720 (NES)

720 Box Art


System: NES

Release Date: November 1989

Developer: Beam Software

Publisher: Mindscape

Genre: Sports

It’s time for some skateboarding fun with 720o. This was originally an Atari arcade title that was ported to many systems over the years. You’re a jammin’ skateboarder looking to be the very best. Like no one ever was. There are four levels to go through and then the fourth one repeats until you get bored or die. The overworld map is a skate park surrounded by shops and events. The shops sell equipment upgrades to increase your abilities. The skateboard upgrade allows a higher top speed. The shoes allow you to jump higher. The pads let you recover from wipeouts quicker. The helmet lets you spin more quickly. Don’t listen to the manual for the item descriptions, it lies. There are four levels of upgrades, which help you survive in the fourth level and beyond.

There are four events in which to take part at the four corners of the map. In order to qualify, you need to have an event ticket. These are earned by accruing points. If you don’t have enough points, just jump and do spins as you skate around the map. The Downhill tasks you with making your way down several slanted boards to the end of the course. At first, I would jump and turn and that worked alright, but after my upgrades, this would send me into the drink and slow me down. That’s when I learned to just ride off and turn.

The Slalom is a simple run the course from top to bottom while going through the few flags on the course. You want to be moving downward while going through the flags to earn the most credit. Moving upward gives you a smaller amount. I felt the flags didn’t always recognize that I went through them, which was annoying. The Jump event tasks you with scoring as many points as you can by making big jumps. You want to make sure to spin as many times as you can without wiping out to crank your score up. There’s a timer on this event and if you make it all the way to the bottom, you earn a bonus based on how many seconds are left.

The final event is the Ramp, which is a halfpipe. You’ve got a limited amount of time to earn as many points as you can. This can be by holding the B Button while in the air to do spins. By pressing the A Button and the d-pad toward the lip of the ramp to do a handstand. The A Button and the d-pad away from the lip of the ramp to do a slide. And doing a skating handstand by pressing the d-pad in the direction you’re moving and the A Button. Timing is important because you need to do the opposite button press before you wipe out. This was the hardest one for me until I just started doing handstands.

While skating on the overworld, there is a timer constantly ticking downward. If the timer gets all the way down, a horde of bees come on the screen and pester you until the wipe you out. You have three lives until it’s game over. The time resets when you reach an event, so it’s important you have extra event tickets. I thought to myself, it would be nice if I could just skate around and do tricks without the bees coming to kill me. It was about this time that my timer froze and I got to play around until I entered an event and then the timer started again.

Graphics: 1.0

The graphics are bad. They look straight out of 1986.

Sound: 1.0

The music is alright in composition, but it just sounds so poor in practice.

Gameplay: 2.5

Skating around and doing jumps is fun. The events don’t have much depth to them, but they work.

Difficulty: 1.5

There’s not much of a challenge here. Once you play the events a few times, you should be able to get Gold or Silver on them each time, giving you plenty of points to unlock event tickets.

Fun Factor: 3.0

Luckily, the game is fun to play. Is it the best thing in the world to keep your attention forever? No. But is there a good 20-30 minute playthrough here and there? Yes, of course.

Overall Grade: 1.8

720o earns a C. This is a good little time waster. I would give it a shot and play for a little bit, you won’t be too unhappy.