720 Degrees

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-03-12 03:03:06

720 Degrees - Rank C

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ROM Filename: 720
Developer: Atari Games
Publisher: Atari Games
Date: December 1986

Also available in Midway Arcade Treasures (Xbox, GameCube - compatible with Wii, and PlayStation 2)

Skate or Die! This is the original extreme sports game, birthed from the 80's skateboarding craze. Considering the primitiveness of games from this era (when kids were still saying "Rad!"), 720 Degrees is surprisingly deep. It's like the Cro-Magnon ancestor of games like Tony Hawk.

You start with one ticket which will gain you entry to one of four different skate parks. Stringing together tricks in that park earns you money with which you buy more tickets or gear upgrades. If you're short on ticket money, you'll need to desperately grind out tricks and jump to grab cash flying in the wind. If not, killer bees will hunt you down and end you. You see, you really must skate...or die.

The controls might feel strange to you. This is because the original arcade cabinet had an odd circular joystick, which allowed you to pull off crazy fast spins - a full 720 degrees if you were nimble. This doesn't translate perfectly to modern analog sticks, and it might take you awhile to get accustomed to the controls. Aside from that, one button propels you and the other is used to jump.

Like any mid-80's game that shoots for "realism", 720 Degrees hasn't aged particularly well, but there was a time when it was cutting edge and enjoyed immense popularity. It's not a must play today, but anyone interested in nostalgia and to see where trick based gameplay started should give it a whirl.

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