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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2 (2 - 4 w/ System Link)
Genre: Sports


Graphics & Sound:

Taking complete control over the Xbox hardware, Tony Hawk comes to life in the third installment in the Pro Skater series. The environments in the game are lush with vibrant colors and have many tools to trick from. But probably the most important thing in any Xtreme sports game is the framerate. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 plays as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Undoubtedly, one of the key features in the Pro Skater franchise has been its incredible selection of music, stemming from actual "brand name" bands. TH3 is not only loaded with groups like Alien Ant Farm and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but also lets you take advantage of the Xbox Hard Drive. So if you've got some killer music tracks from your own collection, drop in some CDs and rip the music to the Xbox. Then you can listen to any of your custom playlists while tricking the virtual streets.


Gameplay:

As with past games in the series, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 offers the same great gameplay and controller setup as its predecessors. Unfortunately, as great as it is to stick with a winning combination, a little fresh blood sometimes turns a great game into a perfect one. In TH3, you will have a few more goals to achieve for skating greatness, but if you've played any of the Tony Hawk games, you've played them all.

The only truly new feature of TH3 is its ability to link two Xbox machines together. What this means is that now skaters will have the ability to play up to four players in one environment (2 Xbox consoles; both split screen). But thanks to the Xbox using a standard Ethernet connection, you can also take to the streets online with any broadband connection to the Internet. (Unfortunately, I do not have broadband access, so I was unable to test this feature.)

Another new feature is the new 'revert' move that allows you to combine tricks in a similar manner that 'manuals' did in the last Pro Skater. This 'revert' will now allow you to perform flatland tricks for some killer combinations, if you're good enough. And if you think that the eight levels (plus one exclusive Xbox level) included on the game aren't tough enough, you can bust out your own with the park editor feature (which also includes a handful of pre-made parks).


Difficulty:

Anybody that has played either of the previous two Tony Hawk games will feel right at home with the controls of THPS3. And for those of you who have been living in a cave since the series started will be able to easily jump into the game and trick with the best of them. Attaining all of the goals in the game is relatively easy, with the possible exception of some of the high scores. In order to reach your scoring goals in the later levels, you will most definitely have to learn to chain tricks together while on the ground. Without doing this, the allotted time for each level creates an added obstacle.

Game Mechanics:

As mentioned above, the controller scheme of THPS3 is essentially identical as its predecessors, making it very easy to dive into whether you're a seasoned veteran or a green rookie to the series. And while performing tricks isn't all that difficult, scattered throughout the career levels are stat points that can be picked up, then changed to customize your skater's performance and improve your chances to clear each goal

It's unfortunate that this version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 doesn't allow you to play 4-player split screen without the use of two Xbox machines. Fortunately, the Xbox version does contain an Xtreme Xclusively Xtra level. Overall, THPS3 is a near-perfect game, even if the gameplay is essentially unchanged from the first and second games. I highly recommend that you at least rent TH3 if you decide not to buy it. The game's single-player career if extremely fun, and the multiplayer modes and park editor add for great replay value.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Microsoft Xbox Terminator 2: Dawn of Fate Microsoft Xbox Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated