Tony Hawk's Underground 2
|Tony Hawk's Underground 2|
Neversoft (PS2, Xbox, GC & PC)|
Vicarious Visions (GBA)
|Designer(s)||Leonel Zuniga (GBA)|
|Writer(s)||Rob Hammersley (PS2/Xbox/GC/PC)|
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is the sixth installment in Neversoft's Tony Hawk's series and is the sequel to Tony Hawk's Underground. Underground 2 was first released on October 4, 2004 in the US for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance platforms.
Although not the first game in the franchise to be released in a seventh generation console (that would be American Wasteland the following year), Underground 2 is also forwards compatible with the Xbox 360. 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.
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.
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. The main menu contains the player next to the "Wheel of Loogies." The choices are on the wheel.
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".
One year after the events of Tony Hawk's Underground, the protagonist is skating in their hometown, a neighborhood in New Jersey, until 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 including the protagonist's friend turned rival Eric Sparrow, Bob Burnquist, Mike Vallely, Eric Koston, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Paulie "Wheels of Fury" Ryan, an obnoxious kid in a bodycast who rides on a motor-powered wheelchair. The kidnappers, revealed to be Tony Hawk and Bam Margera, explain their plans for their debut annual "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 teams are then picked; the protagonist is left as a last pick for Team Hawk when Bam chooses Paulie.
Team Bam manages a last-minute win in the tour's first location, Boston, thanks to a stunt by Paulie. As a result, Burnquist, a member of Team Hawk, is eliminated by having a tennis ball shot at his genitalia. In Barcelona, Tony's team takes the lead again; however, the punishment for Team Bam is to have the rookies of each team, the protagonist and Sparrow, swap, much to the protagonist's annoyance. At this time though, word has spread out about the World Destruction Tour as a clip of Bam and Koston putting a bull in Phil Margera's hotel room to humiliate him was shown.
The teams then transition to Berlin, where Sparrow and the protagonist are swapped back. At that moment, an underground film "writer, producer, director" named 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, but Muska suggested a stop in Thailand), the Tour lands in Bondi Beach. At the end of the leg, the protagonist is initially eliminated (as he/she was the last person to score when the leg was over) by being stripped down to underwear and hit by mousetraps, but due to Mullen spotting an error in the team's points, the protagonist competes against Sparrow (the last person to score on Bam's team), with the loser being eliminated. The group ponders what contest to do between the two when a local skater kid shows them a video of the tour, created by Beaverhausen. Tony then decides that whoever humiliates Beaverhausen more will stay on the tour. Eric steals Nigel's clothes, but Bam, sick of Sparrow being on his team, gives the clothes to the protagonist, who proceeds to cause chaos for Australian citizens so that Nigel will be blamed for it. The protagonist wins and Eric is eliminated, with Nigel falling onto him.
The tour advances to New Orleans. At the end of the 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. After Phil shows Tony and Bam the long damage bill (a final money sum of over $21,000,000), they accept. Tony still has some unfinished business, so Bam agrees to let them take care of it (since Bam's cockiness impedes his team's win when the hock-a-loogie hits "The Equalizer" target, which if Tony's team does successfully, the tour will be a draw for the win). Team Hawk hit the "Equalizer" to tie up with Team Bam, but team members Vallely, Muska and Mullen are arrested for stealing the helicopter used for the stunt, leaving only the protagonist and Tony for the final leg of the Tour: Skatopia, in the backwoods of Ohio, defined by Tony as "the skateboarding Mecca".
Though Team Hawk still perform well enough to win, Bam decides to blow up Skatopia, confident on his victory. In order to save people from the imminent damage, Tony quickly evacuates the skaters, but the protagonist remains stuck in the back end of Skatopia. Bam dares the protagonist to exit the whole flaming park in a single combo, which he considers impossible, but is accomplished by the protagonist, giving Team Hawk the win in the World Destruction Tour. Nigel then wants Bam to give him the tape of the tour, but it only shows Phil in the toilet, yelling to his wife April for more toilet paper. Bam and Tony then end the tour by humiliating Nigel once more, with Bam pulling down his pants on international television.
Many different skaters, both real-life professionals, as well as made up skaters are introduced in this game. Mike Vallely, Rodney Mullen, Bob Burnquist, Chad Muska, Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, Ryan Sheckler, Eric Koston, Paulie "Wheels Of Fury" Ryan, the Custom Skater, Eric Sparrow and Wee-Man are the main ones. Characters like Ben Franklin, Jesse James, Bull Fighter, Steve-O, Graffiti Tagger, Shrimp Vendor, Aborigine, Jester and Voodoo Doctor are skaters made up for the game. There are also cameo appearances from Shrek, Bigfoot and the Call Of Duty Soldier. The game also features Aliens, which are also playable characters including people seen throughout Story Mode gameplay.
As Underground 2 is a direct sequel to the first Underground it is the only game in the main series that features the same protagonist as its predecessor, the same custom skater created by the player as the first Underground.
A sequel to Underground was first 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.
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