Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Review

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Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft Entertainment

Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast
Reviewed on PlayStation

Tony Hawk is joined by an all star cast of the world's best professional skaters in this trick-oriented skateboarding game. The plot is effectively nonexistent, but you can still have a lot of fun skating around and accomplishing goals set for you with any one of the 13 regular or 3 hidden characters, and if that's not enough, create-a-level and create-a-skater modes are available for added depth.

The Great Thirsty

Tony Hawk 2 stole three months of my life, and quite frankly, I enjoyed it. Every night of my spring and early summer was spent in front of this game to some degree, and having passed through the career mode with each skater and created skaters of my own several times, I can honestly say that I still like to sit down and play it weekly.

Having said that, details are as follows. First, the roster. Tony Hawk puts together a pretty darn diverse group of professional skateboarders, from familiar faces (for those of us who at the very least watch the X-Games) like Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek to some people that the average person may not have heard about, such as female pro Elissa Steamer and old-school street and freestyle god Rodney Mullen. Each Character comes equipped with three signature moves, usually one in the air, one on the rail, and then either a ground trick, or another air trick (the latter especially in the case of the vert skaters).

In case anyone is unfamiliar with skateboarding, here are some basics: The cornerstone trick in this game is the ollie, which along with the slightly bigger No-comply and Boneless can basically be summed up as a "jump." Once you have jumped, you can either do a flip or grab, or grind/slide a rail. A flip is just that: the skater kicks the board to make it flip underneath him and then lands safely on it – or, alternately, falls horrifically to the ground. A grab trick is simply named as well. It's a maneuver in which the skater grabs the board and holds onto a part of it, and usually bends his/her body to extend the grab as much as possible. The grinds and slides are simply when a skater lands on a rail or ledge and slides across it on the board without using the wheels. The grind button can also be used when you reach the top of a ramp to do a liptrick, which is usually either some kind of -plant (handplant, eggplant, things that look like handstands on the edge), or a board-related trick where you stand on your board on the edge of a ramp.

With that quick explanation out of the way, back to the game. The gameplay is very similar to the first Tony Hawk game, in that you effectively skate around levels performing various tasks and accumulating points by doing tricks; finishing levels gives you money; money lets you buy stats to make your skater better, and new boards and tricks to make you get more points, and so on. Some goals require that you reach a certain score, others that you retrieve objects or perform certain tricks in certain places, but all are relatively straightforward after you get the controls down. The controls are very easy to learn, one button for jumps, then one for grabs, one for flips, and another for grinds and slides. The signature moves are done by jumping (usually) and then pressing a series of two directions and then one of the buttons. With a little practice, timing becomes a snap. The control is incredibly smooth, and enough leeway is given with the physics to keep the game fun. (There is a "simulation mode" you can unlock where that leeway is taken away, but it gets real old real fast, even if you do like the challenge.)

There are five regular levels of game play, from a hangar, to the streets of Philadelphia; along with three competitions at skateparks. In the competitions, you have to demonstrate to the virtual judges exactly why it is you're better than the others skaters by scoring as high as you can out of a possible 100 points. If these stages aren't enough, after beating the game with everyone, you're rewarded with various stuff, three hidden characters and two hidden levels, all of which are amusing at the very least. The hidden characters are a cop (Officer Dick, whose specialty is the "lazy ass grind"), Spider-Man (who... well, is Spider-Man), and Trixie (the usual video game woman – sort of a Lara-Croft, physically, but dumber). The hidden stages are the chopper hop, which is a massive half pipe in the middle of an ocean, and skate heaven, which is pretty much exactly that – a massive level filled with every imaginable obstacle for your skating pleasure, not to mention a booming voice that laughs when you fall. (Sacrilegious, maybe.... Amusing? Heck, yeah!)

In summary, BUY THIS GAME, for the Dreamcast or PlayStation 2 (I've yet to play the N64 version, but am guessing it's just as good). If you aren't interested in skating or even in video games, give it a shot – you might be surprised. It's pure, addictive fun and you get all the excitement of doing these amazing tricks without the pain and practice it takes to learn them.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on September 10, 2001 10:01 PM.

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