"But you'd have to go back a long way -- all the way back to Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3. A game that might well be the best entry in the series but at the sacrifice of being the last decent title the franchise will ever see."
There was once a time when Tony Hawks games were about skateboarding and not poorly-played out pop-culture references and MTV-inspired dribble; when they weren't concerned in producing a blurry reflection of an over-embellished culture and concentrated on making the games playable. There was a time when said franchise made it enjoyable to pick up your virtual board and surf some cement.
But you'd have to go back a long way -- all the way back to Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3. A game that might well be the best entry in the series but at the sacrifice of being the last decent title the franchise will ever see.
Shying away from moronic 'enhancements' like dodging rampaging bulls or guest-playing as dribbling retard's steering souped-up wheelchairs, THPS3 stuck to what a skateboarding series should: skateboarding. You're urged to pick up your board and glide around nine intricately-designed stages without a single member of jackass or an overplayed story element in sight.
Because within this clean environment, things are breathtakingly simple. Easily executed button combos launch your skater into any of a library of moves, be them spectacular air tricks you employ after launching yourself into the air, grinds that see you glide across rails or even stalls that see you balance precariously on lips. Showing off like this not only earns you points (vital for those judge's scorecards in the handful of international tournaments you'll be invited to) but add to your ever-growing special meter. Fill this, and you can pull off stunts of eye-popping awesomeness!
Each stage also has its own set of goals. Sure, some tasks repeat each level, like racking up a huge score or collecting the scattered letters of the word 'SKATE', but individual goals spice things up. Grind a suspended melting bucket that dribbles molten lead in the Foundry stage; free a poor stooge who has frozen his tongue to an icy flagpole in Canada; restore power to roofbound satellite dishes by grinding across powerlines and freeing them of obstacles in Suburbia, and so on! A vigilant skater will always find chores that need completing.
And even when all nine stages are gutted of tasks, a plethora of options await a skater with chums. Chose from the pre-set pros or create a player in your likeness, but wage war against friends in the awesome multi-player stages until your fingers bleed! Do so in a custom-made park, if you chose, but battle jealously for victory! Skate to win!
Because this is the last chance you have before the Hawks series drowns in a mire of its own twisted and broken evolution. Skate safe, kids.
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