Skater Reviews: Tony Hawk’s Underground | Helicopter McTwists with Eric Sparrow
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Skater Reviews: Tony Hawk’s Underground | Helicopter McTwists with Eric Sparrow

September 8, 2019


Tony Hawk’s Underground is the favorite
in the series for a lot of people. I haven’t played it in about 14 years. Does it still hold up? Welcome to Rad Rat Video, where I talk about
topics from all over the skateboard world. Subscribe so you don’t miss things like
skateboard game reviews, trick histories and all kinds of skate topics in my #AskRadRat
series. Today, we’re talking about Tony Hawk’s
Underground. A lot of you guys said that this game was
your favorite in the series, so I wanted to see if it really holds up. Underground came out in 2003, and was released
to positive reviews. It got a 90 on Metacritic. Which is really good, but it’s on a downward
slope. Pro Skater 2 got a 98, and it gets down into
the 70s in the next couple games. I picked the Xbox version, which might have
been a mistake. The control is just a lot worse. In my gameplay video yesterday, you’ll see
me bailing a lot of vert tricks, and that’s because you revert with the trigger, which
is also the spin button. So a lot of the time, if your timing isn’t
right, you turn sideways right before you land. It’s hard to be perfect because the trigger
takes some time to pull, so you’re in for some frustrating moments. Also, you have to hit the black button to
get off your board, which is so out of the way that it’s hard to do in a combo. So it’s in 720p and the graphics are a bit
better, but this time, I would probably suggest just getting the PS2 version. Maybe the PC version. OK, let’s get into the game itself. There are a few new game mechanics, and they’re
hit-or-miss. First is the pressure flips. Now I like pressure flips. I made a whole video about their history and
I think they have a lot of potential. But the way they’re handled in this game
is more annoying than anything. Here’s how it works. You tap the trigger once to get into pressure
stance, and press it again to go into nollie stance. That means that nollies now take 3 separate
button presses instead of two. And that wouldn’t be a problem if you could
actually use pressure flips, but there’s pretty much no good reason to ever do one. But out of the 4 pressure flips in the game
– 360 in both directions, a toe flip and a 180 toe flip – 3 of them suck. Imagine you try to do a nollie shove it. If you accidentally end up in pressure stance,
a shove it is replaced with a 360 pressure flip, which takes a lot longer. I bailed a lot of times because I needed a
quick trick and accidentally did that instead. The 360 the other way is the same thing, although
it replaces the impossible, so it’s not as big of a difference. The other one that sucks is the 180 toe flip. It has a built-in spin animation, which means
that you can do it while you’re spinning and spin really fast, or you can spin against
it and stop in the air for a second. It’s a lot harder to time these out and
land straight, which is a big pain. Eventually you get used to just double tapping
right away to go straight to nollie stance. At least you have the full list of tricks
there, like double and triple flips if you need them. Neversoft knew this was a problem, and they
changed how the control worked in future games. The other major new addition is getting off
of your board. This was a great idea in theory, but I don’t
think it’s used very well in this first game. The control is really awkward, and it’s
used to make some challenges that are kind of pointless, like trying to sneak past guards
in Moscow. I’ll talk about the challenges more in a
bit. But it’s just really awkward to control. You have to hold the ollie button and let
go to jump, which makes sense for crouching and jumping while skating, but it feels clunky
on your feet. And just trying to steer yourself around and
move the camera while you run is just not good. Aside from that, there are a few smaller refinements
in the series. The list of double tap tricks are expanded
now. A lot of stuff that would have been a special
trick in earlier games is now a double tap move, like darkslides. Now, there are 21 basic grind tricks that
you can do without special. That’s a ton of tricks. Flip tricks and grabs are the same way. But they still left front foot impossibles
vert-style with the grab. I’m not sure why. Also, 360 hardflips STILL flip the wrong way. But in general, most of the stuff in the game
is right, and with 8 million tricks, a few of them are bound to be a little weird. Speaking of weird, now you can make your own
tricks too. You have to do it twice in the story mode,
which means I did it twice. I never did it unless I had to. You have this timeline, and you can stack
tricks and combine stuff together. It’s scored based on how much time it takes
to finish. I remember when this was new, they sold it
as a way to invent new tricks, and I thought there would be a way to actually animate your
own flip tricks somehow, like adding a pop shove it and kickflip to ‘make’ a varial
flip. But it doesn’t work like that at all. They keep trying to expand this in later games. The biggest change in this game isn’t game
mechanics, it’s actually the whole structure. This is the first Tony Hawk game with a legit
story mode. Let’s take a look at it. I’m playing in hard mode like a boss. You start by creating your own character. I went with this green girl, which will make
sense later. I won’t go into a ton of detail with the
story, but you’re a local kid working your way up in the skateboarding world. Your friend is this piece of crap named Eric
Sparrow, who’s a sleazy turd of a guy who will do everything he can to ruin your life. You meet Chad Muska and get so inspired by
his dope 2003 Escalade that you decide to try to get a local shop sponsor – coincidentally
