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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Review By:  Nick Arvites

Developer:   Neversoft
Publisher:   Activision O2
# of Players:   1-4
Genre:   Extreme Sports
ESRB:   Teen
Online:   No
Accessories:   HDD (saves, custom soundtrack)
Date Posted:  

4-23-02

A few years ago, Activision published a skateboarding game that took the world by storm. Before the Tony Hawk series, skateboarding games were hard to play and only sold to a small audience. The Tony Hawk series combined an easy control scheme, excellent courses and camera views and mindless yet addictive gameplay. Needless to say this series became a smash hit and continues on the next generation of consoles. The X-box gamers out there had to wait for Tony Hawk 3 while Gamecube and PS2 gamers could get a copy last fall. Was the Xbox copy worth the wait? The answer to this question really comes down to how much you like the series.

Graphically, the game has improved since the last generation. The stages and the skaters are done well, although they still have a kind of "realistic cartoonish" look to them. This is not a major problem to a good 99% of the people out there mainly because this game is about gameplay and it looks good enough. While the graphical capabilities of this game certainly are not groundbreaking or earth shattering, they look good enough to pass as a next-gen title and do not ruin the gameplay.

Gameplay has always been the top strength of the Tony Hawk series. The third installment of the Tony Hawk series adds a few improvements to the proven style of gameplay. First and foremost is the addition of "reverts." Reverts are to vert tricks as manuals are to grinds. Hitting a revert after a big-air trick adds another score multiplier and the trick can be linked to a manual to make an even longer trick. The level goals are initially more difficult than the ones seen in the previous games and some of the goals on each level change with various skaters. However, the goals in career mode get extremely repetitive after the game is beaten several times. Hopefully they work on this issue with the next game. Level size is also much larger than anything that was seen in the previous games. Players can do tricks on almost anything present in the levels. The control scheme has not changed either. It is still the same basic control scheme, although it has transferred to the X-box controllerís layout.

The create-a-skater and the Skatepark editors were improved with Tony Hawk 3. One of the glaring problems with the create-a-skater in Tony Hawk 2 was the lack of the ability to create a female skater. Also, more clothes and accessories were added to the feature. The skatepark editor has been improved. There are larger base sets to work with and more items to place around the park. Granted, it is hard to place everything at first, so do not expect to make a professional level park on the first try.

Music has always been a strong point in the Tony Hawk series. This version follows suit and has tracks from artists like Xzibit, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Henry Rollins, and the Ramones. Some people (like myself) can find themselves getting sick of a pre-set soundtrack to a game as addictive and repetitive as Tony Hawk 3. Luckily, the X-box version of the game does something the Gamecube and PS2 version cannot: it allows custom soundtracks on the hard drive. Even if you hate every single artist on the soundtrack, you can set your favorite tracks and listen to them as you play.

The main problem the Xbox version of Tony Hawk 3 had was the time it took to get released on the system. Tony Hawk 3 was an early title for the GameCube and the PS2 version also hit stores last fall. The Xbox version was not released until March of 2002. Was it really worth the wait? Not if you bought it on another system. The one interesting note was the inclusion of a new stage. The Oil Rig is the largest Tony Hawk stage to date and basically gives the public a sneak preview of what the 4th game holds in store for us. The Oil Rig stage should warrant gamers to take a look at this version of the game simply because it is massive. It makes even the largest stage present in Tony Hawk 3 seem like the size of a cardboard box.

Highs:

  • Stages
  • Improved Create-a-skater and Skatepark editor
  • Oil Rig stage
  • Soundtrack and ability to make a custom soundtrack

Lows:

  • Either love it or hate it
  • Delayed too long
  • Repetitive

Final Verdict: 

This installment of the Tony Hawk series is up to code and manages to deliver a few improvements to the proven gameplay method. Was this game worth waiting for? I didnít think so. For an extra six months, more than one new stage should have been added. However, even if you do own this game, the Oil Rig stage makes it worth a rental even if it is just to see how Tony Hawk 4 will be.

Overall Score: 8.5

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