Extreme sports titles are now big business, and Activision are at the top of the genre. This is all due to one franchise, which started a few years ago on the PsOne. Tony Hawks Pro Skater was a surprise hit and greatly increased the popularity of the sport and it's endorser, Mr Tony Hawk.
Now the developer is back with the third outing for Tony Hawk, and things are looking rosy. The series is renowned for it's tight controls, wealth of options, great soundtrack and the skill required to become great at the game. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 carries on the traditions set by previous titles. Read on.
Gameplay: The gameplay in Tony Hawk titles is renowned for being varied, challenging and highly accomplished. The latest title is no exception. There are a variety of levels set in many locations, from suburb streets to airports to a working factory. All levels are greatly designed and the structure allows ample opportunity to pull off some nifty tricks.
In each level there are a number of tasks to complete, this can be anything from switching four switches, to delivering airline tickets to your friends within a time limit. On each level there is one task which required you to collect the latter S-K-A-T-E, these are often in difficult locations and you must perform specific tricks to obtain the letters.
Graphics: The graphics are clean and smooth but at times appear a bit bland. This is mainly due to the title being a PS2 port. The animation is excellent and the skater reacts correctly to all falls and obstacles. The levels offer great variety and all have a wonderfully distinct look. The option to create a custom skater allows even more variety.
Sound: Sequel number two is back with another licensed soundtrack featuring popular bands such as Deftones and NOFX. The music is all suitably urban and suits the style and atmosphere of the game. The sound effects are quite exaggerated but the noise of grinding your board on a railing is very satisfying.
Lifespan: Pro Skater 3 will last you for a long, long time. The levels are varied and plentiful and the option to create your own levels adds infinite replay value. There is also the aforementioned option to create your own skaters. Completing the career mode with each skater will also unlock a variety of hidden options, like new boards, costumes and videos.
Fun: There is lots of fun to be had, until you just can't get through one of the skate competitions, very frustrating, but rewarding!
Opposition: There aren't any other extreme sports titles worth a mention here, if snowboarding is your fancy then check out review of SSX: Tricky, but it isn't a patch on Mr Hawk's latest outing.
With the sequel due around Christmas, the outlook is good for the Tony Hawk franchise to continue it's reign as the best extreme sports title around. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 definitely comes recommended!