Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
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Tony Hawk's American Wasteland is a skateboarding video game that was released for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox on October 18, 2005 in North America and October 28, 2005 in Europe, the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005 in North America and December 2, 2005 in Europe as a launch title and a Microsoft Windows port was issued by Aspyr on February 6, 2006 in North America and April 7, 2006 in Europe. It's the seventh entry of the Tony Hawk video game series, developed by Neversoft and published by Activision.
|Tony Hawk's American Wasteland|
|Developer(s)||Neversoft (PS2, Xbox, X360, GC)|
|Platform(s)||GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows|
|Release||GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox|
American Wasteland is the first Tony Hawk's game to support Xbox Live; online play was previously limited to the PlayStation 2 and PC. The Nintendo DS/Game Boy Advance version of this game, American Sk8land, features Wi-Fi capabilities. It was the first third-party DS game to have online support.
In the additional to the Collector's Edition, two exclusive characters and two exclusive levels have been added, this also includes a "Making of Tony Hawk's American Wasteland" documentary.
American Wasteland is the first game in the Tony Hawk's franchise that advertised and allowed the possibility for players to play in one vast level via story mode, which actually seamlessly connects a number of levels without loading times in between, along with also being the first game in the series that allows to freely commandeer stray bicycles and perform freestyle BMX techniques similar to skateboarding. A new maneuver, the Bert Slide, was added to skateboarding controls. In the September 2005 edition of Game Informer, a map was shown displaying American Wasteland's Los Angeles with an insert of an overhead view of the Boston stage from Underground 2 for comparison. The Boston level appeared to be about three quarters the size of one American Wasteland area, with the exception of the "Vans Skatepark" and "Casino" areas.
The game begins with the skater (one of five chosen pre-designed male skaters) boarding a bus to Los Angeles, hoping to get away from the sub-par life in his hometown. Upon arrival in Hollywood, skateboarding punks steal the player's bag after he gets off of the bus. A local skateboarding enthusiast named Mindy helps the player up and offers to help him change his look to fit in better. After a change in wardrobe, the player is quick to reclaim his bag, but Mindy insists that if he is to fit in, he needs to improve his skating skills, and has some local friends, Ian and Duane, teach him some tricks. Eventually, the player confronts one of the punks and challenges them to a skating contest for his bag, which the player wins. Still, the punk tries to run off, but the player beats them with his board and reclaims his bag. The player meets back up with Mindy, who reveals she is an artist working on creating her own skating zine, named "American Wasteland", that she hopes to publish someday. The player then sees a sketch of an awesome local skate park called the "Skate Ranch", and begs Mindy to take him there. Mindy explains that it's a "local's only" spot, but agrees to show the player anyway, and after clearing up a protest blocking their way, the two head to the ranch's entrance in Beverly Hills.
There, the player meets Mindy's skater friends: Boone, Useless Dave, and Murphy, who deny the player entrance due to being an outsider, but decide that if they can impress them, they'll allow the player entry. With help learning more skills from local skaters, the player proves his skills to the group and is let in. He meets the leader of the group, Iggy VanZandt, a rough type who isn't fond of outsiders. Iggy is also initially hostile to the player, but allows them to crash at the ranch after he gathers wood to help finish his half-pipe. While Iggy skates the half-pipe, the player notes Iggy's skating skills, with the group revealing that Iggy was a professional skater back in the day, but couldn't handle the publicity and dropped out of the public eye. After Iggy compliments the player's work on the half-pipe, Mindy comes up with an idea to fix the ranch up and make it into a full-on skatepark, which the rest of the group is enthusiastic about. With the help of Murphy's contacts, the group embark on obtaining skate-able pieces from all over L.A.
