Tony Hawk's Underground 2
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|Tony Hawk's Underground 2|
|Designer(s)||Leonel Zuniga (GBA)|
|Writer(s)||Rob Hammersley (PS2/Xbox/GC/PC)|
|Platform(s)||GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance|
|Release||GameCube, PlayStation 2 & Xbox|
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is the sixth installment in Neversoft's Tony Hawk's series and is the sequel to Tony Hawk's Underground. Underground 2 was first released on October 4, 2004 in the US for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance platforms.
Although not the first game in the franchise to be released in a seventh generation console (that would be American Wasteland the following year), Underground 2 is also backward compatible with the Xbox 360. On March 15, 2005, it was released for the PlayStation Portable and renamed Tony Hawk's Underground 2: Remix, which includes extra levels and characters.
The gameplay in Underground 2 is similar to that of previous Tony Hawk games: the player skates around in a 3D environment modeled after various cities and attempts to complete various goals. Most goals involve skating on or over various objects or performing combos. Scores are calculated by adding the sum of the point value of each trick strung together in a combo and then multiplying by the number of tricks in the combo.
Many levels return from previous games, including an expanded warehouse (which also serves as the Story Mode's training area), School and Downhill Jam from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Canada, Los Angeles and Airport from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and Philadelphia from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. The main menu contains the player next to the "Wheel of Loogies." The choices are on the wheel.
A classic mode was added to Underground 2, which allows players to skate through both new and remade classic levels in the traditional 10-goal, two-minute time limit mode that was present in Pro Skater, Pro Skater 2 and Pro Skater 3, complete with the stat points scattered all around the levels. In classic mode, the player chooses from one or two levels in which to attempt to complete enough goals to advance. All of the "remade" levels are accessible only through "Classic Mode" although once unlocked, it is possible to use them in any mode except "Story Mode".
One year after the events of the previous game, the protagonist is skating in their hometown, a neighborhood in New Jersey, when a van shows up in the middle of the ramp and the protagonist slams into it, knocking them out. Two people wearing hockey masks kidnap the protagonist and take them to a dark room with other skaters including the protagonist's friend-turned-rival Eric Sparrow, Bob Burnquist, Mike Vallely, Eric Koston, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Paulie "Wheels of Fury" Ryan, an obnoxious kid in a bodycast who rides on a motor-powered wheelchair. The kidnappers, revealed to be Tony Hawk and Bam Margera, explain their plans for their debut annual "World Destruction Tour", a worldwide, publicity-free skateboarding tour where two teams (Team Hawk and Team Bam) compete for points, and the losing team has to pay for all the expenses. The teams are then picked; the protagonist is left as a last pick for Team Hawk when Bam chooses Paulie.
Team Bam manages a last-minute win in the tour's first location, Boston, with help from a stunt by Paulie. As a result, Team Hawk must face punishment from "The Wheel of Loogies", a large game wheel with various outcomes spread throughout. Bam hocks a loogie on "Cut One Loose", which means one of Team Hawk is to be eliminated from the rest of the tour. Playing Russian Roulette with a tennis ball launcher, Burnquist is eliminated from the team when the launcher shoots a tennis ball shot into his groin. At the end of the next leg in Barcelona, Tony's team takes the lead and wins the leg; however, the Wheel of Loogies punishment for Team Bam is "Rookie Swap", where each team's rookies, the protagonist and Sparrow, swap teams, much to Eric's delight and the protagonist's chagrin. At this time though, word has spread out about the World Destruction Tour as a news station reveals a video clip of Bam and Koston putting a bull in Phil Margera's hotel room and snapping a rubber band into the bull's testicles before running off and leaving Phil to get attacked by the now-outraged bull. The teams then set off to Berlin in hopes of shaking media attention.
At the end of the Berlin leg, the members of Team Hawk have grown tired of having Eric Sparrow on their team, but are relieved when Tony announces the Wheel of Loogies hit "Rookie Swap" again, and that Sparrow and the protagonist are swapped back. At that moment, an underground film "writer, producer, director" named Nigel Beaverhausen offers to bring the tour to the public, but instead winds up being humiliated by the teams in response. After causing chaos in Bangkok (the skaters were en route to Australia, but Muska suggested a stop in Thailand), the Tour lands in Bondi Beach. Despite Team Bam being behind at the start of the leg (they passed out on a boat and wound up in India), they emerge victorious at the end. Team Hawk's punishment is that the protagonist, being the last person to score for their team when the leg was over, is stripped down to his/her underwear and hit by mousetraps. However, Mullen spots an error in the score calculation and that the teams are actually tied, and the pros suggest a contest between the protagonist and Sparrow (the last person to score on Bam's team), with the loser of the tiebreaker being eliminated from the tour. The group ponders what contest to do between the two when a local skater kid shows them a video of the tour, created by Beaverhausen. Tony then decides that whoever humiliates Beaverhausen the most will stay on the tour. Eric steals Nigel's clothes, but Bam, tired of having Sparrow on his team, gives the stolen clothes and a mask to the protagonist to make them look like Beaverhausen. They then proceed to cause chaos for Australian citizens so that Nigel will be blamed for it. When the Australian citizens confront Nigel, a construction worker uses his crane to suspend Nigel in the air by his underwear. The protagonist wins and Eric is booted off the tour. When Sparrow begs to remain on the tour, however, Nigel's underwear snaps, and he falls onto Sparrow's head butt-first off-camera.
The tour advances to New Orleans. At the end of the leg, Nigel appears yet again and reveals that he has filmed the entire tour, even before he met Tony and Bam in Berlin. Though initially met with threats of violence, Nigel then proposes that if he is allowed to film the remainder of the tour, he will pay for all the damages. After Phil shows Tony and Bam the long damage bill (a final money sum of over $21,000,000), they accept. Despite Bam's enjoyment of the tour being paid for, Tony still has some unfinished business. A cocky Bam, however, believes Team Hawk is too far behind to catch up, but agrees to do the Wheel of Loogies, using a drunk local to hock the loogie. However, the loogie hits "The Equalizer" target, much to Bam's disappointment. "The Equalizer", a large stunt involving all the members of Team Hawk, would tie up the game is successfully pulled off. The stunt is successful, but Vallely, Muska, and Mullen are arrested for stealing (and sinking) the helicopter used for the stunt, leaving only the protagonist and Tony for the final leg of the Tour: Skatopia, in the backwoods of Ohio, defined by Tony as "the skateboarding Mecca".
At the end of the Skatopia leg, Team Hawk still performs well enough to win, but Bam, confident on his victory, decides to blow up Skatopia with a large arsenal of fireworks and explosives. In order to save people from the imminent damage, Tony quickly evacuates the skaters, but the protagonist gets trapped at the back end of Skatopia. Bam dares the protagonist to exit the whole flaming park in a single combo, offering his team 1000 points if successful, but he believes to be impossible regardless. Despite this belief, the protagonist manages to achieve the feat, giving Team Hawk the win in the World Destruction Tour. Nigel soon arrives and wants Bam to give him the tape of the tour, having also brought a live television crew to show off the footage to the entire world. However, the footage is revealed to only be Phil in the bathroom defecating and yelling to his wife April for more toilet paper. Bam and Tony then end the tour by humiliating Nigel once more, with Bam pulling down his pants while on air.
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A sequel to Underground was first announced on January 29, 2004. During development, developer Neversoft sent its members to locations featured in-game in order to get better acquainted with the areas.
The game received generally positive reviews from critics, with GameRankings scores ranging from 70% to 86% and Metacritic scores from 82% to 85%. It was nominated to be part of the Smithsonian's "The Art of Video Games" display for the PlayStation 2 section under the Action genre, but lost to Shadow of the Colossus.
The plot received mixed comments. Douglass C. Perry of IGN found the plot to be less "endearing" than Underground's, and while he enjoyed the story mode's gameplay, other staff at IGN did not, opting instead for the Classic mode. A reviewer from GameSpot enjoyed the story mode, but felt it was too short. In contrast, Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer felt there were plenty of levels, and saw the plot as enjoyable and unintrusive, if unintelligent. Ben Silverman of Game Revolution also thought the campaign was noticeably short, but also that "that's actually a blessing, though, because the plot and cut-scenes are pretty lame." Perry enjoyed the level design, but noted some slowdown in the levels due to their size.
Some critics noted that the gameplay had not been significantly upgraded from Underground. Silverman and Perry were unimpressed with the short selection of moves introduced in Underground 2. GameSpot agreed, but concluded that "while not all of these changes are all that great, the core gameplay in THUG2 is still very strong". In contrast, Bramwell felt that the Sticker Slap and additional flip and grab tricks were meaningful, enjoyable additions. The addition of Classic mode, was praise by 1UP.com, who considered superior to the Story mode in terms of levels, while adding "Gamers weaned on PS1 Hawks will shed a tear, while newer fans will get a lesson on how things started."
The aesthetics were generally well received. Perry praised the aesthetics, which he described as more cartoony, especially in the pro skater models, than those of previous Tony Hawk's games. Regarding the sound, he praised both the sound effects and the music. Silverman particularly commended the soundtrack's variety for including songs outside the traditional skating genres of punk, rock, and hip hop. Conversely, Bramwell greatly disliked the soundtrack—although he admitted it suited its purpose of accompanying skateboarding—and also found the graphical upgrades to be minor and noted frequent issues with slowdown.
THUG PRO (Tony Hawk's Underground: Pro) is a community-made mod of Underground 2. The mod's concept is to use Underground 2's game mechanics in levels from all of the games in the Pro Skater series for use in single-player and online multiplayer gameplay. The mod is in beta status, under current development, and has been continuously updated since its initial beta release in 2013.
THUG PRO focuses on online multiplayer as its main game mode. There is no single-player campaign or missions/goals of any kind, and its only single-player mode is "Freeskate", which allows players to practice for online play. Online multi-player consists of all tradition game-types featured throughout the games of the series.
The mod's first official beta release was on August 10, 2013. In its initial release, the mod featured all levels from Tony Hawk's Underground and Underground 2, as well as custom park themes from Pro Skater 4 and American Wasteland. In January 2014, all levels from Pro Skater 4 were added. The mod is free to download, but the player must have a copy of Tony Hawk's Underground 2. The recent beta has added new levels such as "Atlanta", "Santa Cruz", and "Vans Park" from American Wasteland, "High School", "Fun Park", and "City Center" from the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PSP versions of Project 8, "Andy's Room" from Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure, the Pro Skater 3 versions of "Warehouse" and "Burnside", and "Roswell" and "Chicago" from Pro Skater. On December 13, 2015, the rest of the Pro Skater 3 levels were added. The mod features PC and PS2 control profiles, gameplay tweaks, as well as the ability to use long-boards.
At the time of the mod's initial beta launch, Luke Plunkett of Kotaku was optimistic about the idea of all levels in the series being available for online play. In reviews of the critically panned 2015 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, reviewers cited THUG PRO as a more enjoyable and affordable Tony Hawk's Pro Skater experience.
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