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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:  Neversoft
Publisher:  Activision
Genre:  Extreme Sports
# of Players:  1-4; Online
Est. Release:  November 2001
Posted:  9-27-01

Let’s face it: up until late 1999, when the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was released on the PSone, no one gave a hoot about skate boarding videogames.

What a difference 2 years makes. After just a short time, an "extreme" sport that was once just barely getting into the mainstream media was now one of the hottest gaming properties on the market. The initial THPS single handedly took what everyone conceived was a skating game (or just a fun video game in general) and reinvented it into one of the most popular and engaging game series that we’ve seen in quite some time. With this in mind, Hawk developer Neversoft is going for the hat trick with the next installment in the series, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. With such a large popularity, it’d be easy for Neversoft to rest on its laurels and just rehash every aspect of THPS2 and sell copies by the truckload, right? Apparently that’s not good enough for these rising star players in the gaming biz, as the boys at Neversoft are plugging away once again to create an even better skating experience with the upcoming THPS3.

The most obvious change to THPS3 is the new environments and skating areas. The old, closed in skate parks of the former two games have evidently left the building, now replaced by huge outside urban-based areas, stretching the globe from Los Angeles to Tokyo with many cities in between. A vivid amount of detail masks these looming surroundings, containing moving cars and pedestrians that get in your way (and will even try to avoid your reckless skating).

The largest addition to the gameplay is the inclusion of the revert move. In laymen’s terms, this will allow the gamer to continue his trick combos out of vert moves by tapping the revert button at the fall of his trick (a quick 180), then going into a manual, which will allow you to continue with a combo string. This will open up the trick length/points results even more so than the first two games, a large statement indeed considering the already-rewarding and addicting combo system of THPS2.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 will also include, for the first time in the series, online play via Sony’s upcoming broadband connection. Up to four players can skate together online in various competitions, and, after seeing it in play at E3, the ‘net based action looks like it’ll come through in flying colors without a hitch. THPS3 still features a lineup of stars, among them Bucky Lasek, Steve Caballero, Chad Muska and new to the series, MTV’s Jackass star himself, Bam Margera.

All in all, Neversoft has very little chance of screwing this one up. With the potent Tony Hawk gameplay being refined even more, and the addition of online play and more interactive environments, THPS3 will once again redefine how a skating game is done well. Prepare to lose all your remaining free social time once this game drops in the fall.

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