Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 Review

Ben Silverman
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • Activision

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • DreamCast
  • Mac
  • PS

rating

Stop wasting my time and go buy this game.

Having already reviewed this

game for the PSX
, as well as having played and raved extensively about the

original Tony Hawk for the

PSX
, N64 and

Dreamcast
, I have to admit that I’m running out of things to say about it.

Simply put, I grow weary. And if you’re getting a little weary having

to read review after review of this game, let me state right here, for the record,

that Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 for the Dreamcast is a terrific game. It’s

a must-have. It rocks. Go buy it.

What? You’re still here? I told you to go buy it! Click on that ‘Shop’ button

and spend some goddamn money! Ugh… still need convincing? Fine. But it’s really

just a waste of our time…and since this game is identical to its PSX brother,

most of this review is the same as well. Welcome to cop out city!

Tony Hawk’s name carries a lot of weight, and this is apparent by the A-list

of pro skaters who lend their likeness to the game. You can skate as the Birdman

himself or one of 12 other pros, ranging from old-school Bones Brigade legends

like Steve Caballero to upstarts like Andrew Reynolds.

You’ll find all the same gameplay modes in the Dreamcast version as the PSX

version – Free Skate, Single Session, and an all-new Career mode round out the

single player hijinks. This time around, Career mode allows you to earn money

by completing level objectives, which is then used to buy better gear, new moves,

or to increase your skater’s various skills. This is a great addition and gives

the game more depth.

THPS 2 has 8 enormous levels, each easily double the size of the levels

in the original. You’ll grind subway rails in New York, go ramp crazy at Ventura

Beach, tear up liberty bells in Philly, and even test the patience of a bull

in Mexico. And where the first game only had 5 objectives per level, this one

has 10…and some are REALLY hard. Scoring over 200,000 points in one run is

not easily accomplished by beginners. Trust me on this.

The environments are also chock full of objects, and nearly every surface

can be skated and tricked off. You’ll even find secret areas that are only accessed

by accomplishing certain unnamed tasks, giving each level its own replay value.

The original introduced a control scheme that has been imitated by just about

every extreme game since (Grind

Session
and Dave Mirra BMX,

to name a few). Thankfully, they haven’t really changed anything, aside from

adding on some new moves. Perhaps the most useful is the manual, which you can

use in between grinds and jumps to link up some insane combos. This can lead

to level scores way up in the millions.

The excellent control is really what pushes this game from great to fantastic.

Skating around the immense levels while linking up chains of moves really captures

the essence and flow of real skating. Sure, it’s over-the-top, but that’s part

of what makes it so fun. This is simply one of the best game engines ever built,

and the Neversoft guys deserve yet another round of drinks.

The amazing depth is furthered when you take into account the all new Level

Editor. You can design your own skate park from scratch, including themes, scenery,

and every ramp, step, kicker and pool. The interface is intuitive and easy to

learn, and adds replay to a game that doesn’t even really need it. You can spend

hours on the single player Career mode alone. I just can’t imagine getting bored

with this game.

More customization can also be found in the Skater Creator. You can build

your own little thrasher, complete with his own outfit, skill set and moves

list. While not nearly as impressive as the yet to be matched player creator

from WWF Attitude, this is

still a step up from the original.

The

Creator is made even better in the DC version due to the improved graphics.

I was actually able to create my dream skater – J.J. from Good

Times
. Now if only I could design my own moves…I’m dying to pull off

the “Dy-no-mite Kickflip!”

The graphics, by the way, are brilliant. The textures are realistic, the framerate

hauls, the characters look great and there’s very little pop-up. Shadows accompany

the sakter wherever he goes, lending an impressive 3D feel. They’re just a huge

improvement ove the original…check

here to see a side-by-side comparison
(the left is PSX, the right is DC).

I’ll readily admit not being the biggest fan of contemporary punk rock, which

made the soundtrack from the first game sort of tough to swallow after the thirtieth

time. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 features a wider assortment of music,

from punk to rap to metal. Plus, it’s got the Anthrax/Public Enemy classic

Bring the Noise
, which is so cool that trying to explain how cool it is

will do Chuck D. a disservice. Yeeeeeahhhhh boooyyyyyeeeee!

As if all this wasn’t enough (it is, by the way), you can still play against

friends in Graffiti, Trick Attack, HORSE, or the new Tag mode. Again, the improved

graphics in this version makes for an even smoother two-player game.

I should note that there isn’t actually anything new in the DC version. This

was a problem in the Dreamcast version of the original, mainly because the game

came out nearly a year after the PSX version and they had plenty of time to

come up with some new stuff. Since the DC version of Tony Hawk 2 came

out right after the PSX version, however, I’m not taking off any points for

the lack of new stuff in this one.

So is there anything wrong here? Yeah, if you squint your eyes and look REALLY

hard.

The replay feature is a bit archaic and still won’t let you manually control

playback. This can get irritating, particularly when the CPU playback totally

misses the kick-ass moves you wanted to see again.

The camera is fixed, meaning there is but one option. It’s pretty solid, but

THPS 2 could really use a ‘free look’ feature like the one in Grind

Session
, or at least a few different angles to choose from. You can’t look

up or down, which can lead to frustration when trying to locate a certain ledge

or object.

Also, the sound in the DC version is a bit weak. Not sure why, but effects

sound thin and tinny compared to the PSX version.

But these are niggling faults, and once again we have a winner. This is a

better game than the PSX version, which itself is a better game than the first

Tony Hawk, which itself is one of the best games ever. The result is

a no-brainer.

It’s Dy-no-miiite!

 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

5
Rating
More levels, more tricks, more everything
Improved graphics
Level editor!
Best game engine ever