Gift guide

Tony Hawk's Underground 2

PlayStation 2

Activision, $49.99

Tony Hawk, whose video-game legacy might soon eclipse his skating achievements, gives the addicted a holiday hit. Sharing the spotlight this (sixth) time around with Bam Margera and his World Destruction Tour, the story follows the two as they go head-to-head in what is less a contest of skill than mayhem. THUG2 includes the requisite new characters (Ben Franklin and Phil Margera), features (projectiles and slow motion), and soundtrack (Ultramagnetic MCs and Joy Division), but perhaps you're pining away for the halcyon days of video skating that wasn't rated "teen"? Try classic mode, skate some of the original levels, and remember what got you hooked. Get teased with the high score as you flip, twist, grind, and grab, and then watch said points drip away like so much blood when you don't stick the landing. This incarnation of Hawk retains the series' distinguishing attribute: playability. And while the new features don't really raise the bar from the lofty height of the game's predecessors, if you're that hard up for a fix, I'll see you in the checkout line.

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