run by Stacy Peralta. How do you get sponsored? By completing challenges, of course! You’ll be doing tricks people call out,
and all kinds of familiar types of stuff. One good upgrade is that you don’t always
have to do every single challenge. A lot of the time, you only have to do 3,
and there might be 5 options. Once you do enough things, it’ll trigger
a cutscene and the story will continue. You’ll either be in a different time, like
advancing to night or dusk, or you’ll end up in a new area. You can always go back and do those challenges
later, and you’ll need to to unlock everything. But it helps keep the game moving. Let’s talk about what you’ll be doing. There’s a lot of similar stuff, like collecting
combo letters and things like that. There’s a lot of finding and collecting
things, which you should be used to now. But one thing that the game is really starting
to push is the driving challenges. You have to commit insurance fraud by making
this car overheat and then ditching it. You have to pick up girls for a party, and
all kinds of other miscellaneous vehicle challenges. These can be hit-or-miss. I don’t hate them, but some of these are
just boring. Like driving this lawn mower around to suck
up the leaf piles. It just goes on and on. The other issue is the spotty difficulty. That lawn mower one was easy, but escaping
the cops in Tampa requires a perfect run with zero mistakes. And the levels aren’t necessarily designed
for cars, so it’s easy to get stuck in stuff when you get off track. The on-foot challenges are not fun. Look at this one in Hawaii. You have to climb up to the top of this building. In typical Tony Hawk style, you’re put on
a timer for no reason. All the timer does is make it annoying because
you might get almost to the top and then run out of time, and have to redo it, even though
you already figured it out. I spent a lot of time in this game restarting
challenges because of time management, not because of something being difficult. But anyway, that’s beside the point. You can tell how awkward and difficult this
is to do. You have to run against the wall to try to
squeeze past the narrow parts, or you can easily have the camera move on you, which
makes you turn and fall off the building. There are a couple of times you have to climb
this building, and both of them suck. One of the other examples is this one, where
you have to sneak past all the Russian cops so your sketchy friend can sneak you out of
the country. It’s not fun. You have to basically rely on trial and error
and just figure out a path. It’s not as bad in 720p widescreen because
you can see more, but on a standard def TV back in the day, it was torture. Anyway, back to the story. Stacy sends you to New York to film some stuff
to prove you’re worth sponsoring. There are some pretty lame challenges here,
like riding near someone who’s skating, which is the easiest thing you can do in a
Tony Hawk game. You have to bribe security guards with peanuts,
and you also have to go to McDonald’s. If you missed my review of Disney’s Extreme
Skate Adventure, you need to check that out. They go all-in on this McDonald’s sponsorship
stuff. It has a huge presence in that game, and it’s
hilarious. The main Tony Hawk series probably had enough
clout that they could get away with being a little more subtle. You meet to fine chef at the local McDonald’s,
and he wants you to learn old school tricks and mix them in with new stuff. That’s inspired by his bold reimaginings
of classic dishes. It’s a really weird way to shoehorn McDonald’s
in there, and it feels a little racist too, but it’s quick and easy and you’re done
with it in a minute. When Stacy sees your fresh footage, he sponsors
you, and you decide to go to Tampa Am. Eric causes some problems with cops and steals
your spot in the contest, so you have to do more challenges to get in. But when you finish the contest, you get all
kinds of deck sponsor offers. Once you pick one, you’re off on tour. The on screen graphics change color scheme
and the logo will be on screen, which is kind of cool. I thought it would change how the story went
the first time I played it – like the team manager would be different, and the pros you
talk to would be from the team you picked. But it really doesn’t matter. You still meet Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk
in Moscow, who just so happen to be there at the same time as your team. But it does unlock that brand’s decks, which
is cool. So you have some drunken parties and you have
to wake people up, you do a demo. It’s here that I finally realized how the
stats work. I could barely do a 540 at this point in the
game. This new system is a really big step up in
the game, and I like how it’s handled. So, instead of finding or buying stats, you
have to complete mini challenges. You have to manual and grind a certain number
of seconds, get a certain amount of transfer distance on vert, and all kinds of other stuff. These are designed in a way that they’re
REALLY HARD at the amount of stats you have. Luckily, some of them are easier, like doing
a certain trick a few times in a combo. Those are freebies and help you progress. Later, you end up in Hawaii. This is where the big event of the game happens. After climbing the building that I talked
about earlier, you get the crazy idea to do this impossibly gigantic roof gap. A helicopter comes, and you do a McTwist over
it. It’s the best thing ever filmed on a skateboard
in all of history. And Eric steals the footage. Later, your team premieres the video at Slam
City Jam. You’re stoked to see your footage, but you
end up not even having a part because Eric stole your tapes. This is why I made myself a green woman, it
just makes it even more ridiculous that he would try to pass me off as him. But you’re actually not the only person
who uses your footage. You also have to film a bunch of flatground
nollies for a guy who’s too drunk. He says he won’t film your face… but come
on. My whole body is green! So I think the implication is that Eric stole
