Did you know that cartoons are real? They’re actually shot on camera in a different realm called toon world, and they’re released here as if they’re animated? At least, that’s the concept behind 2003’s Gamecube exclusive Go Go Hypergrind. Get ready to suffer.
So yeah, cartoons are all filmed by real cartoon actors in toon world, but there’s a problem. 3D animation, which is actually fake, is starting to take over. And so the toon hollywood execs decide to create a new, extreme, skateboarding show. You and all the other characters from the game are auditioning to star in that show.
This story falls apart immediately of course. If you live in a 2D world being threatened by 3D graphics, why is the game in 3D?
But, you know, I don’t really have a problem with the story and concept of the game. At least it’s not just a plain Tony Hawk clone. And branding and style are actually really important. I’ll give you an example.
In 2009, a Flash game came out called Crush the Castle. In it, you shoot projectiles at castles made with physics objects that react realistically to the thing you shoot. There were different types of ammo that had different effects. It was a fun game and I played it a lot.
Very soon after that game came out, another game took inspiration from it (according to the Wikipedia article). Maybe you’ve heard of it before. It’s called Angry Birds. And according to some estimates, has made over 2 billion dollars.
So the fact that Go Go Hypergrind isn’t just a Tony Hawk ripoff, and that they tried to do something original, could be a good thing. And they do run with their cartoon theme quite a bit. There are cartoony situations you can get into, which the game calls reactions or gimmicks, like getting smashed into an accordion, or… getting your head chopped off?
Is getting decapitated okay in a kid’s cartoon game? This game is for kids right?
And they even added in some different types of moves, like swinging on poles and stuff. Although this was standard in inline skating games at least.
But, even if the concept is novel and original, and even if they add in some new features and tricks. That doesn’t make the game good. Let’s take a run through the story mode and judge that.
I picked this character, because her stats were really balanced, and without knowing what to expect, that was the safest bet. The stats themselves don’t upgrade, at least from what I’ve played. Which is most of the game, I think. But you can buy new boards and gear to boost your stats. I couldn’t tell you how stuff like hair brushes and backpacks can help you ollie higher, but whatever. It’s a cartoon. It doesn’t have to make sense.
The structure of the story mode is different rounds of auditions in different sets. In other words, different events in various stages. Your score gets added up like a big grand prix race and you have to stay at the top of the leaderboard. This seemed weird to me at first, but I grew to like it because it meant that I didn’t have to try on certain event types.
Speaking of event types, let’s look at them.
First is the high score. I’m going to be translating all of the on screen text into English for you. For some reason, the game calls all of its tricks ‘appeals,’ like a ‘grind appeal,’ or a ‘revert appeal.’ I never understand why they try to reinvent the wheel with the naming in games like this. Just ask a random skater going by the office on the sidewalk and he can tell you what stuff is called. It’s not cute to rename everything. It just confuses everybody.
But the high score is exactly what you expect. And the game feels okay. It’s just very limited. You can ride around and ollie, which feels fine. You can grind and do air tricks like you’d expect too. You can spin in the air, and land stuff in manuals. It’s very basic, but it isn’t broken. Which is about all I’ll say about it. Doing actual tricks in the game is a tiny part of it. Even without paying much attention, you can very easily get 10 times the score of the next highest competitor. It’s not even remotely challenging.
The next event type is reactions. Which are called gimmicks in some contexts? Who knows. But these are basically the cartoon world stuff, like landing on spikes, getting eaten by plants, coated in paint, smashed into an accordion. Decapitated. That kind of stuff.
So they built all of these things into the game and animated them for every character. What genius way to these fit into the gameplay?
Well… You have to do them. There’s an arrow that guides you to a thing, you hit the x button, and you’re good. Although they’re really touchy. Even floor level ones usually require you to ollie, which will be a big problem later. But that’s it. And it’s really easy… Most of the time.
In this level, I got a brand new reaction, called box. I haven’t seen this one, so I don’t know what I’m looking for exactly. Is it in the tree? Is it by the wall or fence somewhere? What exactly is this arrow pointing at? I think it’s pointing at nothing. I jumped around and spammed x in the hope that something would happen, but it didn’t, and eventually time ran out.
Luckily I didn’t score too badly, because I think that one was just broken.
Speaking of broken, let’s look at the second worst event, the battles. What I was expecting was something like the Mario Kart 64 battle mode, where you pick up different kinds of power ups and ride around and shoot them at each other. But imagine simplifying that down to nothing and not testing it at all.
So the first 5 or 10 times I tried this event, I got absolutely destroyed. I had no idea what I was doing and I just got killed within a minute. This was so stupidly difficult that I had to cheat with save states to beat it. Remember, this is all just ranked and put together at the end. You can’t just retry and do it again. If you lose, it just becomes part of your final score. And if I actually did it the way it wanted me to do, I wouldn’t have figured out how this works until the game was over.
