Review: Tony Hawk’s Underground 2

Review: Tony Hawk’s Underground 2

Beginning of the end? Or the highest peak? Let’s look at one the most decisive games in the series. Heaven or Hell- let’s rock!

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Year: 2004

Played on: PS2

Also on: Xbox, Gamecube, PC, GBA

Developer: Neversoft

Publisher: Activision

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What more can I say? Top Billin.

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Date posted: February 7, 2018

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PREMISE

This is it. This game is either considered, by you, the reader, to be the last great Tony Hawk game… or the one that began the long downward spiral that would lead to the worst game in the series- you know what I’m talking about….

When I review American Wasteland, I’ll go into even more detail. For now, just know that the cracks began to show in this entry- and arguably in THUG 1 as well. It was only a matter of time, sadly.

Doesn’t mean THUG 2 is bad though. Just means, well… to put it simply, we were at the peak- but now, it’s all downhill jam from here…

So after THUG, which once again, was both critically and commercially successful, yet another sequel was inevitable. So what to do now? How about a world tour! A world tour thats just f@#king insane, where you meet Benjamen Franklin, a voodoo priest, and destroy a bunch of s@#t. Yep- THUG 2 just went completely off the rails- no story about a struggle to top- just two teams just seeing how much s@#t they can fuck up. I’m champ1822, and welcome to Jackass: The official game.

PROS

All the mechanics, all the way from THPS1 to THUG are here, along with some new stuff, like the Natas Spin, which lets you spin on hydrants and poles and such. You can also do rolls and backflips, where are fun to pull off. That’s about it, though. Yeah, you can kinda see why this is the stopping point for a lot of fans- that’s if didn’t stop at THUG. It’s okay, though, as the insane amount of content within more then makes up for it. Oh, and you can freak out- you mash buttons, to fill a meter, then unleash your rage. Yep.

Like I mentioned before, the game has a story, and  it seems lifted right from MTV’s Viva La Bam (who is the main antagonist, believe it or not!) It’s about Bam Magera vs. Tony Hawk in a huge world tour, where each team will have to do some crazy stunts and what not, with the loser paying for all the damages done during said tour. No rivalry. No becoming the top skater. Just doing a lot of crazy s@#t. As I’ll mention in the cons, this was the biggest complaint about the game. Me? I liked it- then again, I watched Jackass and Viva La Bam all the time, just like every other teenager in the mid 2000’s.

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There’s also a bunch of vehicles that are just insane. And Jesse James. What ever happened to Monster Garage anyway?

Throughout this story, you’ll do all sorts of crazy things- and sometimes, you don’t have to talk to someone to trigger the goal. That’s right- there are goals you can just “do”. It’s easier if you just play the game, then for me to explain it. The variety of crazy s@#t the game makes you do really adds to it- even though you might question why your doing all this stuff.

The good stuff lies in the levels themselves, as their just as good as they ever were, with a lot of more “exotic” locales that are not just “Generic Skaterpark, USA” or “Every City Ever”. You have Barcelona, which feels big due to that awesome bridge, and Boston, which feels like a quintessential TH level. One of my favorite’s was New Orleans, which, of course, is in the middle of celebrating Mardi Gras. You also have Skatopia, which feels like the TH version of Outer Heaven- a place for skaters who don’t know how to live normal lives…. The cool part about these levels (in story mode, at least)? Day to night cycle. Okay, so THUG had it too- kinda. Here, though, it’s a true day to night cycle. Why aren’t day to night cycles required in all games?

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Yes, the game has a voodoo priest riding an electronic tricycle. You didn’t think this game was about skateboarding, did you? 

The biggest new feature, and one that makes the game overall worth it, is Classic Mode- which plays just like THPS 1-3- you have a huge set of goals to complete in 2 minutes, like always. Not only do you play though all the story levels here, but you can actually unlock a host of classic levels! Airport, Canada, and LA from THPS3! Downhill Jam and School from THPS1! Philly from THPS 2! Not only this, but you can unlock new characters and a new stage, called The Triangle from playing this mode!This just ties the game together, and makes it a must own for TH fans!

The “Create-A” modes have been improved as well! In fact, this TH is the one I spent most of my time in the Create-a-park mode rather then anything else- there’s just so many things you can do with it. Add to this the ability to put goals in created parks, and you have something that can be played for infinity- but just wait until you here about THUG pro….

