Everyone my age likely has a memory of the Tony Hawk’s games. For myself it was thrashing the hell out of the demo before trying to negotiate the price on a used copy with the local United Video owner. In short,I didn’t win. Unfortunately that meant I never got the full game as I only had $20, and so there is a lot of content I never saw in this series.
Fortunately now Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 has given me access to this, and it was well worth the wait.
If you haven’t played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater before, basically it is a bonkers skateboarding game that lets you defy physics while prioritising fun over realism. If you have played SSX before then it isn’t as crazy as that, but makes no attempt to be a simulation.
Jumping into the game, after watching an opening clip of old and new skateboarders doing their thing to Rage Against the Machine you are introduced to the new cast the old way. Then jumping straight into the content you start unlocking levels by completing challenges. It’s so brilliantly classic in every way and I adored it.
There is no unlock everything pass that costs $20. To get the content you have to play the game. Well that or start using cheats, which are there too. It splits out your high scores to keep cheaters from wrecking your mediocre scores achieved without cheating, but the option is there because why the hell not?
One of the most entertaining things is how our memory remembers these games. When it came to the Crash remake Vicarious Visions did nothing short of extraordinary work to remake the game in a way that feels exactly how I remember the game. This is the same with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. Minutes in it kinda felt like they had done no work which is a lot harder than you think. It took watching an old video of the original games to remind myself how jagged and undetailed it looked.
So how does it play you ask? Exactly how I remember it, and thanks to YouTube not having a PS1 controller and an emulator built in, I can’t tell if this is the same jump. Odds are it is exactly the same as the graphics and another business case to justify Vicarious Visions doing every remake for every game forever. It’s so much fun, and on top of that they have added more challenges and taken other tweaks from other games to make it feel as relevant today as ever.
The recommendation is easy. Do you like fun skateboarding games? Play it. Do you like bonkers action games you can pick up and put down on a whim? Play it. Did you play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater back in the days and are worried this will ruin your memories? Play it. Do you want an emotional rollercoaster that will make you question video game conventions? Play The Last of Us: Part II.