Tony Hawks Underground (Sniper)
Genre: Extreme Sports
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision

By PS2 standards, this isn't a bad looking game. But by now, PS2 to X-box ports are old news, and we know what to expect graphically, with THUG being no exception. There's quite a variety of animations compared to the other Tony Hawk titles, yet, as I've said a hundred times before, creating the best textures imaginable and then down-scaling them to each platform as needed wouldn't be very difficult- so why did they not do that here?

THUG features licensed music, as per the other games in the series. And with each title, the music got more and more mainstreamed, because, I'm sure, the series was now a cash cow. This game features music from a nu-metal band of the 70's, KISS. Pardon the KISS fans, but skater music is punk and ska, not "classic" rock. This Tony Hawk title also features quite a bit of voice acting. You can guess how good it is by the score for this section.

After (now) 5 installments, there's quite an array of moves that can be performed, and you get great create a skater/park, and 2-player features. Unfortunately, enter the dreaded story mode; instead of just having a handful of objectives to accomplish on each stage, now you have to suffer through some horribly written dialogue and a trashy story just to see the objectives. This cheap trick doesn't cover up the fact that this game, at heart, is identical to the first four Tony Hawk games. No kudos here.

If you want to try one of the Tony Hawk games, this isn't the one you should pick up first, lest you want a sour taste in your mouth. The level design isn't on par with the other entries in the series, and at least with those games, you don't have to suffer through a painfully bad story and drive some poorly designed vehicles just to play. All I can say to Neversoft is this: THUG is a skating game; more skating, less item-fetching routines! And if you're going to try a story, for God's sake, hire a writer!

Sniper's verdict: