E3 2001 Hands-onTony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Tony Hawk 3 looks nice, plays well, and has both online and iLink support.

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is being shown in playable form here at E3 in Los Angeles. The game features the same control scheme as that of the first two games and maintains innovations, like manuals, that were made in THPS2. The big new innovation this time around is the addition of a landing trick that lets you put vert tricks into the middle of your combos. The addition of the revert is nothing short of revolutionary--like the addition of the manual was before it.

Graphically, the game makes every single improvement you would expect when a series moves from the PS to the PS2. The skaters look incredibly smooth and are rendered accurately down to having individual fingers. Textures, like the grip tape on the top of your skateboard, look really, really sharp and give the game a very realistic look. The animation has been bumped up several notches, and there are a lot of new transition animations that go between moves and keep the animation from looking jerky. The animation is smooth to the point of slightly altering the timing of the game, though that may be altered before the game ships. The levels look smooth, pipes and bowls look nice and round, and everything moves at a nice, smooth frame rate.

While a slew of new tricks have been added, the largest addition to Tony Hawk 3's modes is the addition of online and iLink support. When playing a networked game, skaters can simply jump in and out of a game at will. The game's host can shift the game from practice mode to an actual match by pausing the game and selecting "start" from the server menu. From there, we played a couple of trick-attack matches. The networked game hitched up for a split second once or twice during the two-minute match, but other than that, it was just as smooth-looking and smooth-playing as the single-player game. The really cool part about network games is the ability to knock the other players off their boards. When you do, the game puts up a first-person shooter styled death message. They might not be final, but we saw messages like "Skater A punked Skater B," "Skater A shanked Skater B," and the ever-popular "All your base are belong to Skater A."

Single-player levels include Los Angeles, which will be hit by an earthquake while you play, causing certain different trick lines to open up as freeways and other structures crumble. Other playable levels here at E3 are Tokyo and Canada. The Canada level has a lot of snow laying around the outside of the level, which is off-limits, similar to the sand in the Venice level in Tony Hawk 2. The single-player career mode will feature similar goals as Tony Hawk 2. The Canada level had goals like "impress the skaters" and one where you had to dump snow out of a tree onto a snowball-tossing bully. Score goals, secret tapes, and spelling the word skate will also be included. Create a skater will also return, with more options than the previous game, including the ability to create female skaters.

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