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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 Package Art
GENRE
Extreme Sports
DEVELOPER
Vicarious Visions
PUBLISHER
Activision
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1-4
CONNECTIVITY
No
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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Everyone loves Tony Hawk. Everyone loves the games with his name on it. But Birdman does it pretty well on this version of the game. He does it really well. Using the same engine from the previous title, THPS2, it seems that the gameplay stays the same with just a different coat of paint and levels. But who said that's a bad thing?

visuals

Before we go to graphics, I will first mention that the menus are very well done and they do their job. No complaints there.

Graphics-wise, we all know that the Game Boy Advance isn't a GameCube or an Xbox. Think above an SNES but a tad below a Saturn, and you have its power (for all you techies out there). The game is presented in an isometric view with fully-textured polygonal characters. Animation is fully present and impressive, even in the rendered backgrounds (for example, the Airport). The game also makes excellent, excellent use of the color palette. The SNES couldn't do this. There's not really much else to say other than the fact that seeing 3D done on the GBA is pretty damn cool. Seeing people walk around and cars drive by is a bit neat, too. And the engine works!

However, the game is not without its flaws. Sometimes you'll get caught behind an object, and with the isometric view, the game will only produce a silhouette of your character and it's hard to see where to go. Sometimes it's also hard to grind or land a trick due to distorted viewpoint. It takes a while to get used to, which is a bit of a concern.

audio

Twangy MIDI rock and roll. It sounds decent, but if you're on the road, turn it on a great rock station featuring Lostprophets, Green Day, The Ataris, or some other great band. You can rock to that instead. What I don't understand is why developers want to create 3D graphics and not sacrifice some compressed MP3 music. THPS1-3 on the N64 did it well, and the GBA can use similar cart sizes. Oh well.

gameplay

This is the meat of the game. You have the ability to use 13 skaters among the many modes of gameplay: single session, multiplayer (which I'll get to later), a tutorial mode, career, and freeskate. Obviously, everyone is going to start out in career mode. It's a good idea to start out as one skater, and stick to him or her the WHOLE time. Worry about other skaters afterwards. You want to look at the career mode as a console game, not a carry-on portable game because this game is dead serious. It's not a particularly easy game if you expect to finish it in a matter of a few hours. You have a set of goals you must follow, normally starting out with being able to hit a certain amount of points, and the normal collection of the letters, S-K-A-T-E. Among those, you have many others that require your attention if you want to complete the level and fill the requirements needed to go to the next. Of course you know that if you've played a console incarnation, but I want the player to be serious about his or her need to play portable Hawk. It's serious stuff.

The control scheme is what you'd expect from a system with less buttons than the original design demanded. It's a compressed scheme and takes some learning, but hey, it works. The revert move works great, too, even in a portable game like this. Just keep your balance meter in the middle and you'll do fine.

multiplayer

Although I didn't get a great deal of experience with multiplayer, I have played it enough to know what it's like. You connect and have your set of options, like any normal Tony Hawk game. You can select from free skate or trick attack. For those of you who have only one cart, it has something called hot seat, seeing if you can beat the other person's high score. Not bad.

overall

It's not a bad game. When I first got it a few years ago, I was thoroughly impressed. Having to replay it thoroughly for a review made me realize how long it's been. Maybe it's good that I've replayed it after a few years. I must say, it hasn't lost its charm, and it does bring back memories of going to the beach with this sucker, and the few fun times I had with multiplayer.

This will give you at least 30 hours of gameplay if you're a Tony Hawk enthusiast. If you're strictly 100% polygons, stay away and grab the Cube version, otherwise grab this and THPS4 too.

final score 8.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Alex Sankowich
Staff Profile | Email
"It's only after we've lost everything we're free to do anything."


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