your footage, but not the helicopter shot, for whatever reason. I’m not really sure. It seems like he used it, but then it said
it was lost… and he gives it back to you at the end. I don’t think it’s worth trying to find
plot holes in a Tony Hawk game. Eric gets turned pro and is invited to Moscow. You enter yourself as a pro and force your
team to turn you pro too. You get to design a board. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this, but
it’s there if it’s something that interests you. You don’t make the cut to go to Moscow,
but if you can hurry up and find a shoe sponsor, they might send you. This part is really weird. The game has some messed up ideas about how
the skate industry works. If you can prove to the Circa rep that you
can spell, he’ll buy you a ticket to Moscow? Also, the camera guy for your team seems like
a local news cameraman, and not a skater at all. I don’t know, it just seems like, with so
much access to real life pros, they could have gotten enough info to make some of this
stuff a bit more authentic. It doesn’t really matter though. You go to Moscow and do some stuff. Eric gets drunk and crashes a tank and you
get stuck in jail. Your team bails on you and you’re on your
own to get home. You do this by doing spy stuff and sneaking
around. This part of the game is really slow and boring,
so I’m going to skip most of it, except this challenge. Most of the challenges are optional, because
you only have to do a certain number of them and you can always skip ones you don’t like. But sometimes they’re built into the story
and you don’t have a choice. This is one of those. You have to collect a bunch of hangover cures
in this big line that takes you all over the level. There’s this one jump that’s basically
impossible, at least with the place my stats were at at the time. I had to find another way to get up on to
the building, and it took me forever. This kind of thing happens way too often. You just have to learn as you go. You get an item, then you have to figure out
where the next one is. It’s not like you can see them all in advance
and plan it out. You just have to have fast enough reflexes
to do it all as you go. This happens again at the end of the game
too. After all of this happens to you, you get
jaded on the industry and go back home. You decide to start a company with Peralta. Once you can prove that you’re legit, the
pros come knocking to join your team, and you get to choose. It’s funny – the idea of your brand is that
it’s REAL, and it’s authentic and honest and you cut through all the crap. But one of the reasons Eric is such a doucher
is because he wanted to be like Chad Muska, and he eventually becomes him. And Muska wants to join your team. I get it from a game design standpoint, but
in the story, it’s a little weird. Pick your team, and then you shoot a video. This part is really cool. You have to finish these challenges, and you
use your pros. Some of these challenges are lame, like having
to collect 60 of these things in New York. Hey, look at these NPCs. They’re stuck in the default 3D modeling
pose and they don’t do anything. That’s a weird glitch. Anyway, I didn’t like that challenge because
this one gap doesn’t seem to work right, but that’s ok. I had a bunch of other ones to choose from. These are all pretty tough challenges, but
it’s a cool way to end the game. Once everyone on your team films something,
you get the video, which the game generates out of the video parts of the skaters you
picked. Pretty cool! After that, there’s one more thing. Eric comes and wants to prove that he’s
been better than you all along, so you have to copy his signature line around town. He drops… fireballs? Or something(?) when he’s skating to make
it harder for you. This one is a lot like the Moscow challenge
where you have to do everything in a line. I was stuck on this one for a while so I had
to max out my stats and, even then, some of the gaps you have to do are really hard. But I beat it, Eric has a hissy fit, and the
game’s over. You unlock some bonus characters, like Iron
Man and Gene Simmons, and a pointless level called Hotter Than Hell, which is a KISS concert
venue. There’s nothing to do here, and it’s not
good. After that, there’s still a lot to do. You can collect the secret tapes to unlock
videos, you can finish all the challenges you skipped, and you can find secrets, like
hidden Tony Hawk 2 levels. This is the first time that nostalgia for
the original games started to pop up in the series. And Tony Hawk 2 was only 3 years old at the
time. OK, Tony Hawk’s Underground. Is it worth playing? You know, I had a lot of fun with it. I felt like I had to rush through it for the
channel because it’s so big, but if you have the time to really sit back and play
it, I think there’s a lot of fun to be had. Is it the best Tony Hawk game ever made? I could understand the argument for that. I like the formatting of Underground 2 a bit
better, which I’ll talk about soon, but the story and progression of this one are
a bit better. It’s not my personal favorite, but it’s
definitely one of the high points in the series. The PS2, or probably PC, version might be
the one to get, but you’ll have a good time with this one no matter what. What were your experiences with this game? Is it your favorite? If you’ve played it recently, do you think
it holds up? Let me know in the comments. Also, I want to start getting into the handheld
skateboarding games from back in the day, so let me know which of those are your favorites
as well. Until next time, here are some videos that
I did recently that you might want to check out. And subscribe so you don’t miss out on the
next video. Thanks for watching.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. When doing spins, I use the D-Pad rather than the triggers cause I found it easier to do the revert. And the fact that I am used to do them on the PS1 & N64 controllers.

