The player controls a skateboarder in Skate City. Play begins by selecting either beginner or experienced difficulty, then moves to the first Skate City session. By jumping and spinning over obstacles, our skater earns points which award park tickets at specific intervals. The player can earn as many points as possible until a timer expires, at which time an angry swarm of bees arrive and kill the skateboarder. To avoid the bees, the player must spend one ticket to enter one of four skate parks. In either the ramp, downhill, jump or slalom park the player must complete stunts to earn a bronze, silver or gold metal. Each metal comes with a certain amount of cash, which can be used in skate city to buy equipment upgrades to increase the skaterís performance. A complete game consists of 4 rounds of each of the 4 parks as well as a roughly 30 second session in Skate City in between each park visit. Completing all 16 Skate City and park sessions takes roughly 25 minutes. After completing the 16th park, the player's money is converted into points (10 points per $1) and the game ends.
INTRODUCTION: First my disclaimer: I am by no means the strategy expert on 720 degrees. This info is the culmination of my experience, tips Iíve received from site visitors, and research of other sites and the newsgroup archives. The strategy section is divided between the upgrades, city skating, and the four parks. One important point: I believe there are two different strategy sets based on the playerís ultimate objective. Whether the goal is highest possible points, or highest metal score effects strategy; these goals do not go hand-in-hand.
EQUIPMENT UPGRADES: At 4 shops throughout the city, the player may spend money earned in the parks to buy equipment upgrades to increase performance. Each upgrade can be purchased 3 times at increasing levels of performance. The level 1 upgrade of any item can be purchased any time; however, only one level 2 or 3 item may be purchased during a given Skate City session. Once a level 2 or 3 item is purchased, any store which sells those level items is closed until the next Skate City session. The upgrades start at $25 each and increase to $250 each as the player progresses through the game. Money left over when the game ends is converted to points. I played 720 for years always assuming that the goal was to get to the third level upgrade of all four items as quickly as possible. In fact, this strategy is optimal only if the goal is to score gold metals in all parks. If the goal is the highest possible score, purchasing all upgrades is not optimal. The equipment upgrades are as follows: (See the Skate City Map for locations)
With my standard equipment (1-2-1-3), Iíll usually try to alternate single and double spins as I move across level ground. Iíll spin twice when I jump from an incline onto ground that is level with the top of the incline, and three times when I jump from and incline and will land on ground lower that my start point. Only in a few instances in Skate City will I go for four spins, usually off of the ramps in the blue and yellow park. Iíll also spin three times when I am launched by a crack in the sidewalk. When jumping multiple times from the same surface, always alternate your number of spins to avoid diminishing returns from doing the same trick over and over. Keep in mind that it is possible to propel yourself by jumping at the exact moment you have landed from your prior jump. A good scoring run will kick as little as possible.
Skate City contains 4 mini-parks with various inclines and obstacles. In addition to providing opportunities for higher scoring jumps and spins, these areas include hidden points in specific areas. When the player skates over these areas a small blue flag pops up with the amount of bonus points awarded.
After roughly 30 seconds (on default settings) the timer expires and the player is told to ďSkate or DieĒ. The bees start off moving slowly, but very quickly become more aggressive until the player enters a park or is killed. They can be avoided by jumping and changing your movement angle. I find that if I turn right angles as sharp as possible without losing speed, I can put distance between myself and the bees. As a last resort, when the bees are about to catch me, Iíll often do as tight of a complete circle as I can (not a jumping 360, but skating around in a small circle) without losing speed. Often times the bees will shoot past you and actually put more distance between you and them, buying some additional time to get into a park.
The real key to a high scoring game is performance in Skate City. You must jump and spin constantly, find as many mini-park, blue-flag bonuses as possible, and push the scoring session as long as possible into the bees aggressive stage.
Ramp Park - I currently start off each ramp session with the Lip Trick described below. In lieu of this, start off tapping both buttons simultaneously. If done correctly, you will jump and launch off of the opposite lip from your start. Spin 3 times for max points. Except for that first jump, the key to higher scoring aerial tricks seem to be traversing (moving from left to right) rather than just launching straight up. I will try for four additional spinning airs before transitioning to the slide technique. For this phase, approach the lip of the ramp and as you fly out, turn the stick parallel to the lip and tap jump and kick simultaneously. You should get a 600 or 700 point air. After receiving the points, stop tapping buttons and hold the parallel orientation until you slide to a complete stop. The slide should net 800 points each. Repeat until time expires, alternating the direction and ramp-side to limit the diminishing returns on points.