So here’s how it works. You have to get a reaction, like the paint or fire. When you do, you’re armed with something, like paint brushes or hammers or something. It makes no difference whatsoever. You just shoot out different shaped things from your body.
If you get hit, you’ll lose some health and lose your powerup. The other guy will just wait for you to recover, and shoot you right when you do. You’re defenseless. It’s so fun. Especially because you can barely see anything or control the camera at all.
This was infuriating. But a small part of it was my fault. I kept going for the fire reaction because it seems to work the most often. I couldn’t even get the paint one to work at one point. But the fire launches you in the air, and then when you’re looking for the other guy, and he’ll come up behind you and kill you before you can reload.
Eventually, you’ll learn to just cheat and get behind the other guy and do the same thing back to him. But it feels like you’re breaking the game. You shouldn’t have to be a jerk to win this event.
So with enough save state cheating, I finally beat it. The next event–
Oh no. Oh please no.
It’s a tournament. Every single time you do this event type, you have to do it 3 times. You spend 2 minutes on the high score event, then 10 or 15 on this one. It’s awful.
Let’s cleanse our palette with another event. This is the link appeal event. Or in English, the high combo score event. It’s exactly what you think it is. And again, you’ll have trouble getting anything but first if you’ve ever touched a game controller before.
Another event type is a level-specific one, like getting hit by as many cars as possible in this level. Which isn’t remotely interesting or fun. Or challenging. In this one you have to blow up as many barrels as possible. Which means having a fire reaction active and hitting x to set them off. This one is to smash pumpkins. You just kind of ride up and down this area and run them over until time runs out. It’s just work. It’s not interesting or fun in any remote way. Luckily, it’s also incredibly easy.
The last event type, and the last thing I’ll see as my life flashes before my eyes on my death bed, is called race.
If you’re like me and you think you understand the concept of a race, you might just hit start and go for it. There’s a gate in front of you, so I went through that, then started looking for the next gate. There isn’t one. I don’t get where I’m supposed to race to next. So I started doing the reactions because they shoot you around the level, so I should be able to find it pretty easy. After a while I went back and hit the starting one again to see if I didn’t do it right and it had to launch the event or something… and I won.
Now that I know how the game works, I’m absolutely shocked that I somehow managed to win this. Because here’s what you actually do.
Every time you do a reaction, you get a random result. Sometimes you get colored tokens. If you can get them all, you have to rush back through the gate with them to win. It’s more of a scavenger hunt than a race, but okay.
Here’s the thing though. There’s no way to know which token you might get. It’s not based on what type it is, like a red token for a fire one or anything like that. You might randomly get the same token over and over and over.
But it gets so much worse. There are punishments added in there too. You can get punished for doing the correct thing just because the number generator didn’t like you.
These can be as crappy as a bomb that destroys your current tokens, or even worse ones. Look at this garbage.
One of them is inverting your controls. Hold down to speed up, hit left to turn right, etc. It’s annoying, but fine. The other ones are worse. The next one is heavy boots that stop you from ollieing. Like I mentioned before, it’s rare that the reactions will actually work unless you ollie into them. So when you can’t jump, you might as well just set your controller down until it’s over. Wow, how fun.
The last one is going slow. But, like, real slow. This is playing in real time. Yeah, power ups that you can use to slow other people down is common in cartoony arcade race games, but this is self inflicted, goes on forever, and is unbelievably slow. Come on.
The randomness of this is what makes it especially horrible. If I would get punished for messing up, and I can do well if I’m good, then that’s fine. It still wouldn’t be fun, but I wouldn’t want to blow my brains out the whole time. But with this, you have no control. You can do the exact same thing every time (AND YOU WILL), and you’ll get different results. One time, the computer player might get all three in his first attempts and win instantly. Or the round might take 20 minutes. All you can do is cheat save states and wait for you to get lucky.
AND OH YEAH THIS ONE IS A TOURNAMENT TOO.
Look, here’s the thing. There’s nothing completely broken in this game like in Rocket Power or some of the other dreck that I’ve played on this channel. It’s medium bad, but with two unbearable events. And as far as your play time is concerned, they take up 85% of the time you play the game.
I’m not an idiot… Well… Actually, yeah, I’ll have some self confidence. I’m not an idiot. I knew this game wasn’t going to be good. I think I’ve played enough skateboarding games that there aren’t going to be any hidden gems left over that I’ll be able to tell you about. I think it’s just all suffering and misery until Session or Skate 4 or something comes out. Or maybe Skater XL. I need to play that at some point.
So, Go Go Hypergrind. Should you get it? Is it a cool collectible piece of skateboarding history? You already know that. Don’t torture yourself with this. Your life is too valuable for this. Even mine is. Believe it or not.