The skating is larger than life, the
tricks are huge, the stages are layered horizontally and are expansive … in
other words, the game is BIG. When Shaba Games took Tony Hawk’s Underground 2
Remix to the PSP, the company faced quite a challenge.
After all, THUG 2 has had a really
successful run on other platforms, and comparisons to taking the World
Destruction Tour onto the handheld would be inevitable. Pronounce the port a
success on all levels. Ok, maybe the screen initially looks a little small to hold
all that the levels and skills contain, but settle into the game and all that
has made Tony Hawk’s Underground series a success is right here.
The game has the classic mode, and
the aforementioned World Destruction Tour, but the game adds WiFi play with
four-person multiplayer, and four new levels for gaming enjoyment. In other
words, everything you loved about THUG is here, plus.
The game has several play modes:
Story mode, Classic mode, WiFi play, High Score/Free Skate, Horse (new to this
port), and Create-A-Modes (create a skater, graphic, goal or trick).
For those unfamiliar with the game,
the story mode is essentially a world destruction tour in which two teams of
skateboarders compete for point totals while causing mayhem in several
locations. The first of the four new levels comes into play after a quick trip
through the training area. After that, you are let loose on the streets of Santa
Cruz. There are objectives and once you score enough points, you can move along.
During each level, there are secret
areas to discover, a teammate you can quickly use for added tricks and goals,
and a special guest to unlock. Some of the special guests are part of pop
culture and some are historical figures. During the Santa Cruz scenario, you may
discover a special character that warns you of a pending storm. The graphics
change from a terrific sunny day to a gray overcast setting.
Tony is the team leader and the
overall goal is to score enough points, to keep the contest thriving. In many
ways, this is a somewhat scripted and linear aspect of the game. You will wind
up trailing, and after a level, the trailing team has to cut loose a teammate.
You can save your game at almost any
juncture, and there are several game settings that will allow players to tailor
the game experience. You can unlock cheat codes and game movies.
The create modes allow you to
customize a skater, even design the sticker that is used in the sticker-slap
move, or the graffito you will spray paint on walls. The four levels let players
run the streets of Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Kyoto and
The controls are minus two shoulder
keys from the PS2 version, but the controls really don’t seem to have suffered
too much because of that. The game is very easy to control and the learning
curve is really not that long, especially if you have played this game on other
The sounds are terrific with the
entire THUG 2 soundtrack moved over here, and while it sounds decent on the tiny
speaker system, the game’s robust soundtrack soars on headphones.
Graphically, this game does have a
few problems with clipping in some areas, if you miss the landing zone and end
up behind the ramp, and the camera can prohibit players from truly seeing a path
to freedom, but jump around a bit and you will extricate yourself without losing
too much time. Generally, the camera does a great job of following the
skateboarder, and showing off the tricks.
THUG 2 Remix plays very well and the
PSP is a great way to experience the depth and challenge of this game on the go.
If you want a great soundtrack underscoring dynamic skateboarding action, Tony
Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix is the game you want to own.
The options package is rich and once into a level/scenario, the game moves well.
You can waste time in doing freak outs, but there is a purpose to it and players
will find the controls work well on the platform.
There are a few clipping problems where the skateboarder can miss a jump (like
in Barcelona) and land behind some barriers, and the camera angle – swinging
around to try to lock behind the boarder – makes it tough to see how to
extricate from the situation. The animations, though, are well done.
This game sounds great with headphones on. The soundtrack is terrific and while
the voice-overs are merely Ok, they don’t detract from the real joy of the game,
which is the skateboarding (wonderfully driven along by the soundtrack).
This is a game that takes skill, quick controller reactions and the ability to
move along a chosen path from one trick platform to the next with little
hesitation. Fast paced it may be, but there are several difficulty levels to
appease players of any skill level.
The developers did a remarkable job of porting the game to the PSP platform,
keeping the control scheme more or less intact and adding four new levels to
boot. Hats off to Shaba Games.
Up to four players can compete through the WiFi and though there is not a wide
variety of player modes, the games that are available, like HORSE, are rather
The game has a few minor stumbles, but manages to deliver the Tony Hawk
Underground experience jam-packed onto the smaller screen. Four new levels, and
wi-fi connectivity for multiplayer make for a terrific PSP title.