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September 13, 2005
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix - Review
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Cities look extremely impressive.
There's little doubt about the popularity of the Tony Hawk titles has exceeded all expectations since Activision tentatively released the first game on PSOne way back in late 1999 - some six years ago now! The series has gone from strength to strength and even survived a change in focus from real pro skater events to the underground street events. As the title Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix suggests this game isn't just a direct port of the PS2 version, but rather the developers have had a look and remixed the title

Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix includes two main game modes - Story mode and Classic mode. The Story mode is where you'll likely spend much of your time. In this mode skaters are divided up into two teams, one led by Tony Hawk and the other by Bam Margera. After being assigned your team you enter the World Destruction Tour where the teams travel from one location to the next and must complete, as a rookie and pro skater, all the objectives set in each level in order to progress. As the tour title suggests many of the objectives include destroying objects in the levels and creating mayhem.

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Kickflip onto the rail.
The second main game mode in Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix is a Classic Mode which is inspired, unsurprisingly by earlier games in the series. In this mode the player has only 2 minutes to complete a series of objectives. To be honest we found this mode as somewhat unrewarding compared to the main story mode, still on the PSP it really is a perfect addition for those who are running on a limited amount of time. Still not satisfied with the game modes? Well how about a free skate mode where you can just show off to your mates in any of the unlocked parks.

No matter what mode you're playing actually controlling the skater is a complete joy. Not only does he respond accurately to the controls, but the range of moves is virtually limitless, especially as you start to string together large combos. If there's one issue we have it's that you can only use the D-Pad for skating around, we certainly would have liked to have an option for the analogue slider stick. The loss of two top buttons doesn't seem to have affected the gameplay much at all so Tony Hawk fans should be just as comfortable on this PSP version.

The Create-A-Skater mode returns and while most of it is fairly bog standard stuff what does raise it above most other games is the ability to use your memory card to transfer an image (read: mugshot) of yourself into the game. It's not quite as good as full Digimask software but is still impressive.

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Down near the beach.
To add a bit more value and interest for PSP gamers the developers have included four all new levels to play in. These are located in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Kyoto and Santa Cruz. It must be said that these are not only a welcome addition but seem to stretch the imagination a little further. The Kyoto level, for example, allows you to trigger a massive monster through it before leaving his Godzilla styled footprints, and thereby adding more areas to skate in.

There have been a couple of cool additions to this game, besides the aforementioned extra levels. One such addition is the ability for your character to "Freak Out" when he ends up on his ass. By hitting the triangle button repeatedly you fill a meter. The fuller it is the more impressive the tantrum he will throw. If you like multi-player then you're in luck here with the developers including support for 4-players via the PSP's WiFi capabilities.

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The new Las Vegal level.
Graphics in the game are generally very good. Some of the textures look very low in quality, but in terms of level design, characters and animation this is a game that shows what the PSP is capable of in the right hands. The frame rate is fairly solid throughout.

As with every Tony Hawk title the music is big, brash and licensed. Bands included in the game include Ween, The Ramones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Faith No More, The Doors, Jimmy Eat World, The Living End, Metallica, and even Frank Sinatra! It's damn impressive and each track suits the game perfectly. The actual speech in the game we found was a little low in volume, but the voice acting was pretty good, and the dialogue always entertaining. The audio isn't let down by the effects either with a fantastic range of ambient background, and foreground, effects.

Some people have complained in recent years that the Tony Hawk titles have become somewhat dull, and indeed even Activision may have indicated this with a shift in emphasis from Pro Skating to Underground events. Having not played many of the previous title I jumped into Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix and discovered a game which exceeded my expectations on almost every level. In my book itís certainly a worth addition to your PSP library.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSPretty impressive graphics with large levels and smooth animations.
SOUNDSome fantastic licensed music with good speech and effects.
GAMEPLAYDespite losing two buttons the move to PSP is impressive, and fun.
VALUEThe modes will take forever to get through, but you'll keep returning.
OVERALLTony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix is a fantastic title for fans of the genre. Even if you own the PS2 version there's probably enough here above the PSP's portability to warrant a purchase.

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