I just don't see enough of a change from THPS2 to say that THPS3 is a
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Pro Skater 3
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
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
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.