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10.0 9.6

Compared: April 2, 2002
Compared by: Mark Smith

Publisher
Activision

Developer
Neversoft Entertainment

Genre: Sports
Players: 4
ESRB: Teen


Tony Hawk is the undisputed king of the skateboard park and his series of computer and console video games have paved the way for extreme sports games on all platforms. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 is the latest installment in his ongoing series that builds and improves upon an already award-winning formula.

Note: This game is also available on the GameCube but we did not receive a copy of that version to include in this comparison.

Round 1: Control

Both the PS2 and the Xbox feature some tight and responsive controls. The lengthy tutorial walks you through all the traditional controls that are pretty much the same as they were in Tony Hawk 2X with the exception of a few new and very important moves. You now get a bubble-meter to judge your balance when performing grinds and manuals. This doesn’t necessarily make these moves any easier to perform – you just know when you are about to dump and can hopefully compensate in time.

This round was a close call but I have to give it to the PS2 simply because the Dual Shock is so much more comfortable for the long haul. The larger Xbox controller and the two triggers versus the four shoulder buttons on the Dual Shock can make the harder tricks more difficult to execute on the Xbox.

Round 2: Visuals

The Xbox version trounces all over the PS2 version in both resolutions, detail, and speed. The framerate is silky smooth and the character animation is perfect from simple skating moves to the most insane of stunts. The PS2 offered more vibrant colors, but these took away from the realistic nature of the levels. The Xbox easily wins this round.

Round 3: Music & Sound

Both versions of the game feature an amazing selection of popular licensed music to accompany the skating action, but at the end of a long day of skating you will be grateful for the custom soundtrack feature of the Xbox that lets you rip your own CD's and create your own skating tunes. This feature alone wins this round for the Xbox.

Round 4: Other Deciding Factors

The Xbox offers several exclusive features that set it further apart from the competition including a special level and a special skater. The Xbox hard drive allows you to save untold amounts of custom skateparks compares to the amount you can store on a PS2 memory card. Pro Skater 3 also support four-player skating which requires the purchase of the multi-tap if you want to have three or more skaters playing on the PS2. The Xbox has native support for four controllers - always a plus.

Bottom Line

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 is a near-perfect game on the PS2, but the Xbox picks up the few missing pieces and even adds a few new features to create the ultimate skateboarding experience. It doesn't get any better than this - at least until Tony Hawk 4 arrives.