Game Review Data
 
Game Title
Tony Hawk's Underground
Publisher
Activision/Vicarious Visions
Features
Battery Save, Multiplayer & Hot Seat Play
Format
Skateboarding
Reviewer
Andrew DjFIL


RATING

Excellent!


Ratings Scale:

Excellent!

Good!

Playable!

Ho-Hum!

Yuck!


Archived Game Reviews:

From A - Z

 

 
Introduction

Tony Hawk is back and at it again with his 4th GBA release, Tony Hawk's Underground (THUG). This time around, there a new twist to the story, as well as new features in the game that's never been seen before.

Screen Shots

GamePlay

Just like the previous games, everything is locked when you start, which means that you'll have to work your butt off to make it up the ladder. There are 4 main types of game play; Story, Arcade, Free Skate & Mutliplayer.

Arcade mode features the exact same game play from the last Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 with a similar set of goals on each level to complete (high score, high combo, get the tape, get SKATE, get COMBO, etc). One thing you must remember about Arcade mode is to unlock new levels and riders. Free Skate gives you unlimited time to practice your tricks with the skater of your choice and the location of your choice. In Underground, there is a total of 10 locations to play in and a total of 17 skaters, plus your created skater when you are playing Story mode.

Story mode is what this game is all about. You start by selecting a name first, after which you'll get to choose your skater's look. All the clothes are changeable, except for the face and body which stays the same through out your career. When you start you have only 1 stat point per skill (grabs, flips, rail, etc) and to get the next stat point, you must complete a skill, for example, for a rail point you must grind for 2 seconds. Because you have to gain your points, this is where Underground differs from the Pro Skater series. In THUG, you now have another challenge to complete while you finish your goals which gives the game extended value in the game play department as compared to previous Tony Hawk titles.

Another new item you will notice when playing in story mode, is the two extra meters on the right hand side of the screen. The top bar is your health. If this goes down to nil, you pass out and go back to a reset point with minimal health. You can, however, buy health by purchasing candy bars, energy bars and energy drinks in the skate shop. The bottom bar is your safety equipment status. When you're decked out in protective gear like a helmet and pads, your health will last a lot longer, but as you take falls, your equipment status degrades and consequently effects your health. This is another very nice addition to the game which gives the Story mode an added element of realism.

THUG also has a multiplayer mode with two options: 'Hot Seat' which uses one GBA which is passed back and forth and 'Link Play ' for two players to play head to head at the same time.

In 'Hot Seat' you can play HORSE or Trick Attack. I really liked the 'Hot Seat' option in THUG, and found that it's also a really good way to get your friends interested in the game. Unfortunately, I couldn't try the 'Link Play' option because I didn't have a linker or a friend with another GBA.

Control

The controls in THUG are very familiar to the prior Tony Hawk games, which are tight and precise as ever. There is, however, a new control feature in THUG where you can now get off your board and walk around. During the story mode, most of the level is still out of bounds until you get permission from people with in the level to go there. But if you still want to explore that area, you can simply get off your board and run around and not get in trouble for that. Once again, the controls don't disappoint, though as in previous games, you'll still have to get used to the locked isometric view and learn how to use the controls accordingly.

Graphics

The graphics aren't much different then before, although the menu system has been tweaked and presented a different way which makes it more appealing and easier to navigate. The size of the levels are comparable to those in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 on the GBA and the quality of the level layouts and graphics are still phenomenal. The skaters look great and the create a skater mode has lots of nice swag for your skater to wear. The animations for the skaterís moves are also very well done and have a true 3D look and feel to their movement and reactions. All in all, the graphics in THUG remain true to the high quality that we've come to expect from Vicarious Visions and their GBA Tony Hawk releases.

Sound & Music

The music in THUG has a good grunge feel and suits the game nicely. The game features three full length good quality music tracks. Unfortunately, this can get repetitive because one is used all the time for the menu, while the other two gets rotated between the levels. Like any good game though, there's an option to turn off the music, so no worries there. As for sound effects, nothing disappoints. The sounds from the skater and his board are very crisp and precise as always.

Final Comments

Kudos to the development team! With THUG, they've given the Tony Hawk games for the GBA a new lease of life, thanks to the new Story Mode which adds a fresh and almost RPG like element to the whole game. If you've gotten tired of the series because of the lack of changes and new ideas, then THUG is definitely what you've been waiting for. Do yourself a favor and get it today!

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.