I don’t buy video games that often, and the ones I do buy are typically never beaten. I usually get stuck at some point, play the same stage 5 or 6 or 12 times and then give up. It happened with Resident Evil 4, it happened with Metroid Prime, and it happened with Viewtiful Joe. Also with Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Also Tiger Woods 2004. Let’s just say it happens a lot. In fact, the only game I HAVE beaten since I was in college is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. That was a sweet ass game. I mostly like playing games that I can play with someone else (like Doney Konga or Mario Kart Double Dash.) Anyways, the one game that I never minded not beating was Tony Hawk 4. It was a great game to play just to play it. I never wanted to see the ending — I don’t know if the damn thing had an ending. It was just a joy to go out and try to bust a 300,000 point combo or something. It was more like an arcade game, where only points not mattered.
So I was walking around Best Buy with a spare gift card and had already picked up Donkey Konga. I happened to see that Nintendo had released Tony Hawk Underground as a Greatest Hits game so it was only $19.99. That was the perfect price for me.
The problem became clear immediately upon starting the game. This game is hugely storyline intensive. The Story Mode that you use to unlock new levels and increase the stats on your character is pretty good from a plot point of view, but it is a story mode. I liked Tony Hawk 4 because if I got stuck on one of the goals there were 15 others to choose from on that level. In THUG there are only 3 to 4 goals available at a time. Several times I had beaten two goals and got stuck when the other two were pretty tough. Then I got frustrated because I couldn’t take a break from the tough shit and coast along with some other, easier goals.
In Tony Hawk 4, the controls took some getting used to, and to bust some of the harder moves involved a lot of button mashing. Somehow, THUG makes it even more complicated by adding in a ton more possible moves (including jumping of your board and just running.) While it makes for more interesting combos, it also makes the game quite tough for a casual gamer. Those tardchildren that sit around and play it every day so they can make 100,000,000 point combos probably think it’s the bee’s knees, though. I hate kids like that.
The game is pretty cool, but I just couldn’t get into it enough. I think it’s a sign of my age when all I want those damn video game companies to do is make a game that’s playable. I’m starting to hate games that require more than four buttons to play. Yeah, Microsoft, you could make a game where, if you hit A+B+Z+white button the guy on screen masturbates into his own cupped palm (and then licks it if you waggle the directional stick while pressing the right trigger,) but why in name of god would you?