Retro Reload: Disney Extreme Skate Adventure is an Early 2000s Time Capsule Gem

Activision, Pixar

Gaming has improved in the past few decades. The way technology advances with new consoles brings out bigger and better games. However, while I do enjoy a lot of modern games, sometimes it's nice to go back to the days of PlayStation 2 and even earlier consoles because, let's face it, if you are in your mid-20s, you most likely remember the days of the early 2000s or even late 90s, where you and a bunch of friends play video games. So, I'm about to remind you of the nostalgic gaming memories with my new series: Retro Reload.

So, remember the days of skateboarding video games with everyone's favorite skateboarder, Tony Hawk? With Tony Hawk's Pro Skater being a massive success, other skateboarding games out there tried and failed to meet the same standard. But one magical mouse of a very large company managed to put together what is perhaps an underrated skateboarding game: Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure.

Released on Sept. 3, 2003, in North America, Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is a skateboarding video game made by companies Activision and Toys for Bob. The game has a feel and design similar to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. In fact, one of the game's big sellers is that they used Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 engine, which was the latest game around then.

The game features three different worlds of 3 other Disney movies: Toy Story 2, Tarzan, and The Lion King, each with four different levels. There are 12 characters in total in all movie worlds. These characters include Woody, Buzz, Simba, Tarzan, etc. Some worlds include Andy's Room, Pizza Planet, Clayton's Ship, Pride Rock, etc. Each world has different missions you have to complete, like using letters to spell SKATE under a time limit, completing various tricks and more like a real Tony Hawk game. The more missions you complete, the more levels you unlock. There is also one more bonus world in the game called Hollywood. This world is where you can play as the Extreme Skate Crew, a bunch of different kids in which, in promotion for the game, they held a contest for two people to be the main stars. You can also play as your own created skater that you can make in the menu.

Any skateboarding game has to have good controls to make the game work, and for DESA, the controls are fantastic; you press the X button to gain speed and release X to jump, with the circle button for grab tricks, a square button for flip tricks, and the triangle button for grind tricks, or when you're on a ramp for lip tricks. The worlds in the game are well-designed for this kind of game. The amount of detail they put into each level is good. The sound mixing is also suitable for a PS2 game, and while their real voice actors don't voice the characters, they do at least a good job of imitating the authentic voices.

Now, I want to talk about what makes this game a time capsule for the early 2000s. The Ollieworld level has different ideas that were popular when the game emerged. In the level one mission, you have to collect ringtones from everyone's cell phones, and of course, I'm not talking about smartphones; I'm talking about phones with antennas, buttons, and a tiny screen. One of the sponsors on the level is Nokia, which is probably the perfect company for this type of phone and game. Another sponsor in the game is McDonalds, and one of the missions is that you must deliver everyone their orders. Your reward is a pair of Ronald McDonald clown shoes you can put on your skater. The amount of customization for your character also speaks to the early 2000s, with all the crazy things you can add.

Perhaps the soundtrack is the best thing I remember most about this game and why I think this game feels very early 2000s. Most Tony Hawk games have a usual rock soundtrack with different types of rock music. Because this is a Disney game, this soundtrack features many different genres, like pop rock, rap, and pop music. There are a ton of artists featured on this soundtrack; some of my favorite songs include "Grow Up" by Simple Plan, "Downfall" by Trustcompany, "We Are The Energy" by Audiovent, "Pacific Coast Party" by Smash Mouth, and "Spinning Around" by Jump 5, and "Live in Stereo" by Newsboys. There are also artists like Lil Romeo, Allister, Simon and Milo, Reel Big Fish, and Basement Jaxx. When I play this game, I always find a way to turn on/off the songs I want to get the best soundtrack, and I suggest that to get the best experience. Trust me, this soundtrack can bring people back to their childhood.

To sum up, Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is a really interesting skating game. If you have it somewhere and haven't played it for a while, please do. A skateboarding game with good controls, good level design, and a soundtrack that takes you back should pique your interest if you like nostalgic games like me.