Downhill Park - For a gold metal game, tap kick and try to move as fast as possible, staying on the inside edge of the ramps when you know the next turn direction. There is at least one shortcut in nearly all downhill parks that allows you to gain extra time by jumping between ramps. For a max points game, once youíre moving, jump and spin as often as possible as you move down the course. If you start to move too fast, slide to lower your speed allowing additional jumps before the end of the course. The goal is to reach the finish line just before the timer expires, having jumped as many times as possible. The real key is to always land with your board pointed the same way as it was when you left the previous ramp, and only make gradual adjustments to your direction when youíre safely rolling on one of the ramps.
Jump Park - The key to successful jumps is reading the diamond on the ramp. The size of the diamond indicates the distance you should jump and its position on the ramp is where you should line up for your approach. For a large diamond, jump from the very edge of the ramp and spin or 4 times if you have 3 helmets. For a medium diamond jump from just past the trough of the ramp on lower level parks, and from the very edge on later parks if you have not updated your board or shoes past level 1. Spin 3 times if you have level three helmet. For a small diamond, go off the ramp without jumping, and spin 2 times. For a slanted, or skewed diamond, just before jumping, adjust your trajectory so you point in the direction the lower edge of the diamond pointed.
Slalom Park - For a gold metal game, tap kick constantly as you move through the gates. The goal is to be able to turn sharp enough to make it through every gate without ever sliding. For a high scoring game, line up with the next gate as soon as possible, and jump and spin as often as possible. Manage your speed so that you cross the finish line just before the timer expires, after jumping as many times as possible.
Cheats & Glitches
Ramp Lip Trick - At the start of the ramp park, when you're still up on the platform, aim your skater directly at the left wall, like 10 o'clock on the joystick, you should be parallel to the coping. Kick one time so you're moving toward the wall, parallel to the coping, still up on the starting platform. You'll hit the wall and be going backwards on the starting platform. The instant after you hit the wall, angle your skater so that you are moving backwards, toward the coping at the most gradual angle possible, so you'll have moved the stick one 'click' clockwise, maybe to 11 o'clock. Just as the back of the board reaches the coping, move the stick back so you're parallel to the coping. If done correctly, you should do a backwards grind across the coping, racking up points very fast. The timer doesn't start until your skater touches the ramp area, so you'll have all the points to start. If done right, you can reach bronze with just this trick, all before officially starting the timer. You should angle the skater into the ramp just before you reach the far side, to avoid falling off the edge of the ramp, because you usually won't have enough time to get onto the ramp and start the timer, before receiving the penalty for not starting. EDIT (DEC-13) I've since seen mention of an updated Ramp Lip Trick here: Updated Ramp Lip Trick KLOV Post. I've been able to get this trick down about 50% of the time, where multiple (up to 3 for me) pre-start grinds are done. See my YouTube Channel for various videos of this.
Glitch - Exit Skate City: It is possible to get outside of Skate City by getting through the fence. I have personally done this two different ways. Jumping onto the sidewalk cracks results in the skater getting launched higher than the norm. If the trajectory is such that youíre aimed at the correct spot of fence, you will land outside. I have also happened to crash near a fence, and be pushed through, recovering on the other side. Unfortunately, I am usually only able to skate around for a short time, perhaps one minute, before being transported to some spot back inside the fence.
Glitch - Invisible Mode: Click for the page dedicated to this glitch which allows the skater to move freely through Skate city without ever being hit by the bees.
Glitch - No Park Ticket: Not a benefit, but if you manage to gain 4 tickets and reach the point total for the next ticket, no ticket is awarded. From a newsgroup article: Set the options to the easiest difficulty setting. Start a game on experienced level, do a few spins, buy some equipment, do more spins, go to the Ramp Park and accumulate lots of points (enough to get a Silver or Gold Medal preferred). Then, go back to the park area and do a lot of tricks. When you accumulate 15,000 points, you will not receive a fifth Park Ticket.
Helmet - Increases spin speed. The helmet is the most important upgrade. All three levels should always be purchased as soon as possible. More spinning means increased points in Skate City, higher metal score in the ramp and jump event, and increased incremental points during downhill and slalom parks. I purchase the helmet before each of the first 3 parks.
