Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix Preview
When you think about handheld versions of console games, the first thing you typically think about is what sacrifices had to be made in the transition from home version to handheld. THUG 2 Remix quickly changes that line of thinking because it actually adds features and levels. That's right; the PSP version will have 13 single-player levels, including four brand-new areas: Las Vegas, Atlanta, Kyoto and Santa Cruz, each one with original goals, level changing events and unlockable characters. Some of the unlockable characters include: Ben Franklin, Jesse James (the motorcycle dude), a Bull Fighter and even an alien.
If you missed out on THUG 2 for the PS2, here's a brief rundown of what you can expect in the Remix. Tony Hawk and Bam Margera form two teams, and then square off on a World Destruction Tour. This WDT takes them around the globe where they will compete to see who can wreak the most havoc along the way. New tricks this time around include being able to do a sticker slap off any wall or surface, go into slow-motion focus control and even throwing a tantrum in mid-combo. There's also a great training mode that will get series veterans up to speed on the new moves, while at the same time getting first-timers accustomed to the basics.
The game also does a nice job of appealing to fans of the original Hawk games because not only will it let you play the story mode, it will let you go old school in classic mode. In classic mode, the two-minute timer is added into the mix and you'll be able to complete goals like "C-O-M-B-O," "secret tape," and "high score" just like you did back in the day.
The Tony Hawk Series has always been well known for the amount of customization it allows, and the PSP incarnation will be no different. You'll be able to design your own logo for use in graffiti tags; in addition to creating your own skaters, skate parks, decks, tricks, goals and levels of difficulty. If you want to put your own face in the game you can do that as well by taking a picture, putting it on your memory stick and mapping it onto a skater.
If the game's robust single-player mode isn't enough to keep you entertained, THUG 2 Remix also supports local WiFi play. There are over 10, four-player mini-games that you can play wirelessly including "Combo Mambo," "SLAP!" or "Scavenger Hunt."
All this sounds great, but how about the graphics? If you've seen the screenshots or the videos of the game, you know that very little has been sacrificed in transition. The levels are huge, the characters feature tons of unique animation and the framerate looks like it handles it all quite nicely.
Tony Hawk has always featured an eclectic mix of songs with something that will appeal to everyone. Incredibly, every song from THUG 2 will be in the game, which means you'll get to hear artists like Frank Sinatra, Violent Femmes, Metallica, Sugarhill Gang, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Doors, Rancid, Suicide Machines, and Johnny Cash to name a few. All the skaters and celebrities have been voiced by their real-life counterparts, and all the voiceovers from the original game will be included.
THUG 2 Remix isn't even out yet, and it's already redefining what people expect out of a PS2 to PSP conversion. If you're a fan of the series and played THUG 2 to death, the new additions to the game, plus the ability to take it with you on the go should put this title on the top of your PSP wish list. If you've taken a break from the series, now is as good a time as any to get back into the game - it certainly looks like you'll get your money's worth.
3/14/2005 Aaron Thomas