The Pro Skater series was a series that defined a generation. A monument to skateboarding that people come back to not only to do sick tricks on their screens but also for the nostalgia. However, the games that came out after the series peaked on Tony Hawk’s Underground are a case of the same old—no new formula in addition to bad handling of the series itself. But, with the return of the series through a remake of the first two games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, there’s now a resurging interest.
What Is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a skateboarding game series that was used to be created by Neversoft, Vicarious Visions and published by Activision. It was endorsed by Tony Hawk, a veritable skateboarding legend back in the early 1990s. The IP was then given to Robomodo back in 2009, and then back to Vicarious Visions in 2020. The first game of the series came out for the PS1 on September 29, 1999, with the game later ported to the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, and the N-Gage.
After that, more sequels to the game were released. Pro Skater 2 and 3 were the highest that the game got in terms of popularity. The next games after that became a middling at best, trash at the most affair that didn’t get widespread acclaim. However, the game’s legacy still lived on, with the new Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 that was just released this year. This game will bring players back on a nostalgia trip.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater can now be one of the best PS4 games of the year.
What Made Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Games Popular?
So how exactly can one begin to explain the incredible popularity of the series? If you want to find out why, you need to know the game’s player base at the time. These are the ones that live and breathe skateboarding. It was during 1999 and 2000 when the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skating series is at it’s most popular.
At its release, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has the pretty marketable distinction of a “real” skateboarding game. A game that’s pretty much a sandbox that allows players to emulate the feeling of being in a real skate park. For a lot of players, this was a real novelty. Back in the day, the few 3D skateboarding games were usually games of the racing kind, not doing tricks kind.
Thus, for some gamers at the time, it was a brand new concept. A lot of people would say they enjoy the open levels that are chock full of secrets and the feeling of freedom.
Real World Elements
Also, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has a good idea to put some real-world skateparks into the game. An example of this is the bowl of Marseille, located in Plage Du Prado beach in Marseille, France. It makes it easier for players, and particularly skateboarding enthusiasts to relate and enjoy the game itself. They get to immerse themselves in real-world skateboarding locations within a game.
The ability to chain various skateboarding mega-combos allows players to get carried away by the gameplay. It simulates the feeling of skating through various obstacles and by grinding your skateboard on various surfaces. By contrast, in the real world, it requires some practice if you want to do it safely, as it’s much more dangerous.
Moreover, the game has an added realism to the various jumps and tricks due to the supervision of Tony Hawk himself at the time. He is one of, if not the most influential authority when it comes to skateboarding. In addition to adding his name and brand to the game itself, it gives players the validation of the game’s myriad of sensations, tricks, and stunts. All because of the collaboration between Tony Hawk himself and the developers.
Now that’s not the only reason why the game series is so popular. For others, the game was a cultural sensation that came at a perfect time.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a game of an era: the late 1990s skateboarding era. And with that era came a whole culture and way of life. It was, as some people put it, a cultural object that came out at a serendipitous moment. It captured the culture at the time, not only from skateboarding but also with the music and the game atmosphere.
In a time when video games were either shooters like Doom or Wolfenstein or bland sports games like FIFA, the game itself had a sense of rebellion to it. Above all, it went against the grain of games at the time.
Some people say that the game represents a real look at the street and skate culture, with the addition of various forms of music like rock, punk, and ska. It also showcased a few bands that at the time weren’t out there yet, like the Dead Kennedys, Ramones, and a lot more, alongside other classic and reputable bands like AC/DC.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Review
Now, we get to the nitty-gritty. We will talk about how the current Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 stacks up against the original version, and whether or not the game is worth playing.
Graphics-wise, the remake is a vast improvement to the former games. The series’ previous entry, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, was released for the PS4 and Xbox One and has a similar enough graphic design. However, this is where the similarities end.
For one, Pro Skater 1+2 incorporated more ray tracing and other graphical overhauls of the previous games. In particular, they completely overhauled the levels that are in Pro Skater 1 and 2.
The environments are more polished. They look way more realistic, and the characters look better compared with the original Pro Skater 1 and 2.
Besides, the general lighting and mood of the entire game are completely overhauled. Some areas look brighter and more upbeat due to the improved lighting. An example of this is the abandoned warehouse level.
