THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation)
THPS 3 (Playstation)

 

"Personally, I just don't see enough of a change from THPS2 to say that THPS3 is a must buy."

THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation) THPS 3 (Playstation)

THPS 3 (Playstation)

 

THPS 3 (Playstation)
 

THPS 3 (Playstation)

 
 

 

Platform: Playstation

Genre: Sports

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Neversoft

ESRB: E (Everyone)

Released: Q4 2001

 

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

 

thps-3-psone-1.jpg (10017 bytes)          thps-3-psone-2.jpg (12861 bytes)

 

One day two summers ago I felt the urge to get a skateboarding game. My friends owned Tony Hawk Pro Skater for the N64 and they were describing to me in vast detail how great the game was. They were exclaiming how they had pulled off the, "Japan Air 720 as a Gap over the half-pipe" and so on and so on. I was pulled in by their propaganda and promptly purchased THPS 1 on the PSX. 

Ever since the day I have been hooked on this old-school extreme sport. The tricks, the grinding, and the huge levels to explore immediately grasped me. The following year Activision released THPS 2 and the game was praised as the ultimate sequel. The game improved upon the first game's deficiencies and added enough "spunk" to become another classic. So what about THPS 3, the sequel to the sequel if you will. Can it join its fellow brethren on the trophy case of elite games? 

First off, I will be reviewing and comparing the THPS3 to its predecessors on the Dreamcast and on the PSOne. To compare it to THPS3 on the PS2 would be unfair and there would be no comparison. 

This great series has always had its bread and butter lay within the gameplay department. The ability to flawlessly and smoothly execute grinds and vert tricks makes the game so addicting. I know the remark sounds clichéd, but as you progress and improve as you play the game you can actually map out your tricks like a real-life skateboarder. THPS3 holds up this rich tradition. Although Activision handed over the game creation to another company to concentrate on the PS2 version, the game plays very closely to THPS2 and THPS. Fans of the first two games will immediately pick up on the controls and the timing. 

The game's new toy is the "revert". In a nutshell, revert now allows you to link your vert tricks to a manual and then to another vert to sustain a combo. This really helps out when you are going for the high scores and you aren't very good at grinding. But for those who have had troubles in the past grinding (I was VERY guilty of that), the process is made much easier in THPS3. While grinding you are now given a gauge that tells you what direction you are leaning. Those two new features listed above, really allow the lesser skilled Tony Hawk gamer to have a chance to rack up those 200,000 point runs. 

The graphics from THPS 2 to THPS 3 are about the same. I did not think that the visuals for THPS 2 were not all that bad, considering the specs of the PSOne and I am not complaining about the graphics in this game. The player models are very detailed for a PSOne game and so too are the boards they are riding on. But what I enjoy most about the graphics is the level design. I just love how you are able to take the atmosphere in. You are engulfed in your environment from the first level, the Foundry until Tokyo. Each level has its own feel to it and you can interact (most times you MUST interact) with just about everything in the level. 

One thing that has been a gripe over the years about the Tony Hawk series has been the lack of injuries to the skateboarders. Many times when you "bail" or peel out, you will see blood spatter suggesting that you attained an injury. However, the skater leaves unscathed and continues on. I think many people would love to see the cut oozing blood, or the skateboarder limping after landing badly on an ankle or a knee. This would add more realism to the game and put more of an emphasis on not bailing and would even make the game more realistic. 

Tony Hawk features an enjoyable soundtrack featuring songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alien Ant Farm, and Redman. X-Games and skateboarding specifically grew up with the alternative, punk social group and the soundtrack does a great job of providing that "feel". The skateboarding sounds are also done very well. I watch skateboarding during the X-Games on ESPN and also try to catch Tony Hawk's skateboarding show and I think the sounds in the game are fairly realistic. 

There are 13 skateboarders to choose from, including old-timers like Geoff Rowley, Steve Caballero, and Kareem Campbell. There are also a few hidden characters you can unlock. There are eight game levels that you will have to unlock as you proceed in the Career Mode, which include levels in Los Angeles, Canada, and even Skater Island. To get those extra levels you have to complete a number of goals, such as getting S-K-A-T-E or completing a gap. In the process, you also pick up stat-builders that you can use to enhance your skating abilities. You will spend the bulk of your time making your way through Career Mode to unlock all the great levels in the game.

Brought back from THPS 2 is the Create-A-Skater and Skatepark Editor. I don't really get into creating my own skateparks, but I did find that the interface was very user friendly. The multiplayer mode hasn't changed much since the original THPS. You still have your Trick Attack, Graffiti, and Horse.

Overall I think that THPS3 is a great game and I would suggest that any hardcore THPS PSOne gamer go out and buy the game. I own both of the first games and before I got the game for review, I was eyeing the reviews and stores for information on the game (more so on the PS2, however). Let me put it this way. If you liked the first two games you will love this one. The graphics haven't been improved much, but the new revert ability and new levels may be enough to warrant a purchase from a hardcore THPS fan. 

If you aren't madly in love with the Tony Hawk series, I would suggest that you pick up THPS2 instead and save the money you would spend for THPS3 and start saving for a newer console. Personally, I just don't see enough of a change from THPS2 to say that THPS3 is a must buy. 

 

- Tim Martin

 
THPS 3 (Playstation)

 

 

THPS 3 (Playstation)