Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 are two iconic games that hold a special place in the hearts of PlayStation 1 gamers. More than that, their simple and addicting gameplay garnered much praise from both critics and gamers alike. So much so that they are regarded as some of the best games of their generation. And their scores reflect that.
Nowadays, the franchise has fallen on hard times. A long line of mediocre games and a couple of failed peripherals nearly destroyed the franchise. Do the Tony Hawk games still have something left in the tank? Let’s have a look.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a remake of the 1st two games in the Pro Skater series. Much of the game involves taking part in fast-paced sessions that test the player’s ability to build up strings of high scoring moves by chaining individual moves together. The longer the chain, the more points the player earns.
Each session includes a list of objectives in the form of park goals that involve things like achieving high scores, collecting S-K-A-T-E letters, and other park unique objectives. Ultimately, the objective is to clear as many park goals as possible to unlock more skate parks.
The game’s highly customizable controls allow player input to base moves all the way to special moves. (Provided they are unlocked in the first place.) All skaters are capable of pulling off ollies, verts, grabs, grinds, and manuals to varying degrees of effectiveness depending on their skill point distribution.
Additional moves like wallrides and wallies don’t have a corresponding skill point but they are essential when it comes to accessing hidden areas. The controls in the game are smooth and very responsive. You can clearly see where you could’ve messed up on a combo, with the exception of some questionable landings that appear as you’ve tripped on a pebble or something.
Players who want to head straight into the game will want to go to the Stake Tours menu. There, players are greeted by menus asking them if they want to start a Pro Skater 1 session or Pro Skater 2 session. Progression in one of the modes does not affect the other unless it concerns stat points. Stat points are collectibles that give skaters an extra stat point of their choosing upon collection. Each individual stat point is unique to the skater that collects it. So, if your custom skater collects a stat point, that stat point bonus won’t affect Tony Hawk’s stats.
A third menu called Ranked and Free Skate is also present. As the name states, Ranked drops players into a single 2 minutes session where you are pitted against other players in a contest for the most points on a certain map. Players can always check the scores in the global leaderboard. Free skate, on the other hand, lets players skate around the map for as long as they please.
Every skate park has hidden gaps that contribute greatly to the combo’s score. Gaps are hidden trick areas that give extra bonus points to your combo. They are definitely go-to spots if you’re looking to score very high, very fast. Successfully pulling off tricks fills up a stake meter. When the skate meter is full, you can jump higher, skate faster, and perform special tricks when the meter is glowing. Basically, it’s a performance booster… but better. And it stays up until you fall off your board.
Almost every action in the game comes with it an associated Challenge. Completing challenges will net the player guaranteed experience and cash. As the player levels up, they unlock more cosmetic items to further customize their skater of choice. Also, it is worth mentioning that some challenges even unlock special skateboard decks. This, in my opinion, is the driving force that encourages players to keep coming back to the game long after all the skate parks have been unlocked. From what I’ve noticed so far, some of the best cosmetics remain locked behind skill challenges. As with the 90’s mentality at the time, having those cosmetics is as good as having bragging rights on any leaderboard.
Other activities like Create a Park present level makers an opportunity to create their parks. The cool part of the level creator is that it is very robust, to the point that there is a separate tab for altering the shapes of geometric presets. If a person is very confident in their rail grinding skills, the rail editor is the perfect tool for creating impossibly hard rail grinds of equally impossible lengths.
Of all the reasons why this Tony Hawk is so interesting to me, I suppose it is the soundtracks that got me the most interested. Listening to Blood Brothers by Papa Roach again brought joy to my heart that I didn’t know that I was missing. The same also applies to When Worlds Collide by Powerman 5000 and Guerilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine. I used to listen to these songs endlessly while trying to get those extremely high scores. There is no better feeling than having those play in the background as I cross a high score threshold.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is an amazing game in every aspect. The custom creator parts for both custom skater and custom skate park can be acquired by earning cash and leveling up your skater. The nostalgia factor is on full blast with levels faithfully created from the ground up. I still consider doing wallrides on 5 bells to be my most memorable and annoying goal for me. Once upon a time, I had a hard time looking for those low poly bells. And when I did, doing the wallride itself wasn’t exactly a guaranteed thing. Well, now I get to do that all over again, in HD.
If you’re still on the fence about getting this game, know it is comes with local 2 player split screen sessions. Not that many games come bundled in with local multiplayer anymore. This small detail gives more value to the experience, especially in the current year of 2020. This game just keeps on giving.