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November 12, 2004
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
8/10/2004ActivisionNeversoft1-8 M15+Easy
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
134KBDolby Pro Logic IIYesNoNoneYes

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Hitting the hydrant...
In all my time of reviewing, and it hasn't been that long, I'd never thought I'd be so disappointed in a quality developer and publisher. But sadly, it looks as if Neversoft and Activision have finally let me down, as much as I hate to admit it, they have finally given me something to cry about. You may remember Tony Hawk's Underground, it was the skateboarding game that changed the face of the extreme sports genre. Well, let's just say, somewhere along the line, Activision fell backward, and so did the Tony Hawk series.

Well, quite simply, much like it's predecessor, this is a game that involves 'you', but this time around, you are also able to use team members from your team, whether you be on Team Bam, or Team Hawk. You see, in case you're unaware, you are supposedly still playing as your character from the original Tony Hawk's Underground, as you're picked up in New Jersey in a mysterious black van, that abducts you, and holds you hostage for a brief moment. You are then informed by Tony Hawk and Bam Margera, that you have been selected to take part in the World Destruction Tour. That is simply a tour around the world, visiting several locations performing insane stunts, and wreaking havoc on the citizens and various landmarks of the cities. It may remind you a little of the 'Scavenger Hunt' held on MTV's Viva La Bam, if you're a follower of the series, where the contestants did outrageously stupid things to gain points for their teams, and each item on the list had a different point value (depending on the severity of it). Because simply, this is all Tony Hawk's Underground 2 has been reduced to, being known as simply "Jackass: The Game", and how disappointing it is.

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Time to Spazz Out!!!
Let's face it, Tony Hawk's Underground was a global hit, mainly because of it's added elements, with all the walking and whatnot, and that was fine. Because that actually added something new and enjoyable to the series, but what Activision have done this time around is nothing short of tragic. They've almost taken all of the focus off of skateboarding to make way for the ridiculous going-ons influenced by television shows like Jackass, and Viva La Bam, and that is a real shame, because those who wanted the series to continue in the right direction and to continue dominating the skateboarding genre will be sadly disappointed. Because simply, this game takes so many staggers backward, it really hurts my head.

The gameplay has become nothing more than a bland rehash of Tony Hawk's Underground, only this time more involved with causing mayhem, and honestly, that becomes very boring after it loops in the same process after the first three levels. Activision have destroyed skateboarding, it sounds very critical, but unfortunately that's exactly what they've done. They ruined what could have been a potential game.

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Graphics are pretty good.
But this time around, simply because the last game was so short and disappointing when it came to replay value, Activision decided to re-introduce the 'Classic Mode', which of course consisted of the timed runs, and various objectives that needed to be completed. This was obviously added again, to satisfy the hunger of those die-hard fans of the original first three Hawk games, although honestly the mode isn't that great. But then again, it's better the game had it, than not.

As for issues and flaws within the gameplay, to be honest, there is the occassional glitch. Oh wait, talk about occassional glitches, there is a rather annoying glitch that sometimes causes your save to become corrupt, causing you to repeat the torment that is the first few levels, again.

The graphics, now there's a story. While the graphics were actually rather decent looking in Tony Hawk's Underground, it seems Activision have either attempted to make them look slightly cartoony this time around, or they quite simply didn't know what the hell they were doing, that's not up to me to decide. But I'm not saying they look bad, they look mediocre, but not bad. The maps are the same old story, ramp here, ramp there, nothing new compared to past Tony Hawk games. And surprise, surprise, Activision got lazy again, once again repeating older levels, this time using the Warehouse from the original as a training level, but then again, that could be looked at as a good thing, or a bad thing?

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Creating a graphic...
The character models are slightly average, although some of the animations are humerous, but generally all of the move animations remain almost identical to the last edition, aside from those moves new to the series. But one good thing about graphics are the cut-scenes, fans of the Jackass and Viva La Bam series will absolutely love them, due to their over-the-top humour content. Hell, I even giggled a bit.

The sound is easily the best thing about this game, much like past games I've reviewed. Like usual, the voice-acting is all the original stars, including Tony Hawk himself, along side none other than Bam Margera, who are full of comedic quotes, including the first line in the game - "Hey, butt nuggets!", spoken by Bam. But the more impressive side of the sound is the immortal soundtrack, including legendary artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, the Living End and the Ramones. This soundtrack is easily one of the better in the series, and it even has one of the greatest tracks of all-time - "I fell into a burning ring of fire", yes, that's right, "Ring of Fire" by none other than Johnny Cash. But really, the soundtrack is like none other, and is the game highlight, as sad as it sounds.

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Now that's a grind!
But the truth is, that Activision screwed up, and they screwed up bad. Because nobody wants to pay perfectly good money for a game that is simply lesser to it's predecessor, unless they're absolute die-hard fans of the series. Activison have really done themselves over badly, because this game is simply too poor to have been hyped as it was, and it's lucky it didn't have Grand Theft Auto hype otherwise it would have been returned on the first day by nearly everyone, I'm sure.

Activision need to re-hit the drawing board before the next game, if they even want to attempt to undo this evil they've created. And I wish them luck, they'll need to create a masterpiece to regain my respect, because unfortunately, I can not look at them the same.

Sorry, Activision.

Review By: Brodie Gibbons

GRAPHICSCartoony, sharp, jagged. Ugly, but not pug fugly, but not pleasant.
SOUNDThe best soundtrack in the series, with Metallica for crying out loud!
GAMEPLAYCause mayhem, use stupid 'special characters' and repeat to fade.
VALUEIt's longer then the previous game, but painful to play reducing value.
OVERALLAn overly disappointing outing from Activision, definitely the worst game in the series, and just when they were batting for that homerun, they made three strikes and an out, will their next batter be successful, let's hope so. But this was blatantly disappointing, sorry.

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