Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 08/21/01 | Genre: Sports
If there's one game series that has been consistently good over the years, it's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. From the first game on the original PlayStation, to the mind-blowing sequel on the Game Boy Advance, and most recently an awesome Tony Hawk spin-off starring BMX legend Mat Hoffman, Activision continues to release one must-have extreme sports game after another. Now Activision continues that trend once more with the release of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 for the Nintendo 64.
THPS2 brings back the classic Career Mode with eight new skate parks. The new parks, especially School 2: Southern California and The Big Apple, are extremely well designed. They're larger than the parks in the original game and have a ton of hidden areas to find. Hmmmm, I wonder what'll happen if I grind that propeller over there...?
The move from PSone to N64 hasn't harmed the play mechanics one bit. Controlling your skater in THPS2 is a breeze. The up, down, left and right C buttons function exactly the same as the triangle, X, square and circle buttons on the PSone. It also makes great use of the N64's analog stick. No matter how gently you touch the stick, your skater will react accordingly. This is especially good for the later parks in the game, where making slight movements is a must in order to land that 20,000 trick combo you just performed.
I enjoyed the first Tony Hawk so much, that all I wanted from the sequel was more of the same great gameplay. More levels, more skaters and more fun. I got all that, but nothing, and I mean nothing, could prepare me for what else Neversoft had in store for Tony Hawk 2: a 3D Real-Time Park Editor. This is by far the greatest addition to the series, and is one of the best, most innovative features ever created.
What makes it so great is that you have full control over everything: you decide how many ramps are needed and how big they should be. You decide where the skaters will start the level. Make a skate park with multi-leveled floors, pools and a few hard-to-ride walls, or fill your park with nothing but rails and tables for non-stop grinding fun. The choice is up to you.
The Park Editor sends THPS2's replay value through the roof. You've got your main single and two-player modes, and then you've got this incredible Park Editor that allows you to create your own levels. I used to dream about creating my own levels, especially with the possibilities of the ill-fated 64DD, and hoped I'd be able to someday. Four years later, Neversoft has made that dream a reality with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. And I didn't have to buy an expensive upgrade either.
THPS2 has some of the most impressive shadow effects I've seen on the Nintendo 64. Wherever your skater goes, his shadow realistically follows, expanding and shrinking with every move he makes, creating an impressive effect not seen on the N64 since The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was released.
All of the backgrounds look good too, as do all of the players. The environments push Nintendo's 64-bit hardware to its limits, showing more detail and smoother textures than Super Mario 64. The design team at Edge of Reality worked really hard to make Tony Hawk 2 look as pretty on the N64 as it did on the other consoles and it shows.
What's not to love about Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2? The gameplay is faster, the combos are better and the Park Editor is simply amazing. No matter how much I try to pull myself away, I still keep coming back for more because I just can't get enough. THPS2 is to video games what Pearl Harbor is to movies--a masterpiece that no one should miss.