Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Mobile
Tony Hawk ollies his way onto cell phones thanks to JAMDAT, and we have the full review right here!
Tony Hawk is one of the most marketable names in the game industry, and JAMDAT is the leading force behind cell phone games, so it makes perfect sense that the company has released a pint-sized version of Activision's hit, Tony Hawk's Underground 2. It doesn't have as many features as the console THUG 2, but this mobile phone adventure provides extreme thrills that'll keep you busy wherever you are.
JAMDAT's THUG 2, despite its 2D style, retains most of what makes its big brother such a hit. For starters, the story is still intact. Kidnapped by Tony Hawk and Bam Margera, you're asked to participate in a World Destruction Tour along with other skaters. You join Tony's team, and he asks that you complete various challenges to prevail. If your team wins, you'll enjoy the sweet smell of victory. If you lose, your team has to pay for the entire tour! What ensues is a fantastic romp throughout some of most famous cities in the world!
In THUG 2 you'll travel to all sorts of cool places, including Boston, Barcelona, New Orleans, Sydney, Berlin, and Skatopia (you can unlock other levels), and each has a specific theme. For example, New Orleans has Mardi Gras ladies dancing about, and in Boston, you'll get to skate around Boston Common. Each area has numerous challenges to complete, such as collecting Mardis Gras beads, knocking the heads off statues, grinding on salamander sculptures, and flipping switches to derail a cargo train. There's definitely a nice level of variety here, so you're not always completing the same mundane tasks over and over.
In addition to finishing objectives, there's a trick system to mess around with. It's nowhere near as extensive as, let's say, the Xbox version, but you can still perform some cool stuff. The game features two trick buttons, and combining them with jumps and the like will produce neat results.
Simply put, THUG 2's graphics are amazing. Now when I say amazing, I'm not talking about the kind of stuff that's going to put Halo 2 in its place. Rather, for a cell phone game, what's here is very impressive. The environments are well detailed and have a distinctive feel. For example, in Sydney, you see the beach, kangaroos, and surfboards, and in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is in full swing. It's just a fun game to look at.
As for the music, you'll hear several different themes when cycling through levels and those are pretty cool. While playing, all you'll hear are effects when you pick up items and complete objectives and they sound fine. There's even a little digitized speech in there!
THUG 2 is an enjoyable experience, but the controls are one of the few low points because it's a trial and error process. They work for the most part, but it can be difficult lining up your skater with narrow ramps, which causes you to constantly go back and forth. It's also difficult to grind because it's next to impossible to tell how to get your tiny 2D character onto rails. JAMDAT certainly did its best to make the game easy to play (and you can learn through a tutorial), but as cell phone games become more complex, that tiny keypad is going to become more difficult to use.
The few JAMDAT games that I've played accommodate for interruptions. Whenever I quickly closed the phone while playing NBA 2005, the game would automatically save my game so I could resume it later. Not so with THUG 2. If you need to quit, you'll have to restart the challenge again.
Complaints aside, I think JAMDAT did a marvelous job. Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is jam-packed with stuff to do (there's also a Free Skate and Tutorial feature), and it looks great on those tiny screens. If you'd like some "Hawk" to go, THUG 2 is the ultimate cell phone gaming experience.
What's Hot: Graphics are excellent and the game is a fun overall experience.
What's Not: The controls could use some work, as it is difficult to get used to the keypad.