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Platform

N64

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Edge of Reality

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q3 2001

 

 

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

 

tony hawk's pro skater 2          tony hawk's pro skater 2

The number one reason I refuse to give Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (THPS2) a perfect score is out of spite. It seems that everyone but N64 owners have been enjoying THPS2 for ages – even the GBA version arrived sooner! They all rave about how much fun they have playing THPS2. "We’re having so much fun!" they say. Why did it take so long to get to the N64? The official reasons may never be known, but at least now I can say, "I’m having so much fun!"

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For those of you that don’t know, THPS2 is all about skateboarding: grinding, jumping gaps, spinning, kick flipping . . . just about everything that your mother told you not to do. Every character has a standard mix of moves but they also have their trademark tricks. In real life, 90% of the stuff that goes on in the game could never happen in real life. If you attempted to emulate the on-screen action you’d end up in a hospital faster than you can say, "Hey, look at me! Look at m –." Each 

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successful trick awards points, and if these tricks are strung together, you can multiply your score to high levels. Landing a 12,000 point aerial move can be achieved with practice, but if you screw up the landing, kiss those points good-bye! Even if you don’t "practice," mashing the buttons at random can sometimes generate some great moves and a big score. Doing so, you also increase your trick meter that allows even more signature moves.

THPS2 greatest asset is its accessibility. My two year-old has a great time playing (although I think he laughs a little too hard when his skater bails). Your skater is always moving forward, there’s no need to hit a kick button to make him go faster. (There is an option to turn this off.) Once the basics are grasped which takes about five minutes – like performing an ollie or grinding – you can hours of fun. Each huge area has a list of objectives to be accomplished. However, not all the goals need to be finish before you unlock the next level. In fact, it’s possible to "finish" the game with a bare minimum of the level goals completed. The goals run the gauntlet of crashing into barrels to finding a secret tape to performing certain moves over specific objects. Completing all the levels and objectives is a goal to strive for but not necessary. (But if you want to unlock some of the cooler stuff you should.)

To unlock all those goodies you’re going to need help. Fortunately, player stats can be improved. All the cash you earn during the course of skating (completing goals and grabbing cash icons) can be used to buy stats such as "spin," "balance," and "air." Maxing your stats out will give you an uber-skater and the chance to perform some truly wild moves. There is a big roster of real life skaters to use, but you can start from scratch using the "Create a Skater" option. You can also use your cash to buy new tricks and boards.

If you get bored with the included parks (which is not likely) you can try your hand at the skate park editor. It’s fairly easy to use but it does take a bit of patience to get things just the way you want them. (You need the memory pak to save your skater and skate park.)

Graphics and sound are great! The tunes fit in with the skateboard culture and enhances gameplay, even if some of the tracks are shorter than their Dreamcast and Playstation counterparts. They can also be turned down. Sound effects also compliment the action. If you’re riding up a ramp it sounds different than riding across concrete. Then there are ambient noises that aren’t totally necessary, but it shows the attention to detail. THPS2 looks fantastic – there’s some noticeable draw-in in areas, but everything moves at a fast clip, never losing the sense of speed. Animation is as smooth as ever.

Modes of play are plentiful, including multiplayer. For single-player, there is free-skate, single session, and career mode. Multiplayer has three different modes, but due to some really strange split screen choices I never got into them the same way I did with the single-player modes. It seems to be a random conflagration of split and quarter screen. It will be horizontal split screen at one point, then without warning will spring into quarter screen then change to