Shoes - Increases jump height. For a game centered on highest possible metal score, all three levels of shoes should be purchased. Higher jumping increases possible spins, which substantially increases scoring on the jump park and helps on score in the ramp park (although not necessary to gold all ramp parks). For a high metal scoring game, 3x shoes are almost certainly required for the later jump parks. There is still some debate on the very best number of shoes for a high scoring game. One theory is that for a high score focused game, purchase only the first level of shoes. Reason being that the increased time in the air reduces the total number of jumps that can be made during the time skate city sessions, decreasing overall score. Others believe that the greater jump-spin point values allowed by more shoes outweighs the additional time in the air, and possibly additional falls from being more out of control. I am currently skating with two shoes. I purchase the first level shoes before entering my first park, and the second level before entering my fourth park.
Pads - Decreases recovery time after crashes. This depends on the skill of the player. In theory, if the player is never going to crash no pads should be purchased. I always purchase only 1 round of pads, which seems to be a common consensus. I purchase the pads before entering my first park.
Board - Increases skate speed. Similar to the shoes; for a high metal score game all three levels should be purchased to ensure golds on the later slalom, downhill and jump parks. For a high score focused game, I purchase only the first level board. Again, the theory being that increased speed reduces the number of jumps and spins that can be done before the skate city timer is reached, ultimately reducing score. There is still some debate as to the effectiveness of the board. Some players believe it does very little, and should not be purchased at all. I currently purchase only one level of board, board before entering the second park (Downhill).
SUMMARY: I will usually go for 1 board, 2 shoes, 1 pads and 3 helmets. At the start of the game I purchase the first helmet, pads and shoes before entering the ramp park. After the ramp park Iíll purchase the second helmet and first board before entering the downhill park. After the downhill park Iíll purchase the third helmet and proceed to the jump park, after the jump park I purchase the second shoes and head to the slalom.
SKATE CITY: Between parks the player may skate around Skate City purchasing equipment and earning points. Higher points are awarded for additional spins in the air, or for jumping over water and bushes. Jumping while on an incline increases jump height which increases the jump base score, and allows more time for extra spins further increasing score.
PARKS: The parks are ranked in difficulty from class 1 to level 10 (denoted by a star). Since their are only 4 rounds, there are only 4 chances to visit each park. Obviously, not every level of park will be seen in any one complete game. Both the difficulty selected at the beginning of the game, and the order in which you visit parks dictates their level. The game defined park difficulty ranking is: (easiest to hardest) Slalom, Jump, Downhill, Ramp. as possible.
For additional strategies check out the following:
Twin Galaxies 720 Forum Post - A ton of information about the 720 world record, lots of stores of 720 gameplay, and plenty of strategy discussion. EDIT (DEC-13). Sadly as of now, the Twin Galaxies site has been take down, along with the forums and this great 720 post. I'm on the lookout for a mirror. EDIT (SEP-14) The post is back in action at Twin Galaxies new home.
Fast-forward to 1 minute into this video to see the Ramp Lip Trick:
Diminishing Returns & Backward Skating - Players will quickly notice that identical jump/spin combinations done in succession and on the same surface will award fewer and fewer points. This was undoubtedly build into the game to promote variation in numbers of spins and areas visited. This diminishing returns on points can be reset by alternating the numbers of spins, changing terrain (sidewalk, street, mini-park). An additional way to combat diminishing returns and increase overall scoring is by skating backwards. It is very easy to get into the habit of only skating forward and only doing 360s, 720s and 1080s. Getting used to rotating in 180s, 540s and 900s noticeably increases scoring, as these jumps are registered as different than the full spins, and often reset the diminishing returns on points. Also, in most cases like jumps are scored higher when moving backward than forward. In general, skating backward as often possible will lead to higher scoring games.
Pogo Jumping / Jump Propulsion - By timing sequential jumps, it is possible to propel your skater and never lose speed, without ever kicking. A high level 720 game should contain very little use of the kick button while moving through Skate City. If jump is pressed at the exact moment the skater lands from a previous jump, often the second jump will be higher than normal. It is occasionally possible to string together multiple instances of the extra high jumps into a ďpogo-jumpĒ session that allows for many extra spins, and propels the skater without kicking. It is also possible to propel the skater with normal jumps (i.e. non-pogo jumps where the skater reaches normal height). The key to this propulsion is the direction the skater is moving through Skate City. It is nearly impossible to propel your skater by jumping when moving due north or south, but very easy to propel your skater with jumps while skating East or West. I often find that the easiest angle to jump-propel your skater is just one click off of exactly horizontal (East/West). As a general rule, as long as your skater is pointed at the left or right side of the screen, not exactly aimed at the corners or top or bottom of the screen, properly timed sequential jumps should maintain speed.
The Killer Bees Bee Spawn Point - The primary thing to keep in mind regarding the bees is: Bees are generated offscreen behind you at the time the timer expires and the warning to ďSkate or DieĒ is given. This means that the skater should be pointed in the direction of the next park just as the timer expires, which will cause the bees to be generated as far from the park entrance as possible. Its fine, and often better, to be completely across Skate City from the next park, as long as the skater is pointed in the correct direction when the timer expires.
Bee Evasion - Once the bees are angry (in the shape of a hammer, jaws, hypodermic needle) and close to the skater, it is still possible to buy some extra time to reach the next park with some evasive skating. The technique is does not always work, and depends on the bees position and distance to the skater. Assuming the angry bees are trailing behind the skater, slightly to one side, if the sharpest possible turn without sliding is done in the direction away from the side the bees were traveling, and when the bees are no more that 5 or so ďgame-feetĒ away from the skater (very close) the bees will fly by the skater, actually increasing their distance. This can often be used when the next park entrance is just out of reach. Park Entrance Mat - Another different bee-evasion technique involves the entrance mat to each park; that is, the square with the arrows pointing to the park entrance. When the skater hits this mat, the bees automatically head away from the skater for a few seconds. If the skater does not enter the park immediately, the will turn back around and come again. There is usually time for one extra jump if the skater hit the mat and did not enter the park. This is most easily accomplished by aiming for the park operators booth, instead of the entrance fence.
Point Glitch: Occasionally an unreachable score will show up on the high score table. Occasionally this may be due to an extended session after the Invisible Mode - Bees Glitch. More likely though, it is due to a problem in the 720 high score save circuitry that causes one of the existing high score to be replaced with a random number, usually in the 6 million point range. This also effects the metal scores.On my 720 before I bought it the high score was over 6M, and the metal score was an impossible 511 as you can see here: My 720 High Scores When Purchased.
The Blue Flags - The blue bonus-point flags that pop up in the Skate City mini parks are still a mystery. I believe that one of the possible bridges between current top player scores and the world record may be an understanding of the reason that blue flags pop up. blue flags, or perhaps differences between early and later versions of the game software respective to the blue flags. Iíve experimented with blue flag placement at various points in the game, and not been able to determine any pattern to predict their location. While the flag locations seem to be fixed, whether or not they pop up during any give Skate City session is not consistent. For example, during the very first skate city session, you make skate to the nearest mini-park and hit a blue flag. If you were to start another game, and skate the exact path, in the exact same amount of time, the blue flag may, or may not appear. The question was recently posed to one of the 720 designers, who at least confirmed that blue flag appearance is not completely random. One theory is that skater performance effects the appearance of blue flags. It was suggested by Richie Knucklez that a good Skate City session is what may cause more flags to pop up. That is, if you do several quick jump/spins and rack up some good points before entering the mini-parks, the flags seemed plentiful. If you fall, or donít get off some good jump/spins, the flags seemed scarce. I did some more play keeping this in mind and it seemed accurate. When you jump almost constantly, and never fall, you seem to be rewarded with many blue flags. It also seems possible that performance in past parks, or even something related to the timer or scoring may effect the blue flag positioning and frequency. There is also some debate as to whether all blue flags are in every Skate City session, or if there is a full set for only each round of 4 parks (meaning that if you see a specific flag in a specific location, it will not reappear until all 4 parks are complete and youíve moved on to the next round). If you have any information or theories on the blue flag appearances, please contact me.
Hitting the Park Entrance Map Temporarily Makes the Bees Run Away:
An example of backwards, "Pogo-Jumping" propulsion
Timer Management - Through watching gameplay videos and paying careful attention to the timer, Iíve noticed that the Skate City timer is not always consistent. I believe this is related to skater performance, and that crashes actually make the timer jump forward a small amount. It is not much of a tip to say: ďDonít crash,Ē but it is worth keeping in mind when trying to balance risky paths and maneuvers with conservative, no mistakes skating. I often find that lots of smaller, lower risk jumps and paths lead to higher Skate City session totals, I believe at least partially related to maximizing the timer.