Game Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Geek Specs:
Title: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Platform: Playstation 2
Genre: Action
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision
Release: October 30, 2001

Introduction: There has been quite a lot of speculation surrounding the release of Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 3. Would it be as good as the last one? What would the soundtrack be like, would it fare well against the incredibly high standard of music set by its prequel? Would it deliver all the fun of the previous games? Well, I am extremely pleased to tell you that the answers are yes, yes, and yes.

Review: Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 3 is without a doubt every game playerís dream. Wonderful controls, excellent graphics and a pumping soundtrack that gets even the most calm personís adrenaline flowing. Delights to listen out for include ĎNot The Sameí by Bodyjar, ĎAce of Spadesí by the ever famous Motorhead, ĎWishí by Alien Ant Farm, and ĎWhatís The Matter Maní by Rollins Band. Donít be put off by the fact that you might not have heard of some of the bands featured on the soundtrack. From the first time you load the game up, your ears will be treated to perhaps one of the best game soundtracks in years, and you will think 'this is just the kind of music Iíve been searching for!í Now, onto the actual gameplay itself. As always, the game revolves around completing goals and pulling off life threatening tricks. The only difference between this game and THPS2 is that instead of buying stats with money, you now find upgrades hidden in the levels. Yes, gone are the days of unlocking everything with money. Instead, a deck is hidden somewhere in each level (perhaps on top of an almost impossible to reach set of girders or maybe fifty feet in the air on top of a light fitting). Also, you collect stat points individually. So when you collect five stat points you can upgrade one of your skills by five points. Itís not a bad idea, and it works better than in THPS2, where each time you bought a stat point the price would go up for the next. Itís a much easier option, as you donít have to spend ages completing goals to get enough money to upgrade. The stats you add aren't set in stone either. If you are having trouble completing a goal involving a long grind to a hidden area, simply go to your stats and raise your rail balance. This is really helpful for completing specific goals that are otherwise very difficult without boosted stats.

To get new tricks, you must unlock them by winning gold medals in the various competitions that are scattered throughout the game. Personally, I preferred buying tricks, but this new approach does tend to make you try harder for a six figure score. On the visual side of things, THPS3 certainly does the business. Possibly one of the best looking PSX games to date, THPS3 is ludicrously well detailed, with graffiti adorning the walls and dust clouds that appear when you bail (i.e. fall of your board and smash your face into the concrete) from a height. Ouch. Also, just like in the GBA version of THPS2, there is a balance meter to help you grind. Itís easier than before because sometimes if you turned a corner while grinding you couldnít see if you were going to bail. Speaking of bails, those who enjoy watching the skateboardingís finest fly headfirst into a wall (and who doesnít?) are in for a treat. Yes, the bail videos are back! For those who havenít seen one of the bail videos before, they involve skaters attempting tricks such as grinds down flights of stairs, losing their balance and (in one case) getting their foot stuck between the rail and the wall. Itís just one of the many extra's that ensure you will be playing this game for weeks. For those of you wondering who you can play as, look no further. Here are all the skaters appearing in THPS3:

Standard Characters:
Tony Hawk
Steve Caballero
Karreem Campbell
Rune Glifberg
Eric Koston
Bucky Lasek
Rodney Mullen
Chad Muska
Andrew Reynolds
Geoff Rowley
Elissa Steamer
Jamie Thomas
Bam Margera

Secret Characters:
Darth Maul (from Star Wars Episode 1)
Wolverine (from the X-Men)
Officer Dick (from the previous two games).

The levels are fantastic. An airport, Los Angeles and a suburban neighbourhood are just some of the highlights. Like I mentioned earlier, the levels are painstakingly detailed and, just like in the other games, if itís there you can skate on it. This means it is possible to grind away on signs, roofs and (oddly enough) electric wires.

Conclusion: If youíve got money burning a hole in your pocket, rush down to your local video games store now and grab a copy. Thatís an order. If you liked the previous THPS games, youíll go mental for this. And if you didnít like them, youíll love this anyway. Whatever you do, just make sure you play this game.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 4.5 Graphics: 5.0
There is almost no reason to get bored of this game. Not only do you have all the goals to complete, you also have secret characters and movies to unlock. Then, when Career Mode is done and dusted, you have the Single Session Mode and Multiplayer Modes to choose from. Even though this is the PSX version Iím reviewing, it has excellent graphics. This has to be one of the best looking PSX games ever, itís right up there with the excellent WWF: Smackdown! 2. Itís even better on ePSXe.

Sound: 4.5 Overall: 5.0
Címon, this is Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 3! What did you expect? Beethovenís 5th Symphony? This is one of the rare games that has music to suit everyone. Many of the worlds youth' either love rock or rap. THPS3 has both of these in bucket loads. Itís down right impossible to find fault with THPS3. Itís easily one of the best PSX games ever. But donít take my word for it: experience it yourself. I really canít stress this enough. Go get it now!

Written by Cosmic3K


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