"The R button, also, does the new Revert move, which, when you're coming off of a lip trick on a ramp, lets you maintain a combo by allowing you to string in a manual..."
I never played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the PSX. I missed out on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 for not only the PSX or the N64, but also my beloved Dreamcast. So of course, I wasn't about to miss out on the 'Hawk experience by not trying Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 for my new baby, the GameCube. Since I heard it was good, I decided to purchase it, and holy crap, is this game addictive.
THPS3 expands upon its predecessors' foundation, taking the famous rack-up-the-points-with-mad-combos philosophy in its basic form. However, the Career mode puts you in the game's various levels, which include a cold, wintery Canada and the famous Skater Island park in Rhode Island, and set up goals for you to accomplish. Such tasks include everything from completing high scores, stopping a high-speed L.A. car chase, collecting S-K-A-T-E, ''visiting'' 10 countries, and even helping a moron get his tongue unstuck from a telephone pole. In other levels (Skater Island, Rio de Janiero, and Tokyo) your skater can put his/her skills to the test in competing against fellow pros, where consistency and combos are all that counts. In addition to the excellent Career mode, there are options to go a single 2 minutes in any level to see how high a score you can obtain, or a Free Skate session where you can do whatever the hell you want for an unlimited amount of time. And there's also a 2-player mode, which is great for when you and a friend want to see who has more l33t skilz.
The conversion from the PS2 to GC controller seemed to be almost flawless. I say 'almost' because fans of the series who are used to the d-pad for movement may have trouble with the GameCube's smaller digital pad. I, however, use the analog stick for movement, and I haven't had any problems with it (except for pulling off diagonal directions quickly). Other than that, everything works fine - Y grinds, X grabs, B flips, A ollies. The C stick looks around (you might want to be stationary when you use it though...) and the shoulder buttons spin your skater faster when you're pulling air tricks. The R button, also, does the new Revert move, which, when you're coming off of a lip trick on a ramp, lets you maintain a combo by allowing you to string in a manual (performed by pressing down-up or up-down on the control stick/d-pad) right after. Overall, the GC controller works fine with the game. No complaints.
After seeing games such as Rogue Leader running at 60 frames per second on the GameCube, THPS3 was kind of a disappointment. Since it's a port from the PS2, it has PlayStation 2 graphics. Collision detection is sometimes a bit off, textures are occasionally bland, and not all the polygons are smooth and pretty. This game could have run on the Dreamcast without a hitch, most likely. The framerate, too, slows down a bit in levels where there's a good amount of action on-screen, and sometimes can screw up your fluidity.
Sound, thankfully, is a little better. The soundtrack is good, but the songs can get VERY repetitive after playing for a while. All the skating sound effects sound real, from skating on concrete to grinding on metal. The voices, although merely occasional, are decent, but also could have been better. Perhaps some of this was intentional, though, as after you start the earthquake in Los Angeles, a man in a stuck car on the broken overpass keeps yelling, ''Help me! Oh, I'm gonna die!'' He gets really annoying, and you'll want to kill him - which, of course, you have to do anyway to complete a goal. Hehehe.
In addition to creating your own skater to take through the different modes, there's also a Park Editor where you can create your very own skatepark. It only takes up 3 blocks on the memory card, and is fun enough to occupy a couple hours of your time to create the ultimate skater's haven.
Overall, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is an extremely addictive game which offers infinite replay value and a good 2-player Mode for when your friends come over. If you have a PS2, buy the PS2 version. But if you only have Nintendo's console, do yourself a favor and pick up THPS3. You won't regret it.
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)
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