Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone









With the release of Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s GameCube, it seems that the Winter/Holiday frenzy has only just begun. Consumers are lining up at various stores and outlets, desperate for the chance to pick up the latest game experience that these new consoles and their titles have to offer. But with all of the hoopla and hype that is going around this season with these ‘next generation’ of game consoles, it is a breath of fresh air to see that Sony and a plethora of game developers have not forsaken nor forgot its aging PlayStation.

The latest ‘surprise’ release to hit store shelves happens to a continuation of one of the most popular series of games of all time for the PS1:  Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. This third installment of the skateboard game pushes the PS1’s hardware to its limits with a new remarkably enhanced graphics engine (compared to previous versions), while giving skateboard fans a chance visit and skate many new real world locations as one of their favorite pro skaters.

Fans of skateboarding and the PlayStation now have the chance to celebrate together with the unwarranted and unexpected release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 for Sony’s one-time flagship gaming console.  It is no secret that the third installment of the Tony Hawk series of games has been in the works for sometime for the PS2 system, but thanks to Sony’s reaffirmation of commitment to its original groundbreaking game platform, the legions of gamers that haven’t had the chance to jump aboard the ‘hype-train’ of second generation game consoles as of yet can also enjoy the quality game play and action that is inherent within Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.

Published by Activision’s O2 brand (their extreme sports game division) and developed jointly by Neversoft Software and Shaba Games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 continues the same quality, action, and realism that has been a part of the success for the skateboard series of releases.  Not only that, but fans of the original two releases will find that the gameplay and controls also remain unchanged in this latest Tony Hawk title, allowing returning gamers the ability to jump directly into the new levels and characters available to play.  Newcomers to the game might find the controls slightly awkward at first, however, with the 3-D rotating world and continuous character movement involved in the game. Even the most novice of extreme sports game players should be able to learn the basics after sometime with some practice, especially with the relatively simple trick scheme that is available.

As with the previous Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games, the third edition contains the same multiple modes of play including the career mode, single session, two player, free skate, and a park editor. All of the other modes of gameplay (save the park editor) are completely dependent on the career mode progression, however. Simply put, you must complete the levels of play in progression within the career mode to unlock subsequent levels: after that, players are free to explore the level at their leisure. Completing levels requires the fulfillment of specific goals (5 out of a roughly 10 possible), with each set tailored to the present level. Goals range from specific types of tricks at unique areas, individuals tasks performed (i.e., turning on power outlets and water facets), finding secret areas, and overall scored points within the present game. Again, as with other extreme sports games, combinations of tricks performed with your skateboard pulls in more points: the more difficult the trick, the more points scored.

Thirteen pro skaters are available to play in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, including Tony Hawk himself, Steve Caballero, Chad Muska, Buck Lasek, and Elissa Steamer. Each skater has their own unique set of stats, tricks, and signature skating styles that are unique on the game, allowing each pro to stand out while playing them. The latest enhancements to the groundbreaking Neversoft engine used to model the characters has pushed the hardware in the PI to its upper limits:  the characters are not only sharper than before, but the load times for each level have also reduced significantly.

The biggest feature of this game (as well as the best reason to purchase it) has to be the eight new levels of gameplay available to shred, grind, ollie, and crack your skull on. Some of the most popular international real-world locations to skate have been added to this new edition of THPS, including Los Angeles , Tokyo , Rio de Janeiro , and Canada . Several non-descript locations are also available to skate (when unlocked) including an airport and a foundry. All of the new areas have one thing in common: their massive sizes.  Each level contains a notably larger area to explore than in previous releases, giving that many more options to perform tricks upon.  The possibilities that are available when trying to complete the pre-set of goals per level are just outstanding, giving so many more options than ever before. The larger areas also gives way to more secret places to find and skate within the game, adding even that much more challenge to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.

Last but definitely not least, the addition of the park editor is an added breath of fresh air. Fast becoming an industry standard with these types of sports action games, the editor gives you the freedom to create your own park that is tailored to your own specific needs and creativity. The set up controls are easy to learn and to implement, allowing anyone of any age to jump right in and create their own truly unique park. This alone can add a great deal of replay ability to the game, keeping it a useful addition to your Playstation game collection long after the player has conquered the other levels of the game.