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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2 (2 - 8 Internet/LAN)
Genre: Sports


Graphics & Sound:

If you actually took the time to read the System Requirements and compare them with my Test System above, you'd soon realize that I don't have a fast enough machine to run Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. Although I can't guarantee you will have the same results, my (memory-enhanced) system gave me very good results on the graphical end of the game. I did play TH3 in the lowest resolution just to keep the framerate fast on my slow system, but even still the environments in the game are top-notch and draw you into the beautifully rendered 3D atmosphere.

On the sound end of the game, once again the Pro Skater series has signed on some hot bands to pump you up as you take the streets and skate parks. Some of the bands included in THPS3 are: Alien Ant Farm, House of Pain, Guttermouth, Motorhead, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With groups like this kickin' it on your sound system, it's worth busting out Tony just to get your fix on the music. Although not included in the PC version of the game, it would have been nice if you could have set up your own playlist from music files (like MP3) located on your computer's hard drive, similar to that of the Xbox version. Maybe next year? Hopefully.


Gameplay:

The talk of the town is how the new Tony Hawk game is now Internet-ready. Yepper, with THPS3 and a connection to the 'Net, you'll be able to hit the streets with up to 8 players at a time. Unfortunately, I was unable to connect for some reason, and the game would crash when I tried. It is possible that GameSpy Arcade (a gaming matchmaking host) isn't set up for Tony Hawk 3 yet. This aside, you will actually be able to play in eight modes of multiplayer mayhem. The standards are back, and new modes include: Slap!, where the player that slaps other players the most wins; Keep Away, where you grab a ball and run... er, skate; and Capture the Flag, which is a team-based game.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 continues where the last game left off. It's got the same basic controls, with a few added enhancements. Probably the biggest is the ability to perform flatland tricks with the new 'revert' controls. Other than that, the game contains eight levels of a basically similar fashion as the first to games. You'll have to collect the letters S-K-A-T-E again, as well as find the secret tapes and hit your high score marks. Each level will also include some level-specific goals too. And of course the Competitions are also back, but will play a bit harder (in my mind) than the previous games' did.

Once again, the developers have also included the 3D Park Editor so that you'll never get bored with THPS3. This time you will actually have a selection of different sized parks to start from, so the variety in the levels you can create is greatly improved. Included on the CD are some bonus levels too, made specifically from the Park Editor for your added entertainment.


Difficulty:

THPS3 is essentially a graphically souped-up version of the first two games. What this means is that the same easy-to-use controls are at your fingertips, making the game painless to get into. And while you can use the keyboard to control Tony Hawk and crew, I would highly recommend the use of a PlayStation-like control pad. With a decent six or eight (or more) button controller, you'll be able to perform moves with the greatest of ease. The most difficulty you will have in the game will undoubtedly be hitting some of the high score goals, unless you learn to chain tricks together to gets some killer combos.

Game Mechanics:

Again, a gamepad is extremely recommended as controlling the quick movements of your Pro Skater is much harder using a keyboard. Menu options are very straightforward, and the Create-A-Skater option is simple to set up. Another nice feature of the game is that you can also (at any time) move your stat points from one category to another. What this means is that if you are struggling at reaching that key spot across a tightrope grind, you could allocate all of your resources into your Rail Balance attributes.

It's very cool that the Tony Hawk series has finally made it's way online. Hopefully the next step will allow gamers to play each other by crossing platforms (for example, PC vs. Xbox), making multiplayer gaming all that more exciting (and more possibilities in a multi-platform house). Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is an excellent game with great replay value, and any fan of the series should definitely pick up a copy today.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Minimum System Requirements:



Pentium III 500MHz or Athlon processor or higher; Windows 98/ME/2000/XP; 64MB RAM; 700MB uncompressed Hard Drive space (plus 150MB for Windows swap file); DirectX 8.1 (included); DirectX 8.1 -compatible true 16-bit Sound Card; keyboard & mouse; 4x CD-ROM; 3D Accelerator Graphics Card Required
 

Test System:



Pentium II 400MHz CPU; Windows 98 SE; 256MB 100MHz SDRAM; Creative's 3D Blaster Annihilator 2 32MB 3D-Accellerator AGP Video Card (nVIDIA geForce 2 chipset); Ensoniq AudioPCI sound card; DirectX 8.0a; using Hewlett Packard CD-Writer Plus 9100 (reads 32x, writes 8x, rewrites 4x) as main CD-ROM; 1 gameport; 2 USB ports; ThrustMaster FireStorm Dual Power Gamepad (USB connection); 56k modem

Windows Syberia Windows The Weakest Link

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated