|“||I got it all. My own company, six cars in my garage, a record deal in the works... what have you got? Food stamps?||„|
|~ Eric Sparrow taunts the Custom Skater about his ill-gotten fame|
Eric Sparrow is the main antagonist in the 2003 video game, Tony Hawk's Underground. He initially serves as the Custom Skater's best friend who later becomes their rival and enemy, continually attempting to sabotage the skater's career.
He later appears in Tony Hawk's Underground 2, and Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, in a secondary antagonist role as a cocky, cheating pro skater.
In both THUG games, he was voiced by Ben Diskin.
Role in Tony Hawk's Underground
Eric Sparrow first appears as the Custom Skater's best friend, and the two live in a suburban neighborhood in New Jersey. In the start of the story, Eric informs the Custom Skater that Chad Muska is going to be holding a skate demo in their neighborhood, before getting the skater to recover his board after it was stolen and smashed to pieces by a gang of drug dealers. At the demo, Eric shows fascination with Muska's success and then skates with the player. Later on, after the skater recovers a stolen board from the drug dealers for Shawn, a fellow local skater, Eric appears and sets the dealers' car on fire as revenge. After the player talks with Stacy Peralta to get a sponsorship, Eric warns the skater that the dealers have found out that he set fire to their car and are coming after him. As they try to get a train to Manhattan to escape the dealers, Eric is ultimately kidnapped by them, and after an intense car chase, the player manages to rescue Eric and escape on the train.
Arriving in Manhattan, Eric helps film the skater's tricks. After a heated confrontation with local skaters, where Eric insults them, the skater strikes a deal where the locals film the two perform at their favorite spots. Eric eventually films the skater performing tricks over a burning taxi, which provides a video to get a sufficient sponsorship from Peralta, allowing the two to head to the Tampa AM skateboarding competition.
Upon arriving in Tampa, they get in trouble with local law enforcement when Eric insults a police officer, and the skater must bail him out by doing favors for the cops. Once released, Eric proceeds to take revenge by having the player destroy the re-election signs for the city's mayor before evading the cops in a stolen cruiser. The two head towards the Tampa AM, where it is revealed that Eric only signed himself up, whilst "accidentally" forgetting to do the same for the skater, and Eric enters as the skater is kept out. Luckily, the player manages to impress none other than Tony Hawk himself, who puts in a good word, allowing the skater to enter. The skater wins the tournament and gets offers from several sponsors, much to Eric's fury.
In San Diego, Eric gets recruited by the same sponsor that the Custom Skater picked and is put onto the skater's team, led by their manager, Todd. Eric meets with the Custom Skater again, still somewhat irritated over his loss in Tampa. When the Custom Skater and Eric both impress the team manager, they board a flight to Hawaii.
In Hawaii, the Custom Skater tells Eric about a secret spot untouched by skaters and Eric offers to help film it. The spot turns out to be the top of a tall hotel, which gives Eric some worries, but he films the skater there anyway. Eventually a police helicopter shows up, prompting Eric to suggest running away. However, the player has Eric film him/her pulling a McTwist over the helicopter and onto an adjacent hotel. An astounded Eric then regroups with the player and they escape from the police, excited over their new footage.
In Vancouver, after the Custom Skater is done doing some local favors, the Custom Skater heads to Slam City Jam to view his/her team's video premiere, after hurriedly finishing parts for it. However, Eric had edited the rooftop jump segment to his benefit, much to the skater's shock and anger. Todd immediately makes Eric a Pro, and presents him his own pro-model board. The player angrily confronts Eric, who couldn't care less about his/her plight. The skater decides to get back at Eric by entering the Slam City Jam contest and, despite still being an Amateur, lies that he/she is a Pro and takes on a series of Pro competitions. The competition climaxes in a one-on-one between the Custom Skater and Eric. The Custom Skater wins, and is declared a Pro by Todd. After the Custom Skater designs his/her own deck and gains a shoe sponsor, the team heads to the Moscow Invitational, one of the world's largest skate demos.
In Moscow, while practicing for the demo, Eric decides to reconcile with the player to regain his/her trust, and the two do a double performance together. Eventually, Eric gets drunk and steals the keys to a Russian military tank, taking it on a joyride through Moscow. Despite the skater attempting to stop him, Eric loses control of the tank and crashes into a government building, leaving the Custom Skater trapped inside after rubble falls on the tank. Eric runs off and blames the skater for the incident, causing the skater to get arrested. Todd, unwilling to pay the $700,000 worth of damages, proceeds to kick the skater off the team and leave them stranded in Moscow, much to Eric's delight.
With help from the American embassy and Russian locals, the Custom Skater returns home to New Jersey, only to find that Eric has changed for the worse. He has many sponsors, a record label in the making, and now only skates for money. Eric reveals that he'd been plotting to stab the Custom Skater in the back from the very beginning, and that he believes that money is all that matters in professional skateboarding. The Custom Skater decides to show Eric just how wrong he is by making a "soul skating" video; a collection of pure skateboarding exhibitions featuring a team of the best professional skateboarders selected by the Custom Skater and Stacy Peralta. The release of the video is very successful, and in response, Eric tries to buy the player out. However, not interested in the money and fed up with Eric's constant betrayals and selfish, deceitful behavior, the player declares their friendship over and prepares to walk off with Peralta. However, Eric suddenly reveals that he has possession of the unedited Hawaii tape that he refused to let air at Slam City Jam, and challenges the Custom Skater to one last skate-off, with the Hawaii tape at stake. After beating Eric on his own skateboarding line, the Custom Skater takes the tape and walks away from Eric, who screams and curses at the skater as they leave.
On a second run-through of the game, there is an alternate ending. Instead of the Custom Skater following Eric's line again, a cutscene shows him flashing the tape at the Custom Skater, but in a final move, the Custom Skater punches Eric in the jaw, grabs the tape, and walks away as an unconscious Eric slumps onto the hood of his car.
Personality and Skills
Eric displays a very sarcastic and rather arrogant personality throughout the game. He consistently throws taunts and insults at others and is willing to use any means necessary to rise to the top, betraying his friends, causing damage to property, and even inflicting harm on others.
Initially, he shows himself to be rather helpful and laid back, though also a bit paranoid. He helps the player with tasks and filming tricks, displaying a somewhat friendly demeanor. However, this is merely a facade to hide his true nature, that of a incredibly vain, selfish, deceptive and conniving opportunist. He is very callous towards others' problems and is only concerned with his own self interests. Slowly, these traits start to show up, such as when the skater wins the Tampa AM, rather than be happy for his friend's success, he throws his skateboard on the ground in frustration, and then keeps that attitude when they meet again in San Diego. He is also very greedy, as he refuses to skate for some kids unless he gets $5,000 dollars in his hand, believing money to be the only real benefit of professional skateboarding. He is also extremely arrogant as he sees himself as an expert skateboarder with no equal and berates others with sneering taunts.
He is shown to be a skilled skateboarder who can perform excellent tricks and lines, able to crush any competition in tournaments, with the exception of the skater.