Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 – PS2 – Review

Here are a couple of adjectives to describe
the humor in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2:


Obvious, oblivious, profane, amusing,
entertaining …


Now here are a couple of adjectives (and
adjective phrases) to describe the skating in THUG 2:


Outrageous, stellar, “sick as hell,” “balls to
the walls” …


The last two were courtesy of Tony Hawk and
Bam Magera. The comedy style is mostly courtesy of Magera. The game, Tony Hawk’s
Underground 2 for the PlayStation2, is courtesy of Neversoft and Activision.
THUG 2 brings a couple of modes of play to the franchise (this is the sixth in
the Tony Hawk line-up), and both combine to bring the biggest Hawk title yet.
With the World Destruction Tour to take players globe hopping (as well as
hitting on both Boston and New Orleans in the good ole U.S. of A.) as part of
the Story Mode, and the two-minute scoring drill of the Classic Mode, the game
provides something for everyone.



Toss is such stalwart options as the edit
mode, in which players get to do everything from create a somewhat unique skater
look to designing their own stickers and graffito to slap all over the towns,
and you have a game that definitely entertains.


You want multiplayer? This game has that too.
From an elimination-style of scoring game, to a game of tag, THUG 2 has so many
options for gamers that skating videogame veterans and novices alike will find
the title holds many, many, many hours of gameplay.


Having played the PC version, the PS2 version
is so much slicker when it comes to the control elements. The game seems
perfectly tailored for the PS2 controller, with controls accessible and easy to
manage. This game is about pulling off the big tricks, and to the end can be a
little twitch oriented.


The World Destruction Tour (aka Story mode)
begins with Tony Hawk and Bam Magera recruiting for the event, which pits two
teams head-to-head in a variety of venues throughout the world. The first stop
is Boston, where players can find and play as a couple of famous historical
figures (more on that in a moment). During this phase of the event, you are
given a host of tasks to accomplish, which each worth a certain amount of
points. The idea is to rack up as many points a possible to beat the other team.
However, this game is scripted and you won’t win, despite piling up a high
score. The game is slightly linear in this regard as the first person to be
ousted, courtesy of a ‘spin the bottle’ type of game with a gun that launches a
tennis ball at crotch levels, is Bob Burnquist.



Each level has a couple of secret characters,
each of the characters has trademark signatures and moves that once they are
unlocked, become part of the whole single-player repertoire of moves. For
Boston, you can find the skateboarding Benjamin Franklin and Jesse James (who
rides a two-wheel powered machine). Each comes with their own set of tasks for
the level.


Environments are somewhat destructible and you
can unlock other areas through destroying key elements. And when it comes to the
environments, this game is not merely two dimensional. There are paths above the
ground, skating areas that will prove challenging and give great overviews of
the cities.


The soundtrack of this game is terrific and
while the graphics have some minor clipping problems, the animation and tricks
are amazing.


THUG 2 has a bit of a learning curve, but the
game is built to allow players of different levels the opportunity to have
success and move along in the story without having to post the big point totals.
This is definitely a game that has depth, a host of eye-popping stunts and the
combination of great animation with a terrific musical score.


Scoring Details for Tony Hawk’s Underground 2


Gameplay: 8.9
There are some load times, but once in a level, the game moves smoothly. That
you can tailor the game for your level of play makes for an enjoyable time. Each
level has goals clearly stated, and the story mode is task-based, not timed
based, whereas the classic mode is on a timer.


Graphics: 8.8
With well-designed levels, that are not only on the ground, but have paths well
above the ground, this game sports eye-popping animations.


Sound: 9
Magera’s comments may be a little over-the-top at times, but seem to find a
groove with this game. The musical score is excellent.


Difficulty: Medium

The game breaks it down into three difficulty
levels – easy, normal and sick, and then allows players to score what they need
to trek around the world creating mayhem and destruction as they go.


Concept: 9

World Destruction Tour AND classic mode,
coupled with new moves, unlockables, edit mode, splashing your sticker or logo
all over the world, this is a game with variety and that will equal many hours
of play time.


Multiplayer: 9

Head-to-head competition with a variety of
gameplay styles is a very good thing.


Overall: 9

THUG 2 is bigger and better than its
predecessors, there is no doubt about that. And when one is talking about the
Tony Hawk series being one of the perennial big-selling game franchises, that is
saying a lot. There is a lot to like about this game.