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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Just when you thought Tony Hawk couldn't look any better on the Game Boy Advance, the bar just got raised. Developers Vicarious Visions have crammed even more detail into their skaters, backgrounds and level designs in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 than ever before, and we're thankful. Clever new touches accentuate each skate arena; skaters reflect a bright red glow as they glide past pools of molten steel in the Foundry, and Bluntside grinds kick up sparks on Suburbia's fence rails. Too cool.

Sound and music have gotten a nudge up, as well. Several more realistic effects from the console versions have been tossed into the newest portable incarnation, while the digital composers at Shin'en have cooked up an entirely new selection of crystal clear rock/funk tunes to nod to whilst Nosestalling. It's nothing you'll record to minidisc for future listening, but hey, it gets the job done.


Everyone should know how the Tony Hawk series works by now. In this version, players must tackle nine varying goals per level while searching for new decks and stat points for upgrading your techniques. Unlike its predecessor, THPS3 throws in a few people walking around in most levels to either get in the way of things, or interact with players for the completion of certain goals; oddly enough, the PlayStation edition couldn't handle this feature. To give replay value an extra kick, each type of skater has specific goals that change once the game has been beaten, and (as always) tons of secrets can be unlocked with every character. It'll be a while before you get sick of this one, folks.

But what really sets THPS3 apart from the first GBA release? Yep, you guessed it. The one feature gamers sorely missed in THPS2: multiplayer modes! At last, you and up to three other buddies can bust out the skillz in Trick Attack, Tag, HORSE and King of the Hill with a few link cables, anytime, anywhere. Add this to the unique Revert trick (a technique that chains grab/flip air tricks with ground moves after a landing) and you've got yourself a brand new handheld Hawk experience.


Probably the toughest part about THPS3 lies in its pesky isometric camera view. While the game itself looks great, the perspective makes certain items or areas hard to discern at times, even with shadows dropping on the floor below to provide scale. Some of the level goals are jaw-clenchingly difficult to complete as well, but that's really nothing new to the series. And while there aren't any difficulty settings provided in the Options menu, Kid Mode is available for those scrubs who can't stand bailing nonstop (although it'll earn you an unhappy face on the board for 'cheating').

Game Mechanics:

Tony Hawk 3's controls flow just like butter, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. With a nearly non-existent learning curve and an alarmingly user-friendly interface, this is one of the easiest GBA titles for pick-up-and-go gameplay, far surpassing its prequel while maintaining every quality that made this series into the phenomenal institution that it is today.

If you're itchin' for some extreme sports goodness on your Game Boy Advance, look no further. You should be quite familiar with the addiction factor that comes with the territory if you played the first one at all, so go out, buy Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and get hooked all over again. No helmet required.

-Ben Monkey, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ben Lewis

Nintendo GameBoy Advance Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Nintendo GameBoy Advance X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated