Tony Hawk's Underground
|Tony Hawk's Underground|
|Developer(s)||Neversoft (PS2, Xbox & GC)
Vicarious Visions (GBA)
|Genre(s)||Sports, adventure, platform|
Tony Hawk's Underground is a skateboarding video game, developed by Neversoft and published by Activision in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and Xbox platforms. A Microsoft Windows version was released exclusively in Australia and New Zealand as a budget release in 2004, ported by Beenox. In 2004, its sequel was released.
It is the fifth game in the Tony Hawk's series, and the first not to bear the Pro Skater suffix. It features the ability to create a custom character, and supports face mapping and online play on the PlayStation 2 and PC versions. Unlike its predecessors, Underground focuses heavily on its story mode, plus is also the first game in the series to introduce the ability to travel around levels on foot.
For the first time in the series, the player can get off the board in order to walk, run and climb around as an alternate to skating. This is necessary to reach some locations and challenges. The player is now able to leave the skateboard in the middle of a combo of tricks and continue the combo elsewhere, as long as he or she continues within a time limit. Added to the moves in Underground is the wall push, the wall plant, hip transfer and acid drop.
In each level of the game (usually by beating a challenge that requires it), the player also has an opportunity to use vehicles throughout the level. Encountering the professional skateboarders in each level features them trying to teach the player a new trick to add to their slots (although these goals are not necessary for progression in the game).
Vehicles can also be used in Hotter Than Hell, a level unlocked when successfully beating Story Mode on any difficulty. They can also be accessed in the Create a Goal feature which was a first of the Tony Hawk series. By accessing that level you can get the car you drove for that level. Also, in the Create a Park feature you can use vehicles depending on the background setting.
The game's protagonist in story mode is a custom skater created by the player. By playing the levels and challenges, the player can pre-emptively access the professional playable characters in Free Skate modes, as well as unlock secret and bonus characters through Story Mode. Skaters include Tony Hawk, Chad Muska, Bam Margera, Mike Vallely, Eric Koston, and many others, including secret characters such as Gene Simmons and the other members of KISS, Iron Man, T.H.U.D. (the monster in the Neversoft logo), and Eric Sparrow.
In New Jersey, the player and his/her friend Eric Sparrow explore the area and help prepare for Chad Muska's skate demo. After the demo, the player impresses Muska with their skating as he explores the areas of New Jersey. Muska suggests that the player earn a sponsorship from a local skateshop and gives them a brand-new skateboard to replace their thrashed board. After impressing the sponsored locals, the player is sent to retrieve a stolen skateboard from the local drug dealers, and Eric destroys the drug dealers' SUV in the process. The player then meets up with Stacy Peralta, and asks for a sponsorship from his skate shop. Peralta agrees on the grounds that the player produce a skate video displaying inventive tricks and new skate spots. When the player tells Eric the news, he gives word that the drug dealers are after him. With help from the player, the two leave to Manhattan, New York.
Upon arriving in Manhattan, Eric and the player decide to make a skate video hitting famous lines and tricks in well-known areas of Manhattan, and complete the sponsorship video by performing various tricks over a burning taxi as well as favors for the locals. They also speak with local skaters and learn some new tricks. The player then talks to Stacy, who tells them to join the Tampa AM skate event in Florida. The player also gains access to gear from Stacy's shop.
Upon arriving in Tampa, Eric is arrested for insulting a police officer after the two were pulled over for a broken taillight, leaving the player to do favors to bail out Eric. Upon arriving at the Tampa AM, the player gets into a confrontation with the contest staff after realizing that Eric did not sign him up for the contest. After impressing local pros including Andrew Reynolds, Ryan Clements, Bam Margera, and finally Tony Hawk, the player is allowed into the event. Once the player wins the event, they are offered sponsorships from skateboard sponsors Birdhouse, Element, Flip, Girl, and Zero. Once joining a team, the player is sent to San Diego for a demo.
Upon arriving in San Diego, the player meets his team manager Todd, does several photo shoots, and gains a magazine ad appearance, prompting a party thrown by the team. Eric is soon recruited to the team the next morning, being introduced to the player during a party-induced hangover. When the player and Eric impress their team manager Todd with their performance at the demo, the team is sent to Hawaii to film for a team video.
In Hawaii, the player searches for a spot that has been untouched by skaters, exploring spots such as Wallows, Park and Ride, and Off the Walls. After seeing footage of Eric skating Wallows, the player is emboldened to find a pristine skate spot for their part. The player eventually finds the rooftop of a tall hotel, and calls Eric to film him skating it. When a police helicopter arrives, Eric insists they leave, but the player resolves to perform a McTwist over the helicopter on film, landing on an adjacent hotel awning. The player and his team then travel to Vancouver, Canada.
Upon arriving in Vancouver, the player does some local favors, and is allowed into the Slam City Jam for the contest as well as the team's video premiere after hurriedly finishing his video part. In the final video, the player's footage of the rooftop helicopter jump was edited out, and Eric's part included a gap from the same spot. Todd declares Eric a pro, and presents him his own pro model board. The player enters the Slam City Jam contest, and lies that he is a pro and proceeds to take on a series of pro-competitions. The competition ends in a one-on-one between the player and Eric, and the player is victorious after beating Eric on his own line. Todd is furious at the player for entering a pro contest, but then declares him a pro for winning a pro contest. The player then gains a shoe sponsor, designs a pro model board, and is admitted to the team trip to an international pro skateboard demo in Moscow after last-minute preparations. While practicing for the demo, the player reconciles with Eric, and the two skate a doubles performance together.
In Moscow, the player finds a drunk Eric who steals the keys to a Russian tank, and takes it on a ride through town. The player, attempting to stop the tank while Eric drunkenly joyrides it, accidentally loses control and crashes into a building, becoming trapped inside the tank when a chunk of concrete lands on the hatch. Eric runs off and leaves the player in jail. Todd, unwilling to deal with paying the damages to the building, kicks the player off the team and strands him/her in Moscow. The American Embassy bails the player out and is sent to do favors for the locals prior to departing back to New Jersey.
When player arrives back in New Jersey, he finds that Eric has changed; he is now sponsored and skates solely for money. Eric reveals that he has been plotting to bring the player down. The player resolves to show Eric how wrong he is by making a "soul skating" video; a collection of pure skating exhibitions featuring a team of the best pros selected by the player and Peralta. After the video is released, the player provokes Eric into a challenge in return for the Hawaii video he refused to let air at the Slam City Jam. Upon winning, the player takes the tape from Eric, who throws a temper tantrum.
An alternate ending is shown when the player completes the story a second time. Instead of the player following Eric's line, a cutscene shows him flashing the tape at the player, but in a final frustrated move, the player knocks out Eric onto his car, grabs the tape, and walks away as Stacy looks on, shocked.
Tony Hawk's Underground soundtrack features 78 songs, 72 used in the in-game and 6 more songs used in the in-game skate videos, the soundtrack features music from the late 1960s to the early 2000s, subcategorized into three genres: rock, punk and hip hop. Players have the option to toggle individual songs or entire genres, and the Xbox version allowed players to select playlists saved on their console.
The game received critical acclaim. On Metacritic, the game has an aggregate score of 90/100 for the PS2 version, based on 38 critic reviews. IGN stated that "The gameplay is still as stellar as ever: Neversoft's brilliant collage of on-the-fly experimentation and lighting-fast trick-popping is still as addictive as any drug and as intoxicating as any exotic woman." GameSpot noted "While the classic Tony Hawk gameplay is present, and still fantastic after all this time, the new story mode doesn't make as dramatic of a change as it probably could have." While Eurogamer commented "The marginal improvement on display here is happily eclipsed by rival extreme sports titles which do take steps to reinvent themselves, and partly because there are four other Tony Hawk games out there and they all do much the same thing."
- E3 2003 Game Critics Awards: Best Sports Game
- GameSpot's Best And Worst 2003 Most Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising
- MTV Video Music Awards's 2004 Best Video Game Soundtrack
- October 24, 2003 1:19PM PDT (2003-10-24). "The Sounds of Tony Hawk's Underground - GameSpot.com". Au.gamespot.com. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- "Tony Hawk's Underground for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Tony Hawk's Underground Review for PS2". 1UP.com. 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- Bramwell, Tom (2003-12-01). "Tony Hawk's Underground Review • Reviews • PlayStation 2 •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- "Tony Hawk's Underground Critic Reviews for PlayStation 2". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- Perry, Douglass. "Tony Hawk's Underground". IGN. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- October 28, 2003 4:28PM PST (2003-10-27). "Tony Hawk's Underground Review". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2012-07-07.