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Evolving the Genre: Part One

We take a look at Konami's EVOLUTION series in this two-parter

By Troy Roberts     February 20, 2003


When you think of extreme sports titles, you normally think along the lines of TONY HAWK PRO SKATER, MAT HOFFMAN'S PRO BMX, or KELLY SLATER'S PRO SURFER. But Konami is looking to make a big hit with its newest extreme sports titles, EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING and EVOLUTION SNOWBOARDING.


In this two-part feature, we'll be taking a look at both games. First up is EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING.


Instead of just trying to make a game to compete with Activision's newest incarnation of the TONY HAWK PRO SKATER, Konami decided they would go an alternate route with EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING. "EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING is a traditional skateboarding game in the sense that you play as a real skater, you do tricks throughout levels and you progress through the game when you play through the story game by way of doing tricks, accomplishing missions and various tasks to unlock additional levels, among other things like boards and gear," says Justin Kubiak, Product Manager for Konami of America. "But what makes EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING a little bit different than any other skateboarding game is integrating Konami's historical success in action games, which people know like METAL GEAR SOLID and CONTRA."


But what exactly does that mean to the gamer? According to Kubiak, boss characters have been added into the gameplay to provide a very unique experience.

EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING


"Boss characters are pretty popular and they'll show up in any game as a foundation of gameplay and they've never been included in an extreme sports product before," explains Kubiak. "So in this one, you'll be using your skateboarding skills and skateboarding abilities that you work on during the story mode to defeat characters like a fire-breathing spider. You'll also be chased around town by a 12-ton semi-truck, and you'll have to grind along certain areas to bring the truck down. There is a tank you'll go after. So, examples like that where you're faced with bigger missions than standard objectives that you have to accomplish to move on."


There will also be eight real skaters to choose from, each with their own unique story mode. "When you play as one of those skaters, and you play in the story mode, you'll get a different experience for each skater; there will be different levels that you'll actually encounter and different objectives for each skater. It's a great amount of depth for an extreme sports title. There is also a ton of customization using real gear, equipment and sponsors."


Konami made sure that EVOULTION SKATEBOARDING would be full of new things to do for fans of extreme sports titles.


"One of the missions you might face is, as you skate through Japan, you might be stopped by a guy who is in need of help of delivering pizzas to a number of people from around the level," says Kubiak. "So, you have to go and find the people waiting for their pizzas, and then return to the guy to get another one. You don't have to find the guy, but if you do, it's an extra mission you'll have to accomplish. Also, things that are a little bit more involved, like you'll have to skate on something to knock it down to get to a place where you can skate to another area, so you can reach a portion of the level you couldn't have gotten to before to accomplish a mission. You'll have to rescue someone from the Wild West level. And then of course there are the boss levels, like a giant spider where you have to grind across the web that he is standing on and knock him down into a cauldron to destroy him."

EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING


For fans of mini-games, Konami has decided to include numerous mini-games in EVOLUTION SKATEBOARDING. "There are 30 of these in the game," Kubiak explains. "For example, you have to pick up all the coins in an area under a certain amount of time, and the coins are set-up in areas that are difficult to get to. So, you have to do a perfect run to pick up all the coins, or you have to reach an area that is really difficult to get to and you have to do a perfect launch off of a ramp. There are tons of these little missions that teach you how to pull off moves and navigate through levels."


Kubiak also mentions that there will be hidden characters from Konami's history in EVOULTION SKATEBOARDING, including Solid Snake from METAL GEAR SOLID.


The title is currently available on both the Playstation 2 and GameCube.


Tomorrow we'll be running the second part of this feature on EVOLUTION SNOWBOARDING, so be sure to check back tomorrow.

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