Review: Tony Hawk’s Underground 2

T.H.U.G. 2

Platform: PC
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision
Players: 1 + multiplayer

As expected, the 6th game in the Tony Hawk franchise (and sequel to the original Tony Hawk’s Underground) adds a slew of new characters, tricks, and game modes to the ever-popular series. For the unfamiliar, the basic idea of the THUG series is to perform increasing complicated skateboard trick combinations, all the while running around completing mini missions and levels. In THUG2, you’ve got a few game modes: World Destruction Tour, Team Play (Team Hawk vs. Team Bam), Story Mode, Classic Mode (retro gaming ala early Tony Hawk games) and Online, where you can play with and challenge others over the internet. While a lot has changed since 2000 (when the original Tony Hawk game was released on the Nintendo 64), the monkeys at Activision keep the main themes active: addictive game play, Impressive environments and fresh soundtracks, and THUG2 is no different. In addition to your silly attempts at multiple trick combos, you’ll be required to do crazy shit like sticker slap on hard-to-reach walls, tag spots via graffiti and use ‘vehicles’ (like hospital gurneys and scooters) as a skateboard substitute. While this game appears on four platforms (PC, Xbox, PS2 and GC), the best looking, graphics-wise, is of course, the PC, if you’ve got the rig to handle it.

The advantage of being able to play in front of a TV makes a Xbox, PS2 or GC a definite choice, of course, especially with the (at least, sounds cool) PS2-only feature of face mapping: if you’ve an Eye-Toy camera, you can put your face on your custom made skater and use it in game. Plus, if you play online, other players will be able to see your ugly ass while your out-skating them. Nice!