From here on in, the overall task is to obtain pieces for the skate ranch, unlocking new areas in L.A. along the way. Eventually, the player participates in the Tony Hawk AmJam, an amateur skating contest taking place in the Vans Skatepark downtown. He wins the AmJam and is interviewed by Tony Hawk, who asks where he learned a unique trick he used during the contest. The player explains he learned it from Iggy VanZandt, prompting confusion from Tony who claims that, "he's been M.I.A. for years". When the player returns to the ranch, however, Iggy is being arrested. Iggy reveals he was living in secrecy to avoid the police for a number of minor offenses until the player publicly revealed at the contest he is still alive. Wanting to make amends for getting Iggy in jail, Mindy suggests the player seek out Iggy's old friends, the Z-Boys, for help. After making his way to Santa Monica, the player meets skating legend Tony Alva, who agrees to help them out if he can prove his old-school skating skills. After impressing Alva, the player learns of Iggy's history with the Z-Boys, and shows the player an old photo of "Green Pipes Point," a legendary snake run that got filled in many years ago. However, the player recognizes Green Pipes Point as being Iggy's ranch. When the player decides to have it dug up, Alva suggests meeting with his friend Mega, an oil rig worker, who is quick to assist in digging up the snake run.
While Mega works on digging up GPP, the player learns from Mindy that Boone has been kidnapped by his old street gang and needs rescuing from East L.A., but the gang in question, the Black Widowz, controls passage through the only tunnel leading to the area, prompting the player to join the gang to be allowed entry. After passing the initiation tests, the player successfully joins the Widowz and makes his way to East L.A., eventually rescuing Boone and grabbing new pieces for the ranch once there. When Mega finishes digging up Green Pipes Point, the player gets a phone call from Iggy in jail. When the player explains the restoration of GPP, Iggy is furious; he explains that he doesn't own the land, nor does he have enough money to buy it himself, and that once publicity of GPP hits, the real owner will sell it. Sure enough, the real owner locks up the ranch and makes plans to sell it. Iggy returns to the now locked up skate ranch enraged, the player apologizing to no avail. Their tempers flare and Iggy punches out the player for the trouble they've caused, who then snaps at Mindy, claiming her desire to improve the ranch caused all of this to happen. Mindy storms off, but when the player tries to apologize as she leaves, Murphy, Dave, and Boone take him away to discuss something important.
The group informs the player that Tony Hawk is currently in the area, believing that if they can convince him and other local pros to be in a "Save Green Pipes Point" video, they can sell the video online, and use the proceeds to save the ranch from the auction block. The player then rounds up several pros throughout L.A., including pro BMX rider Mat Hoffman for the video. Iggy later catches up with the group and reconciles with the player about their argument, also assuring him that Mindy will eventually forgive them for their argument as well. The group then learns of a vacant casino in East L.A., and decide to trash it as the finale for the video. They eventually succeed, as Murphy informs the group that the video has made enough money to buy the ranch back through online pre-orders alone. Leaving the casino, the group are met by the police. The player manages to evade them, skating all the way through the city back to the ranch with the casino footage unscathed. The player arrives to the completed American Wasteland, which Iggy now owns thanks to the success of the video. To celebrate, he throws a party at the ranch, with everyone in town invited. At the party, the player apologizes to a returning Mindy, who accepts their apology and shows off the first edition of her newly published magazine, "American Wasteland", with the player on the cover. Iggy then reveals to Mindy that the player helped publish it using the funds for the video; she is flattered and the two kiss.
The game received generally positive reviews, with the general consensus being that the advertisement of Los Angeles being "one big level" as opposed to the previous games' series of levels was false, since the "one level" was a series of levels accessible from one another via bland corridors that simply masked the necessary loading times. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot took note of how "shockingly easy" the game was compared to previous entries in the series, and how "most of the game feels like a tutorial", adding that "the game really seems bent on holding your hand every step of the way." although others have viewed this in a light that showcased the game's hefty amount of possibilities, tricks, and techniques that the player character can perform in comparison to previous games. Many critics also noted the general lack of evolution in the series, although many saw this as a good thing since the original gameplay was so popular to begin with and didn't need unnecessary tampering.
Many critics praised the game on its story. Chris Roper of IGN praised Neversoft's decision to "go back to its roots and make a game about skating" as opposed to "the chaos and destruction of the Underground games." Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot stated "the saving grace of the story mode is that the story it tells is actually pretty good. It follows the standard 'ragtag group of misfits' struggles to save the place they call home from evil real estate moguls' plot that drove such classic films as Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo." Adding that "along the way, the characters become a little endearing".
- "Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Day One Launch Lineup — Strongest Launch in the History of Video Game Consoles". Microsoft. November 14, 2005. Retrieved November 14, 2005.
- Esposito, Trevor. "PlanetTonyHawk: Hawk History". The History Of The Tony Hawk Series. Archived from the original on August 19, 2012.