost.

There is certainly a learning curve, but even when the initial awkwardness is over, the controls don’t feel up to the task. To make matters worse, the Wii mote’s buttons are used for many things at a time, depending on what you’re doing at the moment. For example, the “2 ” button on the Wii button is mainly used for squatting and makes your skater jump when it is released. But “2” is also used in combination with the d-pad to perform grip tricks, use wallie and glue walls and panels. The ” 1 ” key is used for a similar number of movements, which makes the whole thing quite complex.


The trick system is not very advanced, it lacks such moves as return and Manual, which are now important in the Tony Hawk series, but trick challenges are not at the heart of the game. The only trick that you will often use is grinding, if only because you just need to keep your balance instead of going to the floor. To be honest, sometimes you can finish an event after jumping and switching from rail to rail, as if you were some kind of specially built skate racer, but these moments are lucky; something that turned out to be the matter when you crash every ten seconds at the next race.

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