Tony Hawk's Underground, abbreviated to THUG, is a skateboarding video game, available for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and Xbox platforms released in 2003. A PC version was released exclusively in Australia as a budget release in 2005. This version was ported by Beenox.
It is the fifth game in the Tony Hawk's series. It features the ability to create a custom character, and supports face mapping and online play on the PS2 and PC versions. Unlike its predecessors, Underground focuses heavily on its story mode and is also the first game in the series to introduce the ability to travel around levels on foot.
The story follows the trials and tribulations of two unknown skaters. The player, as a Custom Skater (the main character in the storyline) and the Custom Skater's friend Eric Sparrow. The story begins in their hometown in New Jersey, with the Custom Skater and Eric exploring the area and helping prepare for Chad Muska's skate demo. After the demo, the Custom Skater performs for Chad as he explores the greater New Jersey area to grab his attention. Once accomplished, he suggests to the player to earn a sponsorship from the local skateshop, and gives the player his skateboard out of respect. After impressing the local sponsored skaters, one of Custom Skater's friends, Shawn, says that the local drug dealers have stolen a skateboard from Peralta's shop. The custom skater is sent on a dangerous odyssey to retrieve it.
The Custom Skater then meets up with Stacy Peralta, and asks for a sponsorship from his skate shop. He makes it a deal, as long as the Custom Skater shows him something original, and don't film in any local spots. When the Custom Skater tells Eric the good news, he responds in a nervous panic that the drug dealers have been following him, angry that he destroyed their car. In an effort to help Eric, the Custom Skater leaves town with him to Manhattan, New York.
Once the Custom Skater arrives in Manhattan, he and Eric decide to make a skate video hitting famous lines and tricks in well-known areas of Manhattan, and complete the sponsorship video by performing various tricks over a burning taxi. Once completed, the Custom Skater talks to Stacy who tells him to join the Tampa AM skate event in Florida. The player arrives in Tampa in trouble with the police for driving a shoddy vehicle (an old hippie bus lent by Stacy) with a police-offensive bumper sticker (cops push mongo). Eric gets arrested for mouthing off to the officer, meaning the Custom Skater must first do favors for the local police force to bail out Eric. The Custom Skater then proceeds with the Tampa experience. By the time the event starts, the Custom Skater gets into an argument with Eric when he "forgets" to sign the Custom Skater up. After impressing local pros, and doing some doubles with Tony Hawk himself, the Custom Skater is allowed into the event.
Once the Custom Skater dominates the event, he joins the sponsor of his choice (Birdhouse, Element, Flip, Girl, or Zero, each choice modifying the GUI of the game), which sends the Custom Skater to San Diego to do a demo. Eric is soon joined to the team, introduced to the Custom Skater during his party-induced hangover. When the Custom Skater and Eric impresses their team manager Todd with their performance at the demo, the pair are sent to Hawaii to film for a team video. In Hawaii, the Custom Skater searches for a spot that has been untouched by skaters. The Custom Skater eventually finds the rooftop of a tall hotel, and calls Eric to film him skating on it. When a police helicopter arrives, Eric insists that the Custom Skater leave, but he wants to seize the moment of a challenge, and perform a McTwist off the hotel's roof, over the helicopter, and onto the rooftop of the neighboring building, with Eric capturing it on film. Custom Skater and his team then travels to Vancouver, Canada.
In Vancouver, after doing some local favors, the Custom Skater goes to Slam City and view the team's video premiere, after hurriedly finishing parts for it. To the surprise of the Custom Skater, Eric had edited the filming of the rooftop jump to his benefit. Todd immediately makes Eric a professional skater, and presents him his own pro-model board. After confronting Eric, who couldn't care less about the frantic and angry situation that Custom Skater is in, the Custom Skater enters the Slam City Jam contest, and (despite still being an Amateur) lies that he is a pro and proceeds to take on a series of pro-competitions. The competition ends in a one-on-one between the Custom Skater and Eric. The Custom Skater wins, and is declared a pro by Todd. After gaining a shoe sponsor, the team decides to go to an international pro skateboard demo in Moscow. While practicing for the demo, the Custom Skater is reconciled with Eric, and the two perform a double performance together.
In Moscow, Custom Skater follows a drunk Eric when he steals the keys to a Russian tank, and takes it on a ride through town. After attempting to stop it, the Custom Skater loses control of the tank, and crashes into a building and becomes trapped in the tank under a pile of rubble. Eric runs off, leaving the Custom Skater to get sent to jail. The team sacks the Custom Skater, and leaves him stranded in Moscow. The American Embassy bails Custom Skater out, but he must get home by doing favors for locals.
When Custom Skater arrives back in New Jersey, he finds that Eric has changed. Eric now has many sponsors, has a record label in the making and now only skates for money. Eric reveals that he has been plotting to bring the Custom Skater down from the very beginning, and that the money is all that matters in professional skateboarding. The Custom Skater resolves to show Eric how wrong he is by making a "soul skating" video; a collection of pure skating exhibitions featuring a team of the best pros selected by the Custom Skater and Peralta. This is very successful, and provokes Eric into challenging the player to a last "skateboarding line" in return for the Hawaii tape he refused to let air at the Slam City Jam. After the player wins, the Custom Skater takes the tape and walks away from Eric, who throws a tantrum as the player leaves.
If the player completes the story a second time, there is an alternate ending. Instead of the Custom Skater following Eric's line again, a cut scene shows him flashing the tape at the player, but in a final frustrated move, the player punches Eric in the jaw, grabs the tape, and walks away as Eric faints onto his car. If all of the challenges are completed, the player is rewarded with a collection of game cheats.
There are secret tapes and levels from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 that the player can unlock by obtaining 'floating' pictures of the THPS2 game case or tapes.
For the first time in the series, the player can get off the board in order to walk, run and climb around as an alternate to skating. This is necessary to reach some locations and challenges. The player is now able to leave the skateboard in the middle of a combo of tricks and continue the combo elsewhere, as long as he or she continues within a time limit. Added to the moves in THUG is the wall push, the wall plant, hip transfer and acid drop.
In each level of the game (usually by beating a challenge that requires it), the player also has an opportunity to use vehicles throughout the level. Encountering the professional skateboarders in each level features them trying to teach the player a new trick to add to their slots (although these goals are not necessary for progression in the game).
The game's default in story mode is the Custom Skater. By playing the levels and challenges, the player can pre-emptively access the professional playable characters in Free Skate modes, as well as unlock secret and bonus characters through Story Mode.
IGN rated the game a 9.5/10, while Gamespot rated the game a 8.9/10. While in Metacritic, the game has an aggregate score of 90/100, based on 38 critic reviews. The game has sold 2.41 million copies on the PS2 worldwide.
- E3 2003 Game Critics Awards: Best Sports Game
- GameSpot's Best And Worst 2003 Most Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising
- MTV Video Music Awards's 2004 Best Video Game Soundtrack