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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Neversoft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

 

- Great level design

- Same great Tony Hawk game play

- Inclusion of old school, Classic game play

 

 

- Lame, Jackass-style plot

- Nothing truly new and innovative

- Slowdown on larger levels

 

 

Review: Tony Hawk's Underground (GC)

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (GC)

 

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Tony Hawk's Underground 2

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

The first Tony Hawk's Underground radically changed the familiar formula of the incredibly popular series.  The game took what had been the prototypical extreme-sports game and turned it into a kind of skate punk Grand Theft Auto.  I found the game to be innovative and fun, but many lamented the lack of pure THPS gameplay.  THUG 2 doesn't change much about the first game, but it does add the option to play the game in Classic style, which is just THPS in its full S-K-A-T-E collecting, tape-finding glory.  The game even gives players an opportunity to re-visit some of the classic THPS levels and see what damage can be done with the new moves added to the series recently (the answer, lots of ridiculously high-scoring combos).

 

thug 2 review          thug 2 review

 

The first THUG had players lifting a newcomer through the ranks as famous skaters gave him or her advice or provided competition.  THUG 2 has a completely new plot, this one involving the World Destruction Tour as it travels from city to city across the world seeing just how much damage it can cause.  This plot is far less compelling than the rags-to-riches plot of the original THUG and will really appeal only to people who think Jackass is great entertainment.  Still, the plot aside, story mode offers some cool scripted destruction as players interact with various environmental objects. 

 

For me, the classic mode is where it's at this year.  The two-minute timer, three levels of scoring goals, finding the best, most productive path through a level, all of the stuff that made THPS great, are back again, and they are as fast and smooth and addictive as ever.  There are a number of new moves in THUG 2, but none of them really change the game like the manual or walking did earlier.  The Sticker Slap, which is simply an improved wall plant, is the best of the new moves, though the added ability to freestyle back and front flips is also appealing.

 

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- GameCube Game Reviews

- Sports Game Reviews

- Reviews of Games Developed by Neversoft

- Reviews of Games Published by Activision

The level choices in Classic mode include a few familiar favorites from earlier games and, in a nice touch, the recent new moves, particularly walking, the manual, and revert that have allowed longer linked combos can be turned off in the options menu if they make the old level less challenging (which they do).

 

The levels in Story mode are some of the best the series has seen, and the fact is level design is something the THPS series has done 

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incredibly well over the years.  Here, the levels are just huge with an amazing number of different trick intensive areas and lots of interactive environmental objects.  Many of these objects cause destruction of parts of the city, which opens up new areas to explore.  Some extreme games of the past, including the THPS games, have made use of morphing levels, but never to the extent seen here.

 

thug 2 review          thug 2 review

 

There are a few problems inherent with the Gamecube version that suggest multi-console gamers should get another version instead.  I guess it is not fair to lament the lack of online play, but certainly the handful of split-screen multiplayer games pales in comparison to the online goodness that Xbox and PS2 owners get.  I got used to playing the THPS games online with the PS2 and I really miss it here, which means the replay value takes a hit.  Still, that isn't Neversoft's fault certainly.  Also, as always, the controls are designed for the Dual Shock 2 and translate poorly to the Gamecube's controller.  Graphically, however, the Gamecube version is much sharper that the PS2 version and about on par with the Xbox version in normal mode.

 

Players who enjoyed THUG should enjoy THUG 2.  The days when the new Tony Hawk games were one of the highlights of the year are gone, but THUG 2 still offers plenty of joy for gamers that haven't left the genre behind.

 

- Tolen Dante

(December 5, 2004)

 

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