In the old version of the games, the abandoned warehouse looks like it’s cast from the nighttime, even if the rays of light from the windows suggest otherwise. Now, however, there are more windows, and more light streaming toward the warehouse’s interior. The overall vibe and atmosphere of the warehouse are now different in a good way.
Other levels also get a pretty significant overhaul, with some getting graphical reworks and even additional tweaks in the environment. All of the character designs are also reworked to adhere to modern graphical standards. All of these are a great thing to see overall.
The game takes a lot of its soundtracks from the original Tony Hawk’s 1 and 2 games. And a lot of the game’s OSTs are returning favorites like New Girl by the Suicide Machines, Police Truck by the Dead Kennedys, Superman by Goldfinger, and many more.
However, some songs were removed from the game. Among those are Vilified by Even Rude, Nothing to Me and Screamer by Speedealer, Le Hot by Grand Unified, and Bring the Noise by Anthrax and Chuck D.
In addition to this, there’s also a pretty big chance that players won’t get the full Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater OSTs from those games due to the nature of music copyright. While it’s a sad thing to hear, it’s still good that some songs remained in the game’s eclectic music roster.
The game has the essentials of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game, with all the tricks and stunts that it entails. For one, a lot of stunts from the two games are making a return. You will relive Grab tricks like the Indy, Nosegrab, and the Madonna and flatland tricks like the Manual, Pogo, and Wrap Around.
Also, you can add in Special Tricks that players can utilize in the middle of a Combo. You can add them in on the Customizations settings. This allows players to add various combinations to their combo, extending it to get better scores.
Other than that, the gameplay’s still the same. You choose a level, and you have two minutes to do as many tricks as you can, for as long as you can. You will earn points for each successful trick. The longer the trick combo, the higher the points you get and the better your score will be.
Character Progression and Replayability
In terms of character progression, Pro Skater 1+2 has a plethora of characters and customization options. For one, there are 21 skaters you can choose from. They range from Tony Hawks himself to Tyshawn Jones and Lizzie Armanto. These are, of course, in addition to a few secret characters you can unlock.
Also, there are 19 levels in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, with fan favorites like Warehouse, School II, and Mall making a triumphant return. Secret levels are also in the game. For instance, there’s a secret part of Skate Heaven and a secret skate park in Philadelphia.
As for the replayability, the game has a lot of it, from the multiple characters to the tons of tricks that you can do. The well-made, sprawling levels and multiplayer aspect will also make you keep replaying.
In the game’s multiplayer, players can enter a single level together, whether it be through local LAN or online. Players can then challenge each other to do more and more tricks and get higher scores. In the end, the skater that has the highest score of the bunch wins. The game also gives you the in-game currency that you can use to get various cosmetic items. You can choose from new skateboards to new threads for your skaters.
Finally, there are various skill tokens that you can get to improve skaters. Getting these tokens require a good head in the game, as they can be found in pretty far-out places. So best you get to skating.
Is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Faithful to the Original?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is an incredibly faithful recreation of the original games’ style of gameplay. That is, in addition to other things discussed below.
First things first, the graphics of the first and second games are cranked up to the modern era on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. There are beautiful vistas and locales that are not only familiar but fresh as well. In addition to this, the game’s character sprites are now better. Also, the various tricks and stunts that you can do are more plentiful in the remake.
Furthermore, the game’s customization took a pretty big change. In fact, the current-generation graphics adds more depth to the character options. You now can customize and create your skaters based on their specifications. There are various shirts, shoes, socks, hairstyles, and skateboards to choose from.
Lastly, the game doesn’t require you to be online. This is a sigh of relief for offline players who only want to skate their favorite levels.
Now, as unfortunate as it is, the game did remove some of the original soundtracks that the two games had. In total, however, only five songs from the original soundtrack did not make the cut. Other than that, nothing much is missing from the two games.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 vs. Skater XL
Skater XL is a bit more realistic in comparison with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. For one, there’s no point counter. That means you can’t go and get points for doing various tricks. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, meanwhile, has a point counter that you can then take note of while doing various tricks.
Another thing that some people compare the two games on is their physics. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has a pretty straightforward physics system. Meanwhile, Skater XL’s physics depends on the player’s input. You have complete freedom on what trick you want to do as you feel you can do the trick.
Other than that, both games are incredibly good. They are representatives the cool things that players can do on a skateboard. These games are a tribute to a time when skating was a widespread craze. They let you relive what you can do with a board, on any surface, any terrain, and any time.