on 21 June 2003
I could care less about the big names. I never knew about Eric Koston, Kareem Campbell, or Rune Gilfberg existed. Heck, I never even heard of Tony Hawk before this series of games. Believe you me, you can take away all the big named skaters and replace them with completely fictional characters. You would still have a completely solid game that still gets hours out of my gaming day.
--First PS2 Tony Hawk Game
--13 Big Name Skaters (Plus several to unlock)
--9 Expansive Stages (Plus several to unlock)
--Brand New Moves Unique to THPS3
--All New ''Revert'' Move To Increase Combos
--Brand New ''Point'' System to Increase Stats
--Advanced Skate Park Editor
--2-Player Split Screen Mode
--Replay Save Feature
HOW TO PLAY
Just in case you haven't played either of the past Tony Hawk games on the PSone (AKA Living under a rock), here's what you do. In each stage, you are given two minutes to score as many points as you possibly can. To do this, you'll need to perform lots of tricks, and to link them into combos. There are ''Vert'' tricks (fly off the ramp and perform grab/kick maneuvers), ''Grind'' tricks (ollie onto a rail or an edge and grind it with your skateboard), ''Lip'' tricks (grab onto the lip of a ramp and perform a trick), and ''Manuals'' (balance on your skateboard with one set of wheels). To link all these together, you'll need to perform them one after the other. The Manual can be used to link street tricks, and the all new ''Revert'' move to try and link vert tricks. It's really hard to describe, but a step-by-step tutorial in the game is included that takes you through all the basics.
In the Career Mode, you have to complete several level-related goals in order to advance to the next level. Some of these goals include grinding on a giant bucket suspended high in the air, getting someone's tongue ''unstuck'' from a frozen pole, and restoring power to a satellite dish. These goals are simply fun to pull off, which only adds to the greatness of the interactive levels.
To start with, the levels are HUMUNGOUS! They are absolutely HUGE! Not to mention BIG! There is so much that you can do in each level, and many places where you can pull off some incredible combos. Plus, each of these levels have insane levels of interactivity. Unlike the past games, there are plenty of people that roam the streets. If you're not careful, you could run into them and bail. And they just don't stand idly by, either. They'll praise you if you pull off some insane trick, or taunt you if you mess up. (Stop teasing me, gorgeous super model! I'll do better!) Plus, each stage contains goals and obstacles that are unique to that level, just like the previous incarnations. The Los Angeles area, for example, has four rails to grind. If you hit these four specific rails, you'll trigger an earthquake, accessing brand new areas to skate. The Suburbia area, assuming you can complete the goal, has a very ''interesting'' haunted section, that is, if you can find it.
For those who are into the big named skaters, there are 13 of them to start you off with. Bob Burneqest (forgive the spelling) couldn't make it into this edition, but that didn't stop Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Kareen Campbell, Rune Gilfberg, Eric Koston, Bucky Lasek, Bam Magera, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley, Elissa Steamer, and Jamie Thomas from rolling in. Don't like these guys (and gal)? Well, you can create your own skater, using the Create-A-Skater feature. Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. You can customize your skater from the nose on his face to the socks on his feet. Very good stuff, and much more advanced than THPS2.
You can also create your own Skate Park once again, using the Skate Park Editor. I haven't messed around with this feature much, but now you can create the park of your dreams! I'd suggest browsing the 60 or so pre-made parks first to get a general idea of what you want to make.
The PS2 version also has the inclusion of online play. I'm sure that it's a very nice feature, but due to the lack of PS2 modem, I can't comment much on it. Oh well, didn't buy the PS2 to get online anyway.
All this, coupled with the fluid game controls and gameplay mechanics, net this game a 10/10 for the presentation alone! I can't get enough of this game!
The graphics are some of the best I've seen on the PS2. The visuals have been drastically upgraded from the last THPS, and have definitely taken advantage of the PS2 hardware. The levels are incredibly detailed, and the skaters themselves look incredibly realistic then skating. (Their knees move!) Due to such a drastic improvement, I'll ignore the jaggies that pop up every now and then. 10/10.
The music, once again, is a soundtrack taken from what's hot today. Motorhead starts things off with it's title track ''Ace of Spades'', and it goes on from there. X-Zibit, Gorillaz, and The Ramones also make appearances, among others. I'll give the music 9/10, but only because some of the songs sound very ridiculous. (You gotta wash your @$$, if you must...)
What can I say, it's Tony Hawk. Ergo, it's incredible. I didn't even buy into the hype until September 2001 when I bought Tony Hawk 2 for the PSone. Now, I'm never looking back