Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

a game by Neversoft Entertainment

Platforms: PlaystationPSXNintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genres: Action, Sports

See also: Skateboarding Games, Tony Hawk's Games

Those of you out there old enough to remember (or maybe even owned) those fat old Powell Peralta decks with your huge Rat Bones wheels will easily recognize this game's authenticity. Sega's Top Skater notwithstanding, there's been a total drought of good skateboarding titles from the glory days of Atari's 720. Unfortunately, it's been too easy as of late for gamers to lump all snowboarding and skate titles into one generic garbage pile (trust us, we know). Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is one skate game that must not be overlooked. It's quite possibly the first skateboarding title to come along that wilj really push the design of all future boarding games.

To ensure that THPS looks as good as it plays (we'll get to that later), Neversoft employed extensive motion-capture techniques for each and every trick. Everything from your by-the-book kickflip or frontside grind, to a 720 Benihana is gracefully recorded for maximum realism. An important part of why THPS feels so responsive is because each move or animated sequence seamlessly transitions into each other without so much as an awkward stutter. Combine these visuals with the game's partiality toward extremes and you have THPS; it walks that fine line between believability and playability.

A good rule of thumb in THPS is, if something's there, you can skate on it. Feel free to ollie onto benches, curbsides, over garbage cans, rails and anything else you might see at a school, in a mall or at a skate park. There will be a total of nine courses in the game, each with a different emphasis, whether it be street style, vertical, both combined or downhill tracks. Secret paths and bonuses also prolong the replay value of THPS.

As for the skaters, Tony Hawk is joined by eight other professionals, including Bob Burnquist, X-Games gold medalist Bucky Lasek, Rune Glifberg, and other notable tricksters of the street. Each one is rated in four different categories: ollie, speed, air and balance. Since the ratings correspond with real-life specialties, those known for their street finesse will possess better balance for grinds and ollies, while ramp monsters like Tony Hawk and Bucky Lasek get the most out of your vertical hang time. Each character will also have signature moves which are key to winning competitions. Successfully complete a chain of tricks and you fill up your "special" meter and score big points.

Linking moves to form aerial combos is the name of the game. The best part about THPS' gameplay is that you have complete freedom to string together any number of tricks to customize your style. You'll find yourself devising new ways to squeeze in every move in the book before coming back down. Get too greedy and you'll find yourself wimpering on the pavement. These wipeouts are some of the most cringe-inducing sequences we've ever seen.

If Neversoft can clean up the clipping problems with the in-game camera, THPS will be a near-perfect skateboarding experience. We can't wait.

  • MANUFACTURER - Neversoft Ent.
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Downloads

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater download

Overview

Tony Hawk is the biggest name in skateboarding history. It seems like he’s been around forever; he’s been a professional for 16 of the 31 years of his life. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (THPS) lets you live the life of a pro skater on the rise. So choose a skater, lose your inhibitions, and get ready to bust out some big time aerials.

Gameplay

There are a few different single and two player modes in this game. In single player there’s a non-timed free skate and a career mode. The two player modes are horse, graffiti tag, and a battle game where you are encouraged to crash into and outscore your opponent.

The single player career mode starts by picking one of 10 pro skaters, each with special tricks and different attributes. You start out with access to the Warehouse level. Each level has five video tapes for you collect. When your collection total reaches a certain number of video tapes, you gain access to other city levels and competitions. There are six different city levels and three competitions that become available as you collect more video tapes. These tapes also add new boards for you to pick, which increases your skater's skill level.

You collect tapes by completing different tasks. The first tape is hidden somewhere within the level, tapes two and three are yours by reaching certain point levels within the two minute limit. To get the fourth tape, collect five letters scattered around the level to spell the word SKATE. You get the fifth by destroying, or grinding on five things in a level. These objects change per level, from boxes on the first level to lunch tables and police cars on others. The tapes get harder to collect as the levels progress. Some of the tapes are pretty challenging, but if you do get them all, you unlock a special character.

This game has lots of moves and even more combos. Point values really grow when you combine tricks, so tack on a few different grinds to the end of any trick and you’ll score big points. Point levels go down each time you attempt the same trick, whether you land it or not. Each skater also has special signature tricks that can be executed when the special meter turns yellow and starts flashing.

The levels are big and put together well. They are full of different surfaces allowing everyone to define their own lines. Sure, the game exaggerates the laws of Physics, but that's what makes it fun! I landed lots of 900's, but I also biffed on a lot of attempts. The crashes are great with your skater squirting blood from his head.

Graphics & Audio

The game has very good graphics, with textures and objects easily identifiable. The sound effects are amazing, every surface has a unique sound. Your wheels sound different depending on what you are rolling on: metal or wood ramps, pavement, concrete pools, or sidewalks.

The music isn’t as good. I thought that the soundtrack had potential with bands like Primus, Dead Kennedys, and Suicidal Tendencies contributing. There are a lot of songs, 10 of them, but I was disappointed with the quality of the tracks chosen. You can always turn down the game music, turn up the effects, and turn on your stereo!

Bottom Line

This game lets any poser bust a 900 degree method air. I liked being able to pick different boards and wheels, it would’ve been cool to be able to pick different clothes. The career and two player battle modes are fun. This game will appeal to both skaters and couch skaters. The graphics are very good and so is the gameplay. If you’re looking for a damn good skateboarding game, on any platform, start here.

reggie posted a review
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