Review by CrazyElmo

"Neversoft's magnum opus"

Ah, yes. The third Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. How I have awaited thee. From its landmark first game, this series has simply crushed all other skateboarding games and raised the standard of what an extreme sports game should be. It has also spawned many, many inferior attempts at cloning its formula. This sequel, aptly titled Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, is a port of the PS2 version of the game, and a faithful one it is. Let's begin our review, shall we?

PLAYCONTROL-10 Some have complained that the control in this port is inferior to that on PS2. Wrong. While it is true that the GCN controller has one button fewer than the Dual Shock 2, it isn't a problem. Also, the layout of the buttons lends itself nicely to THPS3, whether you started the series on DC, N64, or PS-X, or if this is your first Tony title. (All this is assuming you don't make the mistake of attempting to use the D-pad.) The in-game control is nice and tight; you have only yourself to blame for any missed move. The physics and collision are dead-on--well, the collision is. The physics are low-gravity, but that's what makes it fun!

GRAPHICS-10 Ladies and gentlemen, this is what next-gen is all about! The graphics are great; playing this then going back to THPS1 for PS-X is a laughable experience. The fluidity of animation is wonderful. I have not seen it slow from a constant 60 frames per second. The skater models have (I believe) 10 times the poly count of those in THPS2. Vibrant colors abound in huge environments which you can see the span of thanks to an amazing draw distance.

SOUND-10 I hate the soundtrack. But the sound gets a ten. Confused yet? Well, I have strange tastes in music, but everyone else thinks it's the best thing since sliced bread. Therefore, I can't judge the quality based on my own musical tastes. The ambient sound (which you can truly experience by turning off the soundtrack) is some of the best I've ever heard, with planes flying overhead, ice cream trucks jingling, people shouting insults or lavish praise...the list goes on. The effort these guys put into this game's sound is apparent everywhere.

ENTERTAINMENT-10 The core of the game. Honestly, I could play this game until the radiation from my television reduced my eyes to smoking sockets and still have a grin on my face. After you're done beating the game with the pros, you can try the unspeakably cool hidden unlockable characters. You think Spider-Man in THPS2 was cool? You ain't seen nothing yet! After that, you can create a character of your own with a create-a-skater tool that is vastly superior to THPS2's. (I myself have three--me, my girlfriend, and a pirate named Captain O'Funk.) The levels you bring these fine folk into are gigantic, each containing some sort of hidden area. Vehicles, people and goals abound, and some of the voice-overs and situations are nothing short of hilarious. If--and I mean IF--you get bored with the basic and unlockable levels, you can--you guessed it--create your own! The level editor is head and shoulders above Hawk 2's, and includes a bunch of programmer-created parks for play and/or inspiration. And what would Tony Hawk be without multiplayer? There are 2-player modes with rules ranging from simply beating your opponent's score to smacking him around. Sadly, online multiplayer is gone from this version, but I really don't seem to care.

REPLAY VALUE-10 You'll have to beat the game numerous times to unlock everything, unless you want the shame of knowing you used input codes instead of EARNING your perks! Fortunately, playing lots of Tony Hawk is a far from tedious chore. To prevent boredom, objects like stat increases and new decks are in different locations in the levels depending on the skater. You can switch in new moves if you're tired of the ones you're using, or change your skater's clothes at any time (though there are limits to the changes you can make on cretain skaters.) Multiplayer, level editor, and skater create add to the game's impressive replay value. In the event you do get bored, I personally guarantee you'll be hooked again soon.

BUY OR RENT-I think you know what I'll say here. If you loved THPS1 and/or 2, get this now--why are you still here? Go! If you're a newbie, rent first. Although this is the best skateboarding game there is, see if you like this sort first.

OVERALL: 10 Simply put, this is a wonderful game. If you own a GameCube, this really is a must-have title, up there with Super Smash Bros: Melee and Rogue Leader. THPS3 is gaming paradise.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/28/02, Updated 01/28/02

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