Review: Tony Hawk’s Underground

Review: Tony Hawk’s Underground

The game is changed, once again! Did they create yet another masterpiece, or did the series start to crack? Read on to find out!

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Year: 2003

Played on: Gamecube, Xbox

Also on: PS2, GBA, PC

Developer: Neversoft

Publisher: Activision

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Straight from the Underground

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Date posted: February 5, 2018

xbox_tony_hawk_underground-110214

PREMISE

Damn it! How did they do it? How did they keep making such fresh content year after year- something the Call of Duty franchise has been struggling to do for years? Once again, Neversoft changed the game for the 153,464st time, and yes, they made everything better- AGAIN!

Released a mere year after THPS4, Tony Hawk’s Underground would, like always, become a runaway hit, and like I said for the millionth time over the course of this event, change the series for the better!

THUG, as it is affectionately known as, is the first Tony Hawk game to have an actual story line to it- before, you were just skating around the world, trying to become the best. Here, you start as your own character, trying to get out of his sh@#hole of a town in order to go pro, facing many obstacles, most notably Eric Sparrow- histories greatest villain behind Hitler and Gandhi. What? Why are you looking at me like that? Anyone who’s played Civilization know’s Gandhi’s destructive power!

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Does this look like “peaceful protest” to you?

Anyway, Neversoft shook things up, yet again! A ton of new features, not to mention a change in tone, make THUG, yet again, stand out not only from other skateboarding games, but the “Pro Skater” series itself- it really did take the series into a bold new direction- for better, and for worse (but thankfully, more for the former).

PROS

Building off the greatness that is THPS 4, Underground goes even further beyond! First off, are the new mechanics, which changed the game once again (I counted. This is the 328,954,689th time I said this over the course of this event). The biggest one being the ability to actually get off the board- a literal game changer! You jump, run, and climb obstacles and buildings in order to find that sweet skating spot you always wanted. Not only that, but now there is new vehicles to control, including cars and such. Wallplants, Acid Drops, Hip Transfers, and double tap grinds are also new editions, and as you could probably guess, gave way to even more insane combos and lines.

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Though rough around the edges, the ability to get off your board was a pretty cool feature.

Like I said earlier, this was the first TH game to have an actual story, and it’s really not that bad, to be honest (especially compared to the “stories” of future games in the series. We’ll get there soon- trust me!) You play as a small-time skate boarder with almost nothing to his name, who dreams of leaving his small New Jersey s@#thole in order to become pro. Wacky hi-jenks ensue, and he soon find himself touring all over the world, unknowing the evil that lurks here…. The game does a good job of progressing the story, as their is a lot of variety of goals to do, which range from getting high scores, to a stealth mission of all things. I admit- I miss the “classic” style by this point, but this is quite decent!

Once again (once again, I use once again) the levels are fantastic, and actually have some of the best variety that the series has to offer. Starting in New Jersey (no comment), you soon find yourself in Manhattan, which is full of life and is robust, to Tampa Bay, which provides a lot of variety, including an entire indoor skatepark, and friggin Hawaii. I’m a sucker for city levels- which most of these are. Maybe that why I like the levels here- or maybe its because they have a lot of variety and the right size. I mean, they made Vancouver fun. Vancouver. The most boring city in the world. Fight me, eh, you damn moose eaters! You can also unlock some levels from THPS 2- a nice bonus!

xX8TIH5
Oh, and you go to a KISS concert in Australia. Probably should have mentioned that!

Create-a-skater and park are back, along with other creation modes, which add even more to the replayabilty. This game marked crazy additions to the create-a-skater- for example, you can make a skeleton man, if you want. Pretty cool! They also added a create-a-goal, which lets you make your own classic style goals! Very cool! Very very cool!

Yes, yes- you can unlock some cool skaters! This time, you can unlock freaking Iron Man, before he got his movie. You can also unlock mother f@#king Gene Simmons. That’s right- the leader of KISS is playable! You can also unlock some swamp monster. Weird, but still pretty cool!

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It’s Iron Man! Not pictured: His crippling alcoholism!

Am going to say it, and I know I’m going to get flak for this, but I don’t remember the songs all that much for this game, even after loading it up. Before you say anything, just keep in mind- the games has over 72 songs! That almost 5 times the songs that were on the THPS 2 soundtrack! I mean, there has to be some good songs on their- KISS, Jane’s Addiction, Sublime, Queen’s of the Stoneage, and many others are all featured- I bet if I heard some songs from the ST I would recognize them- I just can’t think of many right now…

CONS

I’m just going to say it! The soundtrack might be too big! Does a game need 72 songs? Other THPS games got along with a fraction of that- not saying the soundtrack is bad, just saying that maybe they should have dialed if back a bit.

I’m mixed with the off board and driving controls. It feels really stiffed and delayed- it’s still a cool feature- don’t get me wrong- but it was obvious that it was still rough around the edges. Thankfully, the next few games made it better- by how much, well- you’ll see. As for driving- I’m just going to say it. Unless these vehicles can grind and jump (like those in THUG 2) then they don’t need to be in the game. It’s just a distraction- focus on the skating!

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No, I said Tony Hawk’s Underground! Not Need for Speed Under- oh….

I think the removal of classic features like collecting skate letters bummed me out a bit. However, this would not last long, as THUG 2 remedies this from the get go! This is the only game in the series that lacked “classic” elements. Not to big a deal, but veterans like me will notice it.

-Portlandia-

This one is going to be short as f@#k, as THUG only has like five releases. Here you go.

Xbox, Gamecube, PS2- Once again, the same, pretty much. I forgot to mention that Xbox techincally has the upper hand, because it supports custom soundtracks for most THPS games. It was a powerhouse, after all…

PC- I would talk about this one- but it was only released in Australia! What!?

GBA- It’s by Vicarious Visions. Take a wild guess at it’s quality….

Breakdown, breakdown (Listen!)

Clear Winners– Xbox, Gamecube, PS2

Alright– GBA

WTF?– PC (Again, don’t know if it’s any good. I think it was good for speedrunning the game? Don’t know.)

FINAL VERDICT

THUG took the series in yet another new direction, and yet again, did everything it did very well. I want to say it was the last great TH game, but I have some things to talk about in my next review, when we look at one of my most personal favorite game in the series- one that a lot of people will disagree with me on…

6score

Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!

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