Create-a-skater is back, and now has a ton of options. You can now make your guy, or girl, look like alien, sasquatch, or even a frigging robot! Me? I just make Mario and Luigi. Yeah, I know- I have no creativity…

Of course, I have to talk about the unlockable characters- which, now, Neversoft has taken to 11! I swear to god, this list is NOT made up, or is the list for THUG Pro. This is an actual list of characters you can unlock. I am not kidding!

  • Shrek (Yes. That Shrek)
  • A soldier from Call of Duty
  • The Hand (A frickin severed hand!)
  • Jesse James from Monster Garage
  • Ben Franklin
  • Steve-O from Jackass
  • Phil Margera (Bam Margera’s Dad)
  • A PS1 version of Tony Hawk
  • and many, many more!

This is the most insane lineup since Fighters Megamix (which had the f@#king car from Daytona USA!) This might make the game worth it alone!

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After this game, the series overall was ogre. Sorry, you knew I had to make an ogre joke. That or an All-star. Ah, just go and get this game! Go play! And remember- all that glitters is gold!

Finally the soundtrack. Not kidding- I played THUG 2 so much, I know every song by heart no joke. Here are some excerpts, completely by memory-

IT TAKES MY PAIN AWAY!

BLACK LABEL!

LIBERATE YOUR MIND! THIS TIME!

I FELL INTO A BURNING RING OF FIRE!

BREAK ON TO THROUGH THE OTHER SIDE!

ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL!

See? Me having a mental breakdown proves that this has a great soundtrack!

CONS

Lets just talk about it. The elephant in the room. Yes, THUG 2 humor and style matches that with the popular MTV shows at the time, namely Jackass and Viva La Bam, the latter not surprising anyone. The game is full of toilet humor, from bird s@#t to dog s@#t, and is crass is all hell. The plot is insane, and I like it, actually. The game just does not give a f@#k about logic, it seems, and has to be seen to believed. Some people liked the middle-school humor and inane story, but I thought it was fine. Use this to your own discretion…

I remember some of the goals being ridiculously hard on Sick difficulty. Those f@#king beatboxes are impossible, I swear! Just is just no way to do such complex tricks to a beat. God, it sucks not having rhythm!

I’m just going to come straight out with it- I have a bias with this game…. because it was my second TH game after 2. That’s right! This is why these reviews had been so weird- I played the series out of order! Do yourself a favor- play the games in order! Once you play the THUG games, I feel like the older games become harder to go back to. Fair warning! (Unless that game is THPS 5. Man, that review’s going to be good- trust me!)

Finally, they made Bam Margera look like a hobo. Don’t know why!

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See? What happened? Real talk: I actually hope for the best for the Margera family. RIP Ryan Dunn- Jackass won’t be the same without you, man.

-Portlandia-

This one is actually special, as it has the mother of all ports, for one, good, and obvious reason….

Xbox, PS2, Gamecube- Pretty much identical. I think the Xbox version was forward compatible with the Xbox 360, which is pretty cool. Yes, the gamecube version works. Geez!

PC- Here we go. Now, I’m not sure if this version is perfect, but it has one of the largest modding scenes compared to any and all of the TH games. The biggest most notable one is THUG pro, which adds a bunch of levels from TH games past, as well as a bunch of other features, and is still being played on line today.

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GBA- Made by Vicarious Visions. Have to see if most of these are good, to be honest. I played THPS 2 and 3 on the GBA and there quite sick.

PSP- Now here’s a cool port- I think. It adds some new levels, but omits things like Create-a-park. Defiantly worth checking out (I think)!

Here’s a list

Clear Winner– PC

Good– Xbox, PS2, Gamecube

Alright– PSP, GBA

FINAL VERDICT

For what it’s worth, I consider THUG 2 to be the last great Tony Hawk game. This does not automatically mean I’m counting AW, P8, or PG out- it just means that I like THUG 2 over them. I’ll go over AW and PG- and then we’ll come face to face with the game that killed Tony Hawk. Other then that, yeah, I recommend it, especially if your’re like me and watched Viva La Bam and MTV during the mid 2000’s- oh, and if you like Tony Hawk. Yeah, that’s important too.

6score

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

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