Tony Hawk’s Underground

Tony Hawk’s Underground

Ethan Einhorn

What’s It About? Just the fifth coming of Tony Hawk: the man, the myth, the blockbuster videogame franchise. Though the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series single-handedly unleashed a wave of “extreme sports” games on the unsuspecting public, Hawk is still the king. But seeing as how the transition from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 to THPS4 brought little more than a new selection of levels and tougher goals, we’re expecting a bit more innovation this time around.

Why’s It Cool? Dropping Pro Skater from the title isn’t just cosmetic—in this Hawk, you’re not a pro at all. Instead, you create your own character (see Try This) and work your way up to the pros from the mean streets of your Jersey hood. You’ll do very un–Tony Hawk things, like get arrested, get chased by crack dealers, and steal cars. But it’s not over when you finish the Story mode—the Create-a-Park option (which is far more comprehensive than in past Hawks) coupled with the new Create-a-Goal feature lets you design your own levels, which you can trade online (PS2 only).

Should We Worry? Well, maybe a little. You can now dismount your board and run around, which feels strange at first. That’s nothing compared to this next bit, though: You can also drive cars. But before you get all, “Argghh! Who got their Grand Theft Auto in my Tony Hawk?,” we should mention that you can’t just jack any old car; it’s got to be part of a particular goal. The jury’s still out on this. Way out.

Bottom Line “This is the game that, secretly, Neversoft always wanted to make,” says Producer Stacey Drellishak, referring to the gritty car-stealing and crack-dealer-escaping parts. We’ll have to see how much that adds to the Hawk experience, but the Story mode does seem significantly more engaging than in previous versions. And we’re expecting the Create-a-Park and Create-a-Goal features to really come through in terms of adding replay value.

Copyright © 2003 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Game Now.