Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 impressions

We got our hands on the PC port of Tony Hawk 3. Read our impressions of the game and see more than 30 new screenshots and eight new gameplay movies.

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
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Originally released last year for the PlayStation 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 has since found its way onto every other popular gaming platform, including--finally--the PC. Judging by our first impressions, it seems as though the wait for this particular version of one of last year's most highly acclaimed games was well worth it. The newly released PC port of Tony Hawk 3 is basically similar to the original PS2 version--it's not a pure skateboarding simulation so much as it's a sports action game--though it does offer a number of new features, including new multiplayer modes and an exclusive new hidden character. Aside from that, the PC version of Tony Hawk 3 successfully retains the feel of the PS2 original, meaning that the controls are extremely responsive. Also, all the PS2 version's levels have been faithfully ported to the PC, though the PC version doesn't have the new level added for the recent Xbox version.

The PC port of Tony Hawk 3 was handled by Gearbox Software, which added support for 32-bit color and video resolutions up to 1280x1024. Thus far we've tested the game on a midrange and a higher-end system, both with GeForce 3 Ti500 video cards and respectively sporting PIII 650MHz and 1.1GHz Athlon processors, and the game has generally run smoothly on both these systems in 1024x768 resolution. The textures are sharper and clearer than in any of the console versions of Tony Hawk 3, including the recent Xbox version, and the game's frame rate is fast, though it does bog down in the same few areas the console versions do.

The game supports keyboard and gamepad controls, and while the keyboard controls are about as responsive as you could expect, you will likely need a gamepad in order to be proficient at Tony Hawk 3. Using a Microsoft SideWinder pad, and drawing on our experience with previous versions of the game, we were quickly pulling off big tricks and unlocking all the game's big, complex levels. Actually, the PC version of Tony Hawk 3 can be played using the Dual Shock 2 controller that comes with the PlayStation 2 system--you just need an inexpensive adapter to hook it up through your computer's USB port. Since the controls on the PlayStation 2 version of the game are famously perfect, investing in a Dual Shock 2 will likely be worthwhile for PC Tony Hawk 3 fans.

We briefly tried the game's multiplayer mode, though no servers were up at the time. Still, we saw that the game includes a clearly laid out built-in Internet server browser, as well as numerous multiplayer modes not found in the original game, such as capture the flag. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 also includes an easy-to-use skate-park editor that lets you design your own levels.

We'll have a full review of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 for the PC soon. For now, check out these new screens and gameplay movies showing off the game in action.

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