Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam

Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam

Spring 2007 Video Games
Ages: 8 - 18 yrs.
Publisher: Activision, Inc.
Price: $34.99
Gaming System: Nintendo DS
Tony Hawk has been around so long you almost expect he's a little old for this skateboard stuff. Like an elder statesman of the sport now, right? But the old boy just might surprise you with this latest rendition of what you can do with a board and four wheels.

The key word here is “downhill.” This one's different than the usual flat courses Tony has sent videogamers into. It's still high-speed boarding with some of the old and familiar tricks and grinds, plus a few new ones—but let's just say the field is anything but level now.

There are the various modes—Quick Race, Jam Session and World Tour (which is the most interesting sending Tony around the world for tournaments, from Rio to Hong Kong). And, as in past TH titles, you can create your own custom-made skater if you like. Choose the hair, skin color, outfit, board, the works. But no matter what you choose, it's all downhill from there!

Graphically, the environments are pretty cool, even considering that they're on the little DS screen. Animation leans to the cartoon side but works okay because the skate action is so fast and frenzied. No, there's not much educational value in this skateboarder, but having a little fun isn't bad. And Tony Hawk's new zoomer is that.

Don Oldenburg   ©2007 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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