I played through Tony Hawk's Underground 1 and 2 on the original Xbox, so here's some words:
This game follows you and Eric Sparrow, two friends who skateboard from Jersey, as you both try to go pro. There's some plot twists and turns where Eric betrays you, but overall the plot definitely just exists to get you from level to level and to naturally unlock parts of levels as you progress. It's a good system! The cutscenes have some funny dialogue, really good animations, and pretty good voice acting that makes watching them a pleasant experience.
Very nice graphics for the time, runs at 720p on the OG Xbox which looks pretty good! Almost always a solid 60fps except when there's particle effects taking up most of the screen.
Controls pretty well, althought wallplanting is significantly harder to do in-the-moment than sticker slaps from THUG 2, so I found myself failing some combos due to hitting a wall.
I really enjoyed the story, though the last mission where you have to ride Eric's line is disproportionately harder than all the other missions before it. But I definitely felt compelled to actually complete the story.
The locations, while they mostly felt same-y, were all great, pretty large, and had plenty of secrets to find. Looks like each level has at least a secret tape, and possibly an unlock for a retro level from previous games (though I'm bad at video game and only found 1)
One oddity is that there's a pretty decent amount of "driving" you have to do in the story. I found it a little clunky for a game about skateboarding, but it's limited to like one forced segment per level, so it's not annoying.
I give this game a 10.876 out of 11.
Extra: Once you complete the story, you can go to "Hotter Than Hell" which is a KISS concert in Australia.
This game follows you and an ensemble cast of Jackass characters and pro skaters as you tour the globe on an "underground tour" of destruction and mayhem. There are no plot twists, and the cutscenes are pretty much just full of rushed animations, slapstick comedy, and gross humor, and the plot barely ties the levels together unlike the first game. It's minor, because nobody's really going to play a Tony Hawk game for the plot.
The graphics actually seemed to receive a downgrade, with the character models having a more cartoon-y look to them that somehow didn't age as well as the more realistic setup in the first game. Game still runs at 720p but there are many odd graphical glitches with the menus that make it pretty clear they didn't test it thoroughly. The game also seems to perform worse than the first game, with significantly more frequent dips below 60fps.
The story is super shoehorned in, with the gist of it basically being "We're going to go to these locations and do the same things in each place with minor variations" - there are more objectives you can do, but significantly less variety than the first game.
As far as locations go, they look better in most cases but many feel significantly smaller than the THUG 1 levels. They don't seem to have secret tapes or hidden levels to unlock. The
The character creation system has more options in this game, though I felt they probably should have spent more time working on the story and locations.
The final level is just a big skatepark on a hill, and since the story is just "do tricks in every place" I didn't feel compelled to actually complete the level. I've done it in the past, so I knew that after the level there's nothing really worth spending another 15-20 minutes doing the same things I've already done in other levels.
I rate THUG 2 5.2224 out of 8.4 stars. Other than a few skating mechanic improvements, like sticker slapping for quick wall reversals and using special to slow down time, it's a pretty significant downgrade from the first game.