Enroll in a 12 step program before playing. 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

Enroll in a 12 step program before playing.

I had it bad. Really bad. Like 3 in the morning, eyes glued to the television,

haven’t showered in a few days bad. The kind of bad only truly understood by inmates,

crazy homeless guys and die-hard Dr.

Who
fans. The kind of bad that, until this very moment, I entirely refused

to acknowledge as having actually happened.

My name is Ben, and I am a Tony Hawk’s

Pro Skater
addict.

It started innocently enough. “Hey! Now that’s a cool game! I should take

home a copy…” No, Ben, you really shouldn’t. Because taking home a copy of

Tony Hawk Pro Skater would wind up leading to the kind of late-night

obsessive activity usually reserved for manic-depressives. Yeah, I had it bad.

So when a gold burn of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 ollied up into the

GR mailbox, there was little doubt as to who would be covering this highly-anticipated

sequel. Sure, others made efforts to wrestle it away, but you don’t take crack

away from a crackhead without suffering the consequences.

And as that self-proclaimed crackhead, I’m delighted to inform you that Tony

Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
is just about the sweetest crack any of us could have

hoped for. It’s a better game than the original in every sense, a tour de force

of programming wizardry that might well be the last truly great game on the

soon-to-be-extinct Playstation.

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 – 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 (though my scrawny addict ass has barely

managed to break 250,000).

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.

Considering the impressive amount of material crammed on this game disc, the

graphics have barely changed. They still look great and the game moves well.

Occasional pop-ups and somewhat cheap textures are hardly worth mentioning,

since the game looks better than about 90% of the Playstation games that have

come before it. I shudder to think about the upcoming Dreamcast and PS2 versions

and what they might do to my already pathetic social life.

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. You don’t have

to spend all those shameful late night hours alone after all.

So is there anything wrong here? Yeah, sort of. 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.

But to be honest, that’s about all I can complain about. This is that rarest

of sequels, one that betters the original from start to finish. It’s so good

it should come with a warning label – or at least some methadone.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

5
Rating
More levels, more tricks, more everything
Level Editor!
Better soundtrack
Best game engine ever