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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Neversoft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

April 2002

 

 

- Same wicked gameplay

- New tricks

- Tons of replay value

- Perfecting upon perfection

 

 

- Same wickedly annoying camera

- Will be a bit choppy on Geforce2 and older systems

- Some minor clipping glitches

 

 

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Gamecube 2)

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

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (Playstation 2)

 

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Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 3

Score: 8.5 / 10

My thumbs hurt.  My advice is to stop reading this review now if youíre considering buying this game.  You should take the time to have a good heart to heart chat with your gamepad before reading further.  Make sure it is willing to be nice and put up with long hours of your hands massaging itís buttons.  Mine wasnít so nice to me, so I have to put up with its rough riding.  And, two, because if youíre even thinking about buying this game, and you liked Tony Hawk 1 or 2, then you should stop procrastinating and go out and get this excellent third installment.

tony-hawk-3-1.jpg (72561 bytes)          tony-hawk-3-2.jpg (68134 bytes)

If this is your first time in getting to know a Tony Hawk Pro Skater (THPS) game intimately, donít be intimidated.  Youíll find that it will be gentle with you and your relationship with it will be extremely rewarding.  Youíll find yourself, thinking about it during and the day, and wanting to spend more time with it.  Maybe even one day, dare I say it, you will fall in love with THPS3.

If youíre not a fan of extreme sports, or skateboarding, this game is still for you.  This game is for anybody who likes video games.  It is that rare breed of game that completely transcends its content to appeal to a wide audience due to its superb gameplay.  If you are new to THPS, there is now, even a tutorial to help you out so no one should feel left out.  The meat of the single player game is in the career 

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mode.  Here, you will have the choice of 13 pro skaters, and the ability to create your own custom skater.  The custom skater mode has been improved over THPS2 as you are able to customize almost everything about the appearance and skating style of your skater.

After choosing your skater, you will begin the Foundry level.  There are eight levels, initially to unlock, with more ready 

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made parks available in the custom park mode.  In each level, the idea is to perform various tricks on your surrounding terrain to accumulate points.  There are also level goals to perform, such as the collecting of S-K-A-T-E like in THPS2, performing specific tasks, and performing specific tricks.

In order to get the highest points, players will have to link tricks together using manuals (like a wheelie) on flat ground, or using the new revert trick (essentially a quick switching of sides during the landing) to link half-pipe vert tricks to flat ground tricks.  This new addition is implemented by allowing players to perform a revert when landing a vert trick by pressing the switch, or nollie/fakie button.  After performing a revert, players can quickly go into a manual to link together vert tricks with their other tricks.  The revert is a neat idea and is a good way of tying in the street with the ramp.  I found THPS3 to be bit tougher than number two as the variety of linked tricks had to cross the realm of street and vert in order to score any respectable points.

This is probably the biggest change in the mechanics of the game.  The rest of the basic gameplay is essentially intact.  There are new tricks to try out, and new specials to check out too.  For you uninitiated, specials are tricks that can only be performed when a metre that measures the number of tricks you land without falling fills up.  When it is full or near full, you will be able to pull of crazier tricks, go faster, and ollie (jump) higher.  When performing grinds (sliding along a handrail or edge), manuals, and lip tricks (holding a stationary position for as long as possible on the edge of a half-pipe) there is now a metre that indicates your balance.  Fine adjustments are made by tapping the direction you do not want to lean in and your skater will twist and bob and squirm as he/she tries to maintain their balance for as long as possible.

tony-hawk-3-3.jpg (56904 bytes)         tony-hawk-3-4.jpg (64926 bytes)

The graphics have been improved, as was to be expected, over THPS2, and there are a new variety of bails (when your skater falls down) to witness.  There are also animated characters that are a part of the different levels, some of whom will be essential to completing your goals.  Money is no longer won and used to by stats and tricks or to unlock levels.  Levels are now locked according to the number of goals completed.  Stat points (points that are used to improve your skaterís speed, jumping height, and balance) are collected within each level and stats can now be adjusted up and down to the base initial level.  All tricks are now available off the bat and can be customized to specific controller settings.

With the great graphics, come the steeper requirements for best performance.  I ran the game on a top model machine about three years old, and the game ran a little choppy even with all of the goodies turned off.  However, the game was still in a completely playable capacity.  The biggest con in the THPS series is the camera.  At times, especially on bails and on vert tricks, the camera cannot decide what angle to take.  This can be extremely frustrating especially when the action is already a little choppy.  Also, at times, bailing or stopping in certain areas can cause some minor clipping errors, where your part of your skater will disappear into the terrain.

The music of THPS3 continues in the tradition of selecting very carefully a few catchy songs that arenít annoying to listen to over and over again.  The ambient sounds are also very good, but are a little limited as the sounds for different surfaces can be too similar.  The animated characters also say quite a bit, but can be a little annoying when playing the level for the 50th time.

The multiplayer mode and skate park editor round out the remaining goodies.  Even if you manage to unlock all the extra goodies such as hidden levels, characters, pro videos and hit all the gaps and goals, you can create new challenges for yourself in the skate park editor.  Here you can create your own custom parks.  The only drawback of the custom park is that it was obviously designed with a  controller in mind and doesnít take advantage of the mouse keyboard configuration which would have made selecting pieces and creating your own ultimate park much easier.

The multiplayer mode allows you to play online or over a LAN against up to eight other players.  There are eight game modes with different objectives, and each is worthwhile.  Connection is a cinch with the in game browser menu and lots of people playing online.  My only advice is to get good before you take it to the net if you want to make a dent in the online community.  Ever played against someone dominating in UT or Quake?  I played against someone who had 2 million points when I had 80,000, and Iím not a newcomer to the game.

THPS3 is an improvement over its predecessor and is maybe even more fun.  It has all the progression one would expect from number two and has managed to maintain its winning formula without coming off stale.  My last bit of advice, is to get a good gamepad.   THPS is one game where the mouse and keyboard isnít going to cut it.

- Mark Leung

(May 1, 2002)

 

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