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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 Review
PIII-400, 64MB RAM, 850MB HDD, 16MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Mar 28, 02 (released)
|» All About Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 on ActionTrip|
The injustice that had been done to PC players worldwide by the fact that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 never got published for the PC is now being corrected for the second time. Once again we are looking at a game which was primarily developed for the PS2 and ported to PC, Xbox and Gamecube a month or two later, but as it is the only title of the genre in quite some time; we'll just have to forgive them for this misdemeanor...
Are you ready to fly?
Dancing to James Brown music on your skateboard.
The first thing I have to say is: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 doesn't offer many novelties in comparison to the previous installment. Let's be fair: the game which is believed to be one of the most playable and catchy games over the last couple of years can hardly have too much room for improvement... so just get ready for another ride with the world's greatest skateboarders: Tony Hawk (a logical choice, you cannot argue with that), Chad Muska, Steve Caballero, Elissa Steamer, Jamie Thomas, Rodney Mullen, Eric Koston, Kareem Campbell, Andrew Reynolds, Rune Glifterg, Geoff Rowley and Bucky Lasek and Bam Margera (replacing Bob Burnquist).
This similarity to its predecessor and the lack of experimental novelties will please most players, if nothing else because of the fact that the game controls remained practically the same as in previous THPS games. If you are new to the serial, you first have to find your way around the twelve keys you have to use for controlling your in-game character. This can be a tedious and at times frustrating experience, especially if you happen to be practicing with the notorious "locked" boards and tracks, but believe me, once you get used to the controls, you will see how intuitive they are... and when I put my mind to it, would it be fair to overly simplify things which are so difficult to accomplish in real life? If you played the previous THPS games I have to tell you that there is one major novelty concerning the control method - revert. Pressing a defined key when you land from a vert trick, you perform 'revert' - a 180 degree turn, which as a result gives you a slim chance of chaining vert with manual (also a trick), and a few other tricks as well. I don't now how many of you understood this, but believe me that it can be very useful, and it can drastically increase your score. There are a couple of other minor changes in the control system (performing double and triple flips is now far easier).
Single player modes (if you can call them that) include the career mod, free skate and single session. The latter two are completely useless, as you can get all the fun this game has to offer from the career mode. Get prepared for the traditional gathering of the S-K-A-T-E letters and stat points (and forget about collecting green bills) and completing interesting assignments. Mission goals are humorous and really witty, and they were the ones that made me play the game only so that I could see what will happen on the next level. I was rolling with laughter whilst fighting the Vampire of suburbia, rushing through the castle or helping a guy whose tongue got stuck to a lamp-post, etc.
Watch out, it could be slippery.
This neat trick never fails!
As for the technical aspect of the game, it seems that THPS3 uses an advanced version of the old engine. Unlike the second part, which was obviously a console port (poor resolution, menus and level design), this game looks like a complete PC product. This doesn't mean that it has anything new or spectacular to offer, but at least it is not a disgrace to the PC gamers. The tracks look bigger, more detailed and with better models. Character animations are practically the same as they used to be.
The sound and music are really something worth hearing. All extreme-sports simulations are bound to have a good energetic soundtrack which will help to keep your adrenalin going. I was pleasantly surprised when I first started the game and heard Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" accompanying the intro sequence! And then I realized that the rest of the tracks don't fall far behind this one - Red Hot Chili Peppers, Henry Rollins, Ramones, a couple of rap and punk songs and Reverend Horton Heat. Some will probably say that there should have been more authentic underground skate-punk bands, but it is my humble opinion that Activision made an excellent if not best possible soundtrack for the game. The 96kbps compression rate offers high quality sound. The sound effects are brilliant: every type of surface has a different noise it makes as the skateboard rolls on it, and the atmosphere is full of ambient noise and background conversation.
Finally, I have to say something about the multiplayer mode, which had been given a lot of attention in the previews. Thanks to Gearbox (who did the PC port) had been done better on PC than on other platforms. Apart from the network play, the PC version features Internet play with up to eight players per game. Multiplayer mode features the old Trick Attack, Graffiti, Free Skate and similar modes, as well as the new mods including: Control the Zone (team-based fight in which you have to control the keys of the level), Capture the Flag (you can guess what this is) and Keep Away (you have to get the ball and hold onto it as long as possible, while performing tricks). If you have competitive spirit, you will have a lot of fun with this mode, but I decided that I still prefer the single player mode.
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 is a game that will keep you glued to your screens if you ever had had the hots for arcade games or skateboarding. The incredible playability, loads of details and hidden features on each level, twenty good songs, a lot of movies about each rider in the game and the level editor really make this CD worth having. Editor's choice, of course...
8.8 Very Good
Great gameplay, music and internet play. Just like in previous installments;
Maybe a bit too hard for the beginners. Not a lot of innovation over the previous two installments.
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