Tony Hawk - every single skater in the world knows of his professional abilities. Tony Hawk is also known by more than half the gamer population, due to the previous skateboarding game releases: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 through 4. Now, recently, a big release of Tony Hawk Underground (the 5th in the franchise) has hit shelves, and people are excited about it.
Life as a pro-skater is rough: designing shoes, creating boards and moves, and making public appearances. Unlike the previous TH games, this one lets you start out as a nobody, a regular skater that gets a huge chance to show off in front of Chad Muska, who is visiting your town to do a 'Demo Tape'. After showing off your skills, Muska complements you, and you move on to try to get sponsored by the local skateshop. I'll leave the rest up to you, because it is YOU who will train to be elite. And if you're going to be Elite, you need to look good. Choose from over 20 hair, 30 shoe, and 25 head sets.. These sets can all be customized in color, making them look diverse and unique. I made a character with a goatee, orange cap, dark teal hair, boots, reversed cap, and khaki pants. He turned out to look great, and ended up beating everyone in looks.
So from a 3rd person perspective, you do hundreds of tricks, that earn points needed for the usual mission or two. These tricks add up while you're in the air, making up combo tricks, and landing massive scores (IF you land correctly). While there is around 100 pre-made tricks already, THUG lets players go all-out, and make their own next Melon 360. From flips, grabs, and grinds, to how long you can hold it, and all the other little options one could think of. But that's not all ? you can also import your face into the PS2 version of THUG, hence creating a player in your own likeness! Overall, gameplay is custom, and eventually ends up in mass-repetition of tricks.
Besides hearing your skateboard rip across rails and across the gravel, you will hear pedestrians comment on your skills (and also yell at you for hitting them), and sometimes they will retaliate by shoving you off your board. Throughout the game, you will talk with Pros like Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, and Bucky Lasek, and plenty others, but you will have to see and hear them when you get there. Each pro is voiced by his/her own brother/sister in real life. Whilst skating, you can listen to nearly 100 music tracks ranging from Pop and Rap, to Rock, all done by famous bands. Overall, pretty good sound, with a huge soundtrack.
Although not bad looking overall, the game pretty much looks the same as THPS 4, so don't expect much. Besides cars looking better, customizations that look great, and a few other additions, the characters seem to move a bit smoother now, and the levels are more detailed this time around. Overall, THPS needs a new engine.
As from THPS 3 and 4, THUG is plagued with cheaters. People rack up over 2 million scores in a matter of 1 minute or so. Although, some people don't cheat, and sometime make an enjoyable game. Online, you can play one of many different game modes, including: Firefight, Graffiti, Combo Mambo, Score Attack, and more.
Firefight: Each player can be assigned to a team (or not) and uses Up + Square or Down + Square to shoot a flaming projectile from your board. Each player gets 100 health, and must attack the enemy in order to bring him down to 0 health.
Graffiti: Players do tricks on parts of the land, and color it as their own. If another player does a better trick on it, it's theirs.
Combo Mambo: Get the highest score with only combos.
Score Attack: The plagued game. Get the highest score by the time limit.
There are more, but I won't ruin the surprise for you. Overall, if a good game can get going, then have fun. Just beware: every two people out of three cheat.
People who were sick of Tone Hawk's after the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th game still came to THUG, with high expectations and a desire to skate. THUG offers expanded customization, minimal graphic additions, and a bunch of fun with it's newly expanded editor. People who own #4 and love THPS, should get THUG, while on the other hand people who hate skating games, or just don't care about them, move along, as you won't find anything cardinally new here.