Tony Hawk's Underground 2
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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 4, 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.
|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|
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".
The protagonist is skating in their hometown, a neighbourhood 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. 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, the player joins Team Hawk while Bam chooses Paulie "Wheels of Fury" Ryan, a potty-mouthed kid who wears a body cast and drives a high powered wheelchair.
In Boston, the first leg of the tour, Team Bam manages to win at the last minute, thanks to one of Paulie's stunts. As a result, Bob Burnquist (a member of Team Hawk) is eliminated, via having a tennis ball shot at his genitals. Later on, in Barcelona, Team Hawk manages to take the lead again, however, the punishment for Team Bam is to having the player swap teams (in this case, Eric moves from Bam's team to Tony's team and the player doing the opposite, much to Bam's relief and Tony's annoyance.) At that time though, word had spread out about the World Destruction Tour, which was supposed to be a low-profile event but now is appearing on TV news. In Berlin, the player and Sparrow are swapped back. At that moment, an underground film "writer, producer, director" by the name of Nigel Beaverhausen wishes to bring the tour to the public but instead winds up being humiliated by Tony and Bam. After causing chaos in Bangkok (the skaters were en route to Australia, though Chad Muska suggested a stop in Thailand), the Tour lands in Australia (actually, Bam's team arrives later due to departure problems that make them wind up in India). At the end of the leg, the player is supposed to be eliminated by being stripped naked and hit by mousetraps launched at him/her, but due to Rodney Mullen spotting a mathematical error in the team's points, the player has to compete with Eric - the loser will be eliminated from the tour. The group ponders what to do when an Australian skater kid shows them a video of the tour, created by Beaverhausen. Bam then decides that whoever humiliates Beaverhausen will stay on the tour. Eric only manages to steal his clothes but the player, with Nigel's clothes (Bam's idea, as he too does not want Eric around anymore), goes off causing rampage on Australian citizens so that Beaverhausen will be blamed for it. Eric is eliminated as a result, in which to tour kicks off to New Orleans.
At the end of the New Orleans leg, Nigel revealed that he filmed the whole tour, even before he met Tony and Bam in Berlin. Nigel then proposes that if he is allowed to film the whole tour, he will pay for all the damages of the tour. After Phil Margera shows Tony and Bam the long damage bill (with a high final money sum), they accept. Team Hawk then performs a death-defying stunt called the "Equalizer" to tie up with Team Bam and is successful, but team members Mike Vallely, Muska, and Mullen are arrested by the cops for stealing the helicopter used for the stunt, leaving only the player and Hawk for the final leg of the Tour: Skatopia, defined by Tony as "the skateboarding Mecca". Team Hawk, though reduced to two members, performs well enough to win, Bam decided to blow up Skatopia, confident on his victory. In order to save people from the imminent damage, Tony quickly evacuates the skaters and so, thereafter, Bam dares the player, who is still stuck in the back end of Skatopia, to exit the whole flaming park in a combo, which he considers impossible. But the player takes the dare and give sTeam Hawk the win for the World Destruction Tour. Nigel then wants Bam to give him the tape of the tour, which only shows Bam's father, Phil Margera in the toilet, shouting to his wife April for more toilet paper. The game ends with Bam and Tony humiliating Beaverhausen once more, as Bam pulls down his pants on international TV.
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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.