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 a sports video game, the sixth installment in Neversoft's Tony Hawk's series and is the sequel to Tony Hawk's Underground. Underground 2 was released on October 5, 2004 in the U.S. for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance platforms. 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. New gameplay features include the Focus ability, which the player may trigger with a full Special gauge to cause time to slow down in order to help keep up their combo (by allowing greater control of their grind balance, for example); the Natas Spin, which can be performed on small surfaces like pillars or fire hydrants; and the Freak Out, which serves as another combo starter by having the player fill a gauge after certain bails, which will result in them angrily disposing of their board before continuing their session. In addition, the Wallplant maneuver was repurposed as the Sticker Slap.
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.
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, Jason "Wee-Man" Acuña, 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 "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. Near the end of the team-picking process, Bam must choose between the protagonist and Paulie. When the protagonist expresses their confusion on not being able to decide between the two, Paulie interprets this as an insult and kicks them. Bam then picks Paulie for his passion, with the protagonist ending up on Tony's team alongside Burnquist, Mullen, Muska, and Vallely, while Bam's is composed of his father, Phil Margera, as an unofficial (and unwilling) captain, Koston, Wee-Man, Sparrow, and the newly-joined Ryan.
At the tour's first location in Boston, Massachusetts, Team Bam manages a last-minute win at the end of the leg 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 into his groin. At the end of the next leg in Barcelona, Spain, 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: a news station reveals photos somehow being taken of the tour so far, as well as a video clip of Bam and Koston playing a prank on Phil: putting a bull in his hotel room and snapping a rubber band into the bull's testicles before running off and leaving Phil to get attacked by the enraged bull. The teams then set off to Berlin, Germany 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, due to his apparent lack of skill, 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 and make the skaters famous, but instead winds up being humiliated by the teams in response, having duct-taped Nigel pantsless to the side of his van. After causing chaos in Bangkok (the skaters were en route to Australia, but Muska suggested a stop in Thailand since it was on the way), the Tour lands in Bondi Beach. Despite Team Bam being behind at the start of the leg (they passed out on a boat in Bangkok and wound up in India), they still manage to 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 before they are eliminated from the tour. However, Mullen spots an error in the score calculation and that the teams are actually tied. A nervous Sparrow reveals he was the last one to score for his team, prompting the pros suggest a contest between the protagonist and Sparrow, with the loser of the tie-breaker 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, who is in the area. Tony then decides that whoever humiliates Beaverhausen the most will stay on the tour. Sparrow steals Nigel's clothes and is confident of his victory, 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, who then proceeds to cause chaos for the locals so that Nigel will be blamed for it. When the locals confront Nigel, a construction worker uses his crane to suspend Nigel in the air by his underwear. The pros are impressed and claim the protagonist wins and gets to move on to the next leg. 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, Louisiana. 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 final leg of the tour in Skatopia, 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, and Nigel hands Bam a blank check as thanks. Despite Bam's enjoyment of the tour being paid for, Tony notes that the tour is not over and that they still need to finish it. A cocky Bam, however, believes Tony's team is too far behind to catch up, but agrees to do the Wheel of Loogies regardless, 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 if successfully pulled off. Mullen, Muska, and Vallely manage to steal a police helicopter, while the protagonist performs tricks using the helicopter while it flies in the area. The stunt is successful, but when the other pros lose control of the chopper and crash it into the swamp, they are arrested. When the protagonist catches up with Tony, the latter ensures the protagonist the other pros will be okay and out of jail in no time. When the protagonist questions if he'll have to skate the last leg alone, Tony denies this and claims he'll be skating with them.
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 locals, but the protagonist somehow gets trapped at the back end of the area. Bam dares the protagonist to exit the whole flaming park in a single combo, offering his team enough points to win if successful, but he still believes to be impossible. Despite this belief, the protagonist manages to achieve the feat, giving Team Hawk the win in the World Destruction Tour. Nigel soon arrives after bailing out the rest of Tony's team 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. Tony and Bam then end the tour by humiliating Nigel one last time, with Bam pulling down his pants while on air on live international television.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2014)
A sequel to Underground was 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 every level from every Neversoft game in the Tony Hawk's 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.
- Perry, Douglass C. (2004-01-29). "Activision Reveals THUG 2, 34% Revenue Increase". IGN. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
- Perry, Douglass C. (2004-09-10). "Neversoft Interview". IGN. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
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- Bramwell, Tom (August 10, 2004). "Tony Hawk's Underground 2". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
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- "The Art of Video Games Exhibition Checklist" (PDF). The Art of Video Games. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- Hester, Blake (Jan 25, 2018). "Tony Hawk Pro Skater Fans Are Keeping the Series Alive With Mods". Vice. Retrieved March 26, 2018.