Pro Skater 3
by: ActiVision, go
to the web site
III/500 MHz or Athlon processor; 100% Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
system: keyboard, mouse, 16MB or greater 3D AGP video card,
4x CD-ROM & drivers; 64 MB RAM, 700MB uncompressed free
hard drive space for installation, 150MB hard drive space
for Windows swap file, DirectX 8.1 and compatible true 16-bit
sound card and drivers; Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP)
play supported - 28.8Kbps modem and drivers
Hawk is a living legend among pro (skate) boarders
and probably ranks as the best-known skater in the
world. For years Tony Hawk has been more than just
a competitor, having branched into business, commercials,
stunt riding, marriage and fatherhood (the last two
items being at odds with the typical competition
skater image). Mr. Hawk is 34 years of age and out
of serious competition now, but he has focused a
lot of energy on the sponsorship and development
of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game series, available
for PC, XBox, PS2, GameCube and Game Boy Advance.
The original release of the game almost 5 years ago,
set the standard for this sort of thing and the release
of Pro Skater 3 pushes the envelope farther.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on a PIII/600 with 768MB RAM and an
ATI Radeon 7500 All-in-Wonder (64MB), driving an 17"
NEC MultiSync LCD 1700M+ flat panel. Scrolling, rendering
and details were smooth, crisp and fast from 800x600x16 bit
all the way up to 1280x1024x32 bit.
my first skateboard when I was about 11 years old - in 1963.
It was a flat, high-density, varnished plywood slab with modified
roller skate wheels and trucks. No suspension except for dense
vulcanized rubber grommets and no more than 5 ball bearings
in the semi-exposed axles and bearing races. Two hours of
boarding meant at least a half hour of axle and bearing cleaning
and lubrication afterward. Those were the days! Yuch. But
I really, really liked that skateboard. It cost about $30.
33 years. My 13 year old son wanted a serious board. I went
into the local board shop with him and dropped a cool $300
on a state-of-the-art deck, trucks, wheels and griptape. Nice.
So I decided to review Pro Skater 3 to see how well the digital
skateboard gaming experience matched what I remembered and
what I've observed my youngest son doing on his board these
days. The short answer is "Wow!"
skate as Tony Hawk or one of 11 other pro skaters (in addition
to Bam Margera from MTV's Jackass - we liked his "CRY2K"
shirt), and you can customize your skater's physics. You can
customize your board - choose your wheels, griptape and deck.
There are 11 incredibly detailed levels complete with adjustable
traffic which can be crashed, skated or avoided - lots of
decent AI here. A lot of the levels seem to be recreations
of some well-known real-world spots such as Skater's Island,
Canada Skate Camp and a few others. Of special interest too
is the large custom skater creator - change clothes, shoes,
hats, hair, glasses, pads, tattoos, pants, jewelry and so
on to give your skater a completely individual look and attitude.
It's possible to get lost for a while just creating your skater.
game play is impressive and realistic. Although there is no
ultra-powerful Quake III-style graphics engine under the hood,
the game designers and programmers have done a terrific job
on the skaters' physics, movement and controls. Jumping, landing
impacts, Ollies, grinds, turns, momentum, falls, acceleration
and keyboard response are very, very good. It's the playability
that makes any game and Pro Skater 3 is very, very playable.
We especially like the career mode, which is full of pedestrian
interaction, traffic interaction and reaction to other skaters.
The online tutorials are great for practice but contain a
whole bunch of instruction errors. For example, [O] will definitely
not Ollie; 8 on the numeric keypad (as stated in the user
guide/booklet) is the correct Ollie key. We counted half a
dozen more key command errors in the tutorial before we checked
the booklet and found all the correct commands.
The tutorials are very well done, narrated by Hawk, and provide
lots of practice on almost two dozen different moves, jumps,
grinds, etc., etc. The reward cinematics are excellent too,
provided as streaming video using DVD capabilities. Graphics
configuration utility can be run independent of the game.
You can unlock Behind-the-Scenes videos of the making of Tony
Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and learn something about how a video
game is built from the ground up. There are also interviews
with Tony Hawk and other pro skaters. Loads of action, lots
of variety, excellent game physics and control, months of
game play. Forty bucks well spent. Highly recommended.
Note: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 has been released)
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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