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GC

North America

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

by Jonathan Metts - January 2, 2002, 1:02 am PST

9

Skateboarding! It’s fun! Tony Hawk 3 is good game! Read review!

If you still haven’t played a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game, you’re really missing out. I’m not saying that absolutely everyone will love the games, but you owe it to yourself to try them out no matter how skeptic you are…you just may fall in love. Tony Hawk 3 brings the series to next-gen consoles with mostly superficial changes, at least on the GameCube. Without the PS2 version’s online functionality, THPS3’s biggest new features are the revert (lets you chain a vert trick into manuals and then other tricks) and expanded create-a-player and create-a-park modes.

There are also new levels, and of course that alone is plenty for the Pro Skater faithful; the levels are simply huge, very well designed, populated with bystanders, and generally a tad more whimsical than those in the previous games. There’s nothing particularly odd about the Los Angeles level…until you cause an earthquake and then stop a car chase with the wreckage. While real-world skaters may scoff at such touches (then again, maybe they won’t), gamers will probably enjoy the slightly different direction in level design.

I also noticed that the game seems to favor grinds over vert tricks in this sequel…although part of that is probably due to my style of playing. The two-player multiplayer modes are back and better than ever. Trick Attack and Horse can easily occupy a couple of moderately proficient THPS players; unfortunately, some of the other modes (Tag, King of the Hill) are pointless without the online capability, but they’re included anyway in case you find some way to have fun with them.

Trying to decide between the PS2 and GameCube versions of THPS3? It really depends on what you’re looking for. The GameCube version looks slightly cleaner, but has some annoying (and potentially harmful) framerate problems. The control layout is arguable as good or even better than on the Dual Shock 2, but fans of the D-pad will either have to adjust to the GameCube’s tiny one or switch to the joystick (which behaves digitally anyway for this game). And, of course, there’s the omission of the PS2 version’s online modes…it could be a deciding factor for some, a non-issue for others. Either way, the splitscreen multiplayer is loads of fun, and the whole game has replay value out the ass.

There isn’t much else to say about Tony Hawk 3. If you’re a fan of the series, this game is obviously a great purchase. Anyone who hasn’t tried Pro Skater yet would do well to give it a rent. And, for the game’s various detractors, the third installment isn’t going to change any minds. It is incrementally better, but the franchise is quickly running out of places to go. The newest Hawk has new levels, prettier graphics, and a revert, and for a great many people, that’s plenty to be excited about. Me, I’m ready for some change…but THPS3 is still a fantastic ride and a worthy new entry to the series.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 9 8 9 9 9
Graphics
7

I wouldn’t say that THPS3 is ugly, but it certainly looks bland compared to many other GameCube titles. The textures are often blurry or slightly muddy, and some levels have major framerate issues that may seriously distract people sensitive to such things. Still, for the most part, the graphics fit well with the game’s style.

Sound
9

Excellent sound effects and a large selection of licensed music. Alternative rock has always been part of the Pro Skater experience, but now there’s a bit of punk and even rap to mix things up. Kudos to Neversoft for letting us turn off the songs we don’t like. Unfortunately, I ended up turning them all off…licensed music just gets old so quickly. That’s a matter of taste though.

Control
8

D-pad fans might get frustrated with the GameCube’s miniature pad, and joystick users will wonder why they still can’t get true analog control in this series. The button layout is great, and it’s easy to learn for Dual Shock users.

Gameplay
9

This series hasn’t sold millions of copies just on Tony Hawk’s good name. THPS3 plays even better than its predecessors, with improved level design and the new revert move…although the game can be beaten with mostly grinds and manuals. Two-player splitscreen is a blast, as long as you stick to the games not intended for online play only.

Lastability
9

With quite a few levels to beat and two very robust customization modes, you won’t run out of things to do very soon. Plus, many level objectives change depending on your character, and each time you beat everything, you open up a new bonus…including several secret characters and a couple of classic THPS stages. Multiplayer is yet another source of long-lasting fun on this disc; too bad it’s only for two players.

Final
9

I don’t see where Tony Hawk can go from here, but this third title in the series is certainly the pinnacle of its genre, and one of the best GameCube launch titles around.

Summary

Pros
  • Excellent level design
  • Soundtrack has more variety than in previous games
  • Tons of secrets for hardcore players
  • Tried-and-true Pro Skater gameplay
Cons
  • Annoying framerate jumps
  • Doesn’t have the PS2 version’s online play
  • The two-minute game design is starting to get tired
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Sports
Developer 3d6 Games
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Release Nov 13, 2001
PublisherNeversoft
RatingTeen
jpn: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Release Jun 27, 2003
PublisherNeversoft
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