Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

a game by Neversoft Entertainment, and Activision

Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64GBA

Genre: Sports

See also: Skateboarding Games, Tony Hawk's Games

Overview

Like extreme sports? Don't like to wear the pads? Can't handle the pain? Have you ever dreamed of doing those gravity-defying stunts on a skateboard? Well, then this is the game for you. This game is all gain and no pain. I do not like sports games, but I did like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. It is a bit tricky to get a handle on the controls and I do not know if I will ever be good enough to be a top pro, but I am going to have fun trying for a long time. This game has lots of replay appeal. This is a continuation of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater from other platforms. Having never played the first version, I do not have this previous play as a point of reference, but I can say, as a novice to the game, that this is a lot of fun. You are still one of 13 professional skaters trying to make a name for yourself and be the best. You actually have 13 games in one since you can start over as a different professional and try to take each one to the top of the pro circuit. Keep in mind though, to try another skater you must be willing to lose your current game. You can only have one active skater in your arsenal so make sure you try them all before you commit and choose who you want to be at the top of the professional skate circuit.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

This is the area where I need the most practice. The controls are great and full-featured. This makes the game a bit more complicated than most to learn, but worth the effort. There are all kinds of combinations of button pushes to execute moves: the bigger the moves, the more buttons that are involved. Spins and grabs combined can give you all kinds of results. You will need to get creative on your button and arrow pushing combinations, you never know what you will get for the move on the wall or in the air. It will take the new player extra time to master the controls. Once you get this down, you will get the big money needed to move on with the professional skate circuit. Keep track of what you do and in what order. You may like the result and want to do it again. You get fewer points for doing the same trick in each round, so learn lots of tricks. The first time you do it you get maximum points, then the number of points for the same move declines by 25 percent. You can get bonus points and extra multipliers by getting better landings and by adding difficulty to the basic moves. You can get up to six times the point score at up to 150 percent of the basic score. Each time you have a perfect landing on a stunt you get 150 percent of the points possible. If you did the stunt with a 900-degree turn and had a perfect landing you will get 150 percent of the score for the move times 6 for doing the perfect 900-degree turn. You know what they say, practice, practice, practice.

Multiplayer

This still seems to be the one area that most of the game developers for the Gameboy Advance tend to overlook. In other words, there is no multiplayer mode for Pro Skater 2. It would have been a lot of fun to at least be able to have a practice session with friends and even better to have a match play taking turns but watching each other's moves and scores. Maybe a free-for-all where both players are trying to out-do each other without running into one another. This was definitely a missed opportunity.

Graphics

The look is clear, clean, and you can see what you are doing. Too many Gameboy Advance games are dark, but this has good lighting and contrast. The perspective is a bit hard to get used to but once you get over the third person view and the angle, you will be much more successful with your tricks. The skaters have good detail even though the screen is small, and the game has a good feel for movement and good depth of field. You will get the feeling that you are really hanging in the air and then falling for the ground. I have read it is possible to get a 900-degree turn: that would be something to see and to land. Good Luck!

Audio

The music and sound affects are good and appropriate. The sounds on the ramps and especially the grind sounds are great. The music is what you would expect the professional skaters to have playing in the background. There is good energy in the music and it can pump you up for the big move -- I think the sound adds a lot to this game. Many times you get developers who put sound in simply because they think it has to have it and often times this comes out as tacked on and unnecessary. This is certainly not the case here. Rock on!

Documentation

Reading the instruction booklet is a must. When you first start, the booklet is as important as the game itself. There are some helpful tips and you need to know how to learn to control your skater. I keep it handy right now since I still forget from time to time how to do some of the combinations. The profile information contained in the booklet is nice but I would not spend much time reading through the stats until you play some and get a feel for how each professional skates -- then go back and see what his or her stats are. Compare this with your least favorite skater and you will get an idea of what stats you want to pump up with your cash prize money.

Bottom Line

I really liked this game, and I do not like sports games most of the time. This game is a lot of fun. Players who are familiar with the original Tony Hawk titles will not find anything new, but it is a darn good sequel. Another shortcoming (characteristic, it seems of most GBA games right now) is the lack of a multiplayer option. All in all, however, this is a great game. I would recommend it to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater fans and first time players alike. I do not know if I will ever be good at it, but I will always have fun every time I pick it up and I play a few games. There is a lot of replay value in this game as you strive to make the perfect move. All it takes is getting one great move once in a while and you will be hooked for life -- you will be in pursuit of the perfect run with the maximum score. Speaking of score, 89. Grind on!

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