Retro Review: “Thrasher: Skate & Destory”

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Title: “Thrasher: Skate and Destroy”

Developer: Z-Axis Ltd

Published: Rockstar Games

Released: 26th September 1999 (NA)

1999 (Europe and me and damn you Wikipedia for not having a good date.)

This is one of the first PlayStation 1 games I played so it’s pretty high on the list of first games I ever played. I still have it. But I didn’t really like it. Probably a sign that me and simulation games are not copacetic. The game went down well with critics but there was one small problem. A small game called “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” came out around the same time and out-sold it by a decent margin. A decent margin is putting it lightly. “Skate and Destroy” only lasted one game while “Pro Skater” had four more iterations, 2 more as “Underground” (the peak of the series) and then a few more that weren’t that good. Although Tony might take another shot on the next generation of consoles.

If anything, the “Skate” series of games are a spiritual successor to ‘S and D’. In both games you can break bones and smash your deck if you bail too hard. Yeah, look at me throwing around sk8tr lingo, yo. Ok, that was stupid but I did play loads of Tony Hawk in my younger years so I can “talk the talk”. I even tried skating. I still have the bad joints to prove it. But I do think all the skater language is like l33t or whatever you people call it. Unless you’re talking about specific things like tricks don’t talk with it. You don’t sound like an idiot. (Well, you sort of do.) You just sound menial. (Now there’s a challenge to my editor. I’m totally not offensive.)

Looking at the game from a modern viewpoint, the game is a marvel. As in, it’s a marvel that they managed to get so much stuff in the game on those tiny PS1 eras CD’s. The campaign mode, or as I call it ‘the mode you have to play to unlock anything’, is just a 2 minute objective time trial, like “Pro Skater”, but at the end you have to run away from a bad guy and if you get caught, you bail and lose the level. (Bail = fall of the board and hurt yourself if you didn’t know.) It depended on the level what you ran away from. It could be a dog on the street level or a mall cop in the mall level. But that added to the realism of the game. Back in the 90’s, skaters where not liked and chased out of pretty much everywhere. Not because they were bad or anything but because they were the counter-culture of the time. Look at the hippies of the 60’s and the rappy-hippy-hoppy people today. Although some of them are asses. I think the percentage increases over time or something. (Another challenge for my editor. Take that! Still not offensive!)

There isn’t much more to talk about this game. I was a game that would have progressed in to a series like “Skate” but it was cut down in sale numbers. It’s safe to say that there will never be another “S and D” because the company that made it was bought by Activision, renamed “Underground Development” and made games like “Guitar Hero: Van Halen”. It wouldn’t come as a shock that the company was closed in February 2011.

A sad note to end on but that is what happens when you look back at some games from now 3 generations back. Good games lose out and decent companies get the chop. Although, they did make “BMX XXX” after having the “Dave Mirra BMX” series that lost out to “Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX” which was published by Activision who owned Z-Axis and… Ok. Looking back at games from 3 generations back is just confusing. Or maybe just Activision is just made up business plans on the fly and screwed up a many times. (Ok editor that was offensive. But they totally deserve it!)

Retro Score:  4/5

Modern Score: 3/4

What more from Wil? Check out his blog and his YouTube channel for more!

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