There was a time, right around the release of the very first Tony Hawk game, when skateboarding experienced something of a renaissance. For a few years it wasn't solely the preferred means of transport for disaffected teens who couldn't drive yet; everybody got into skater culture, myself included.
Unfortunately, I never did get to grips with skateboarding, partly because I lived in an area with no flat land and partly because I have the balance of a Wibble Wobble. Still, I got a kick out of the games and living vicariously through the biggest names in the sport.
Still, as much as I continue to enjoy those skating games, my passion for all things skateboard-related has slowly slipped away and returned to a state of mild interest. I'd like to think maybe that's why I didn't enjoy Street Skater - but I think it has more to do with it sucking ass.
Street Skater is a remarkably simple Flash skating sim that nevertheless proves quite frustrating and ultimately not worth your time.
You begin by choosing your skater. I decided to go with the first option, Jessy, who's either the most feminine man or the most masculine woman you'll ever meet in a Flash game. Surely such gender confusion is hardly going to help my chances of beating this game?
This doesn't help. Can you really get away with a name like that?
The levels on Street Skater are, as one would expect, very long, straight streets (or more accurately, footpaths.) You skate down the street until you reach the finish line, using the arrow keys to move and the A - H keys to perform grinds, kickflips and methods. The game is 2D, though it likes to pretend it's 3D because you can move your skater in and out of the background. Because you're moving from left to right this makes gauging jumps a little difficult, which inevitably leads to copious bailing from your unfortunate skater.
Trying to do anything other than a kickflip becomes a real chore. If you're not in the right place at the start of a rail you won't be able to skate on it, nor can you just jump onto it as you skate past (you know, like you could in real life.) You're supposed to jump onto steps and walls in order to gain enough height to pull off the really impressive aerial tricks, but that's no easier.
Bail five times and an ambulance will come to finally put you out of your misery. Somehow I doubt my score of -490 is going to be good enough for the high score table.
I decided to try again, this time with Scott, the most cheerful punk in the world. I was starting to get the hang of it at this point and finally managed to land a few grinds. Every time you load a level in Street Skater the obstacles are randomly generated, so you never get the same level twice. This certainly increases replay value, but it also means players can't learn from their mistakes. Instead of knowing where a rail or hole is and being able to prepare for it, you're always going into a level blind. It's like a brain surgeon trying to do a double bypass - you might have a good idea how to do it, but you can't be totally sure. Unless you're a brain surgeon who also performs heart operations, in which case you're probably too busy to play this game anyway.
What was I writing about?
Right, Street Skater. Personally, I doubt even skaters would get much enjoyment out of this game, especially as there are far superior titles on the Web such as Street Sesh, as well as the aforementioned Tony Hawk series. Unless you have the patience to get to grips with this game, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Hell, maybe you could even try going outside, grabbing a skateboard... then falling on your ass and coming back inside, because really, you should know better.