  2. Such a long game? It's too short lol definitely my fave Tony Hawk game. They need to make another skating game with an actual storyline

  3. You forgot to mention the alternate ending
    If you complete the game two times on ANY difficulty you will get an alternate end to this amazing game

  4. One of my top 5 THPS games….
    1. THPS2
    2. American Wasteland
    3. THUG1
    4. THPS1
    5. THPS4

    Disclaimer, I never played THPS3.

  5. You misunderstood the eric stealing footage part, eric stole the part where you jumped onto the roof with all of the flags, the part you film right before the helicopter jump. He keeps all of your footage but only edits himself into the roof jump.

  6. The Manhattan line got me too. Once you get off the anchor, get off your board in mid-air and caveman the first powerline. It takes a bit to get used to the trajectory, but the rest is all a really long line around the level. 😉

  7. the only reason the black button is out of your way is because you're not using the original Duke controller which was the Superior controller

  8. Are you sure, you played sick mode? Cuz in sick mode there is no final line, main character just kick Erick's ass)

  9. The xbox controller just isn't right for this game, but that version does look better. The way I played it was on the xbox with a ps2 controller adapter like this. https://www.amazon.com/Xbox-GameCube-Converter-Adapter-Compatible-Controller/dp/B00FBM3NRE

  10. I recommend trying this again on the 360 (it's backwards compatible). The black and white buttons are mapped to the bumpers, and getting on and off your board is super easy. You wouldn't believe the difference it makes. Also, the 360's HDMI will make the image a bit cleaner. Also in terms of audio and visual fidelity, the Xbox version is better than both its PS2 and GameCube counterparts

  11. I actually love the off board missions cuz when i was a kid they scared the shit out of me, and the nostalgia of that fear is kinda hilarious when i go back and play this game

