Few people refer to this semi-classic using the proper “Town & Country” title, and even fewer remember the clothing line on which they’re based. Freed from their white cotton prison of suburban surf wear, the NES provided the T & C mascots with the perfect platform to thrash ‘til it burns with two modes of, now commonplace, board sports once considered too extreme to be kept off Trapper Keepers.
Above: That’s gonna hurt like the dickens…
Both events were basically the same level modestly extended with each round you survived. While the surfing level(s) was an elongated wave of static blue idiocy, the skate course is still quite fun, and actually incorporated up to two tricks (grab and jump) that were crucial to maneuvering through the Paperboy-esque obstacle course, featuring rogue RC cars and sentient Whammo products.
Above: “A controller you play with your feet? On a Nintendo system?!…You’re fired.”
If you thought it was too difficult, then you probably weren’t playing with the Roll and Rocker peripheral T & C’s publisher, LJN, designed with the game in mind. Basically you’re looking at an inert Pogo Ball gamers leaned on to steer their onscreen board away from death. We would’ve tested it, but the games industry is in extremely short supply of editors under the Roll and Rocker’s 100 lb maximum.
Above: Let’s hear it for Da Boys (Click image for Da Boys archive)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting “Da’ Boys” - Kool Kat, Tiki Man, and Joe Cool - but you’d better reserve a place in your memory tube for Thrilla Gorilla.
Otherwise, it’s hard to justify putting the misbehavin’ ape front and center in the T & Sequel, Thrilla’s Safarai. Now a straightforward sidescroller with a ludicrous plot, the emphasis on tricking for endurance was removed in favor of boss battles, ramp jumps, and plenty of insensitive coconut and banana based stereotypes that won’t be forgotten when apes rise up against man.
Above: A scene from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
In 1996, it looked as if this growing pastime was finally earning a little more legitimacy thanks to the license lent by - not one - but two ESPNs! Of course, it became clear that even the folks behind the X Games hadn’t the slightest notion of what to do with the sport and did what so many others had succumbed to before: packaged several poorly designed niche sports into a single pathetic package.
Above: Downhill jammin’ is always more fun with your foot in someone’s ass
Pardon our brevity for skirting over the rollerblade, street luge and mountain bike events, because the skating portion is another glorious example of a long history of misrepresentation. Every mode was basically a racing variation, but the skating stood out as an unabashed Road Rash rip-off. Because what young boarder wouldn’t want to sacrifice recreating flip tricks and grabs for tearing across an ugly highway and kicking opponents in the dick?
By opting to pass on slapping its good name all over Sony’s first party sequel, it seemed ESPN had learned its lesson well. Unfortunately, the developers didn’t, and they chose to retain the pixelated mess of asphalt idiocy loathed in 1Xtreme. “Tricks: Who need ‘em? Let’s try to up the ante and let players kick cats and crouch to reach highly probable speeds of up to 60mph while moving uphill!”
Above: Who needs vert ramps when you can punch pedestrians at 62mph?
2 Xtreme is available for download via the PlayStation Network. You could give it a buy, provided you hate your hard-earned money and valuable time.
The Xtreme games had somehow managed to completely ignore polygons and stuck with tried-and-true sprites for that old timey Sega CD look of failure. Thankfully, someone passed along the memo to 989 Studios four years in to the PlayStation’s life span. Although by then it was too late.
Above: A step forward or a step back?
A more robust arsenal of tricks and the hideous 3D characters couldn’t save the series, plus Tony Hawk came out later that same year to further mock its existence. Rumor has it that plans for a fourth game fell apart over the incredible difficulty involved in figuring out a name. A shame… we would’ve suggested 4 Xtreme: 4 Answer.