At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, 720° is one of the worst games on the NES and possibly the worst skateboarding game ever released on any console. The graphics resemble hurried scrawls, the music is a reckless testimony to mashing one’s hands on a keyboard, and the controls are absurdly nonsensical. Either your main character is the worst skateboarder of all time, or there is absolutely no way to perform any tricks with the basic, yet typically effective, NES pad. Jumping and landing – something that should be as easy as breathing in a skateboarding game – is impossible. Want to do tricks? Sure, everyone likes tricks. Alas, misshapen human beings, traffic, and random pools of water (from where there is no escape) won’t allow you such simple pleasures.
In theory, you can buy better performing skateboards, protective gear, get gold medals on each of the four tracks (Downhill, Slalom, Ramp, and Jump), and have a strong sense of accomplishment while doing so. In reality, you jump around, run into things, fall over a few times, and killer bees sting you to death. It’s the 720° way of life: skate and die.
720° is supposedly a lot better in the arcades, where it debuted in December 1986. In addition to terrorizing NES consoles across the US, the skateboarding game also saw ports to the Commodore 64, the Amstrad CPC, and the ZX Spectrum in 1987 and 1988. Then in 1999, just when we thought 720° was banished forever to eternal darkness, a Game Boy Color port emerged, eager to capitalize on the Tony Hawk franchise’s popularity. Shameful, 720°. Absolutely shameful.
PUBLISHER: Mindscape DEVELOPER: Atari (port by Beam Software)
GENRE: Sports RELEASE DATE: 11/1989 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Arcade, C64, Amstrad CPC, GBC, ZX Spectrum