  12. I enjoyed your review but I never once had to go out of my way to max out my stats like you said to beat the story mode.. either way the game was an amazing point in videogame history. Ps adding the cars/driving missions was a really cool break in the action and as a kid I was like "whoa." I also think everyone had that feeling just stepping off of the skateboard for the first time

  13. I'm replaying the Tony Hawk games and quit on Moscows Hangover cure mission. It's the Dark Souls mission of Tony Hawk games

  14. I just beat Underground yesterday on Sick mode, and I was disappointed from the ending. I'm still not exactly sure how you get it, I don't know if it's different depending on the console, but I didn't get the alternate ending where your skater decks Eric in the face. I played through the whole game on Sick mode because I thought that's how you get the ending.

    Does it still hold up? I think so, it's a really good game, the engine was cool, the story was pretty fun to experience (besides the plot holes), it's one of the best in the series in my honest opinion. The customization did not hold up at all, though.

  15. As someone who absolutely loved this game when it was new, there is one detail on which I couldn't disagree more: 2:30 where you complain about the 180 toe flip. I never did pressure flips in this game either. (You were correct about those IMO), but my favorite new trick was the 180 kickflip. Why? Like the 180 pressure which you disliked, it spins a 180 super fast without influencing your normal axis of rotation. This allows a proper kickflip 360 to be executed for the first time in the entire series! Now you can combo a 180 kickflip with a 180 in the same direction to achieve rapidly spinning and wicked looking flip 360. If you're often bailing on that trick, I can only think of 2 possibilites.

    1: You don't understand rotating tricks in these games. Completely opposite to real skating, tricks in THProSkate game are perfectly consistent. If you can do a flip trick once you can do it perfectly every single time in all 4 main stances. and even do it with your eyes closed. Same goes for rotating 180s. It doesn't matter what the graphics display. The game determines if you landed a clean spin based on the time spent spinning. You may look like you're spinning more, but if you hold the command for the same duration as any spin divisible by 180, you will literally never bail. I can't imagine falling in this game from missing a 180. The physics are so forgiving you can literally land at 90 degrees and roll away at full speed.

    2: You're a complete fraud, and you never truly played these games. Sure, you may have owned them for years. You probably even spent literally hundreds if not 1000's of hours tied to televisions with the game displayed, but all you ever mastered was randomly and sloppily mashing buttons while staring at the combo meter. How is it even possible for someone to accidentally do the "wrong" trick in this game? Either you do it or not, It's only pressing a button! If there's not enough space or air to do a certain trick, then don't friggin do it! Do a different one instead! If you're not strictly doing tricks that you can land with the circumstances available to you, then you are obviously just hitting all the buttons at once without any clue of what will happen. if that is the case, I can only presume that you're a massive fraud.

    Say it ain't so Rat!.

  16. what the hell do you mean theres nothing to do in hotter than hell? ride the buggys and watch the live concert dude!

  17. i am a fan of ur videos but i feel like u complained way too much during this. one, the hawaii building's wire on top is meant to be grinded to get to the top of the building, seemed pretty obv. two, almost all the items u collect are in easy to skate lines and u really have to purposely stray away to miss them. third NJ is easy as hell to skate, feels like it was made specifically to make crazy combos around the whole map and it makes the last mission pretty easy in my opinion. i think it may be the best tony hawk map of all time. no offense just seems like ur making things feel way harder then they are.

  18. I got every gap in the game except arson investigation i dont know how to get it and im still pissed about it to this day

  19. I never had a problem with climbing that hotel in Hawaii but I played on the ps2 so maybe the control was better

  20. I broke one of my controllers doing hangover cure on sick I literally whacked it off the floor and broke the dpad and the left stick😂🤣

  21. The Gamecube version was the best in regards to the pressure flip/nollie issue. The GC controller triggers were "pressure" sensitive. They would respond to light presses and then after pushing enough you would get a separate click response. I never thought about how annoyed xbox and ps2 players would be XD

  22. I just realized, at 14:20 you mentioned that it was the first time nostalgia for the older games came in, when in THPS3 you could unlock THPS1 levels

  23. Why do you give a shit about the trick animations? It's a fucking Tony hawk game not skate, you are so fucking annoying

