|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3|
October 25, 2002 | Eddie Park
Sometimes it’s possible to make a game so good that any direct sequels spawned from its subsequent success may be nothing more than the same game with minor improvements here and there. A fine example of this is the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, which continues to dominate sales charts on practically every platform with every successive release. Thankfully, Mac owners can now look forward to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, recently announced by Aspyr as an upcoming title.
Of course, many of you have already played THPS2 to death, and like most players, are probably wondering how possible it is to improve on a game that’s already so great. As stated earlier, each successive release is more like an addendum than a sequel, with various tweaks, upgrades, and options being added onto a game engine that basically runs the same whether its played on the first title or the latest. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 certainly follows this trend, but as the playability is rock-solid, highly addictive, and easily accessible by even casual gamers, this is by no means a bad thing.
360 Benihana into Mute Grab Kickflip what?For those unfamiliar with the series, THPS3 is, at its simplest, a skateboarding game. Labled a “sports game” by many, it plays more like an action/adventure/platformer on wheels. Players can select from a number of real-life pro skaters, each with their own set of attributes, or create their own skater if they wish. Once a skater is chosen and outfitted with a properly configured skateboard, players can proceed to shred it up on 10 levels, most of which must be unlocked by playing through the Career Mode.
At THPS3’s core is the trick system, which is both easily accessible and incredibly varied. Using a simple combination of buttons and stick placement, a huge number of tricks ranging from the mundane to the unbelievable can be accessed. Good players will find themselves trying to string together as many tricks as possible in an attempt to clear a goal, get some good capture footage, or just show off in front of their friends.
Of course, this is all old hat to veteran THPS players, who no doubt would like to know what’s new in THPS3. For starters, the number of executable tricks has been greatly increased. The most notable addition is a new “revert” trick, which allows players to string together even more tricks under the right circumstances. For those who are less than adept in skateboarding lingo (although you can’t be any worse than me), a revert is defined as “an extra element to add to a trick by continuing the motion of the trick until the board and skater are going backwards” (thanks to the Absolute Skateboard Glossary for this one). For those that have played other THPS titles, you know that long, even infinite trick strings, are some of the more sought-after goals in the game, and are worth bragging rights as well.
Another highlight of the THPS series has always been the level design. Not only are the various skating areas wildly varied and utterly huge, but they come with a level of interactivity that tends to keep pulling players back in hopes of uncovering some new animation or secret route. THPS3 continues this trend by offering even larger, crazier levels for players to conquer. Besides skating on a cruise ship or helping a poor fellow separate his tongue from a frozen pole, a frequently talked-about level is the Los Angeles one, which features an earthquake that literally shakes up the freeways. Other locations include Paris, Tokyo, and a Canadian skate camp.
The Create-A-Skater mode has also been spruced up a bit, allowing those who crave customizability to create the skater of their dreams. Besides the usual gender, hair, and outfit options, players can now select either adult or kid skaters. For those that love accessories, options like sunglasses, tattoos, and multicolored skate pads will also be available. Skateboards are also customizable, both in look and in the way the ride.