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PSP  header logo

Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix

For: PSP

Even if baggy pants and handplants aren't your thing, it's worth rolling with Tony Hawk's PSP skateboarding stormer...

Product: Tony Hawk's Underground 2: Remix | Publisher: Activision Blizzard | Format: PSP | Genre: Action | Players: 1-4 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
 
Tony Hawk's Underground 2: Remix PSP, thumbnail 1
Boneless stalefish faceplant tailslide: the lingo takes some getting used to in Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix (THUG2). Steering your board recklessly about Barcelona or through a Las Vegas casino demands skill, but describing what you just did even more. Feeble nosegrind, anyone?

Before any skater comments that a 'feeble nosegrind' is nonsense, like saying a 'goldfish fish' perhaps - you might be right. After playing all the THUG2 a grown man can squeeze into a working day (hurrah for portable gaming), I'm still not always sure what specifically it is that I'm doing. Only that I'm often doing it right, and flowing from trick to trick where I used to trundle from crash to bang to wallop. And getting from A to B in THUG2 is among the best uses we've found yet for Sony's machine.

Happily, you don't need to be a skater for life to begin your THUG2 career. Whether you've only ever skirted past the local (rather sweet) skateboard gang or you're its founding member, you start in the same place - falling off. THUG2 has a poised and forgiving control system, perfected over years on the home consoles and it's been well translated here, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Few PSP games make such demands on a player's thumb dexterity; you're endlessly jumping from ramps, grinding your board along rails, benches and walls, and performing aerial tricks on the half-pipe, tweaking to achieve variations with myriad combinations of D-pad and symbol button presses. But happily, you feel almost immediately like you're making progress, just as in real-life your first ollie (a little jump achieved by bouncing the board's tail off the floor) makes up for those endless, ahem, arse-plants.

THUG2 develops this basic gameplay into a huge game. At the centre is the Story-based mode, where Tony Hawk and his pro skater mate Bam Margera (of MTV's Jackass fame) call on you to tour the world, upsetting polite society with noisy wheel-based civil disobedience. Each city stage comes with goals you need to complete; you're then pretty much left to explore the rich THUG2 world, complete with cars, pedestrians, and street furniture, which transform into ramps, rails, and other props for your skate-based antics. (You'll never again walk to the Post Office without seeing a dozen potential tricks).

The Story mode boasts the ludicrous plotline and outrageous cut-scenes you'd expect from a skating title, but it romps along successfully enough. You begin as a young no-one, unlocking pro skater characters and earning renown and better stats as you progress. The alternative Classic mode (which harkens back to the original Tony Hawk console games) is a simpler affair: you've two minutes to skate about collecting letters to complete key words, pull off tricks in particular locations, or perform other area-specific goals (some without your skateboard). Again, you unlock as you go.

In practice, Classic mode isn't wildly different in gameplay terms from the Story one. The game's 10-odd multiplayer modes do offer alternatives, however. Up to four PSP owners can compete using the handheld's wireless functionality, at everything from straightforward score and trick competitions, to Slap! (a sort of combat mode), Graffiti (where performing a trick on an object marks it with your colours), King of the Hill (essentially a game of 'It') and Capture the Flag. All are highly diverting. One disappointment: there's no online multiplayer mode.

And that's only half the story. Did we mention the 'special' mode that enables you to access new tricks as you focus your concentration? Or that you can design your own graffiti tags? Or how you can import your own face into THUG2's create-a-skater mode? Hardly. Because then we'd also have to squeeze in that you can throw board-smashing tantrums to boost your score multiplier, add homemade goals and challenges to existing game levels, and even rewire the game's animations to build your own tricks.

As we said, Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix is massive; PSP owners are getting a near spot-on PSP-translation of a brilliant console series that lifts everything good about those TV-based outings. The downside is that those who've followed the series on the consoles won't find much new here (four excellent new levels out of the dozen or so, and some fresh multiplayer modes). C'est la vie.

This is a great pocket gaming title. Graphically, it exploits every pixel of the PSP's screen with few graphical glitches, while the wide-ranging musical tracks (not to mention the lively clicks and clatter of your board on concrete) make for an eclectic but always compelling aural backdrop to your nollies, no complys and beanplants.

To find out what that means, buy Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix. You won't regret your digital diversion into skater culture, and your knees, shins, and community police officers will thank you too.

Tony Hawk's Underground Remix is on sale now.
 
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix
Reviewer photo
Owain Bennallack | 11 November 2005
Like a great skater, it's a perfect balance of control, style, and tricks – with added vandalism for the modern crowd
 
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Anonymous | 13:20 - 30 August 2009
i thought that you whoud let me dawnload it foul
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