  24. Personaly to me I thought,Tony hawk's 1,2,3 were the best the others were to glitchy for me,to much crammed into one game,like for instant riding a BMX & haven to do bike tricks na not for me at all sorry

  25. I am pretty sure the 360 hardflip is spinning the correct way actually. Great reviews though man, keep it up!

  26. Replaying this game right now for PS2 and it still holds up! The first game I had was THPS4 and my best friend had 3. I also had THUG2. Over the years I dwindled my PS2 games (BIG MISTAKE) as I got a 360 and now a PS4. I'm waiting from THPS4, THUG2, American Wasteland and Project 8 to come in the mail as we speak! So excited to relive some old memories and make new ones with the last two games I mentioned which I never owned! I honestly wish they would remake THUG with a different story with the same premise and theme with different levels.

  27. I remember playing this in the display at best buy and thinking how cool it was to get off your board and thought the graphics were insane. Wow lol

  28. you forgot to mention why you picked the female character
    it was because that mission on Russia, when they asked if you like russian woman regardless the gender you picked ?
    i never cared too much about it tbh
    cool review tho ! some of stuff you mentioned i didn't notice playing the game

  29. Hey I know this is an old video and a lot of people probably gonna look over this but I'm pretty sure the black or white button on the Xbox controller works as the revert as well. It's just kinda weird switching over to them but it's better then spinning. I learned this when I played thps4 for xbox. I think it should work. Maybe that makes these reverts on the original Xbox better so you can have the graphics and control as well idk

  30. Thug is my "classic" but I loved the tricks in and spots in thug 2 plus it has classic mode and say what you want the story mode is entertaining.

    Austrailia , School, Berlin , Love Park , Bermuda triangle/portal to hell. So many sick spots
    And awesome soundtrack

    The trick I always made was Kick flip melon with the star and finish edited to look slick

  31. Definitely my favorite THPS, then the after the first game. Also you sound very similar to the ON Video narrator, which is neat as it is called Rad Rat Video. I'm glad I subscribed. (:

  32. Are you ever gonna do a video about the GBA port for this game? It was missing basically everything that made this game what it is but it's still a surprisingly solid game

  33. You skipped the best part of beating story mode twice. You get to skip Sparrow's stupid boss fight and just punch that douche in the face and just take your tape back.

  34. The green woman is like basically a green screen you made it so easy for Eric to edit himself into the footage!

  35. Bro you’re a noob if you’re having trouble reverting and spinning.. amongst the other things you’re talking about.. sorry lol

  36. my absolute favorite TH entry in the series. I remember at the time I never felt more inspired to skate. Those hopes died fast but I had a faux hawk. Viva La Revolution – The adicts

  37. 10:31 – Eric steals your Hawaii tape and doesn’t put it in the team video thus making you not having a spot in the video. The evidence that supports this is the dude you sit next to for the premiere who says “you weren’t even in it.” Presumably Eric had his own footage and put that in the team video. This makes sense when he gives you the tape at the end of the game. If he used your tape in the team video as his own then why would he offer the tape at the end? He wouldn’t as the world would assume it was his and you couldn’t do anything with it as people would think it’s Eric’s footage. Eric offering your tape as a bet means he didn’t use it and cut it from the team video. Plot hole solved.

  38. Bruhhhhhhh being a grown ass man doing that is one thing but being a kid 😂😂😂😂 I loved that shit. The roof at Hawaii and the Russian escape is dope, plus I hate kiss but I played that level more than anything

  39. I'm blessed with the hardcopy PC version of this game. Too bad I still have to download an exe file to get iot working. Facemapping on it is spot on though! Love THUG1 and 2 for that feature. Feel I could really get my character to look decently like me in game, way better than on PS2.

  40. THERES NOTHING RACIST ABOUT STEREOTYPES! Stop with this shit. The Asian chef is not racist at all dude….it's an American fast food restaurant that's made our population of obese fatties even more obese so having an Asian chef talking about mixing old tricks and news tricks has absolutely no racism in it at all. Just because there's a somewhat stereotypical characature of someone doesn't mean it's racist. Your completely confused on what "racist" means

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