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Tony Hawk's Underground 2 - Console Game Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


THUG 2 Box Art
The Tony Hawk games dynasty has dominated the video game world for years, and been only barely contested. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater games let you play the role of your favorite pro, or let you make up your own character and try to compete your way to the top. Tony Hawk's Underground took players deeper into the experience with role playing aspects as players tried to prove themselves as a rookie skater. Tony Hawk's Underground 2 takes another turn - bigger, better, and much crazier.

The Story

Tony Hawk's Underground 2's story starts out with your character being kidnapped after slamming into a van that stops right in the middle of your halfpipe. You discover, after some freaking out, that you have been selected to go on Tony Hawk and Bam Margera's "World Destruction Tour," where two teams (one lead by Tony and one lead by Bam) will travel the world, skating awesome spots and racking up points by doing the most crazy, outlandish tricks imaginable, by tormenting locals, and by causing as much destruction as possible. The losing team has to pay for the whole tour, so there's plenty of motivation to prove yourself - not to mention that you get picked last, even after a psychotic foul mouthed wheel-chair bound kid with monstrous headgear and his arm in a cast.

New Features

THUG 2 Natas Spin
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is in many ways similar to the original Tony Hawk's Underground, just with more in almost every way. The Create-A-Skater section is immense, the Create-A-Trick section is awesome, all the great tricks and controls are back but with more.

One new "trick" involves first bailing hard. After your character takes a particularly painfull fall, you get the chance to fill a freak out meter - depending on how well you freak out, the higher of a trick modifier bonus you'll get to start out with after the bail.

Neversoft also added a "focus mode" that acts like the old Matrix bullet time, where you can slowly use up your special meter to go in slow motion. It works well for pulling off cool combos, but even better for showing off.

The game has plenty of other fun new tricks and features to spice up gameplay - Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is simply bigger and better than the first THUG, and anything else out there.

Game Play

Tony Hawk's Underground 2's levels are immense and seriously chuck full of hidden places, destructible areas and wild stunts to attempt. Each level also features a pro skater that you get to chose to have skate along with you, one guest star on a crazy device (on the first level it's Jesse James on a souped-up two wheel scooter, on the second level is Steve-o on a mechanical bull...), and one other unique skater specific to the area (in Boston it's a Benjamin Franklin look-alike, in Spain it's a Matador...). That means that each level will have four skateable characters, each with their own list of unique goals. Like I said, this game is packed with things to do.

Developing your character is fluid and smooth. You gain stat points by skating, and you will inevitably end up better at the tricks you like doing more. For example, in order to gain stat points in balance, you have to first grind a certain distance. Once you do, you gain a balance stat point. To gain another you must grind a little further. So, if you grind a lot, you will end up gaining more grind stat points and be better at it. If you never skate switch, you will never gain stat points for skating switch. It's a brilliant role playing system.

Classic Mode

THUG 2 Boston Jessie James
And as if that wasn't enough, in Tony Hawk's Underground 2 you can also play in a classic mode, similar to the original Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. The levels are the same, only there are more of them, each with old school goals like collecting S-K-A-T-E, or C-O-M-B-O in one combo, finding the tape, etc all within a two minuet timer. And any stat points gained in classic mode carry over to the story mode.

Multiplayer (2 player)

For Tony Hawk's Underground 2, Multiplayer is exactly like the first Tony Hawk Underground but with a couple of new games, like firefight, where you try to shoot fireballs of the bottom of your board and knock down your opponent. The multiplayer is as fun as always, but it's only two player. That's my first complaint about Tony Hawk's Underground 2. The second would be the lack of online gaming support on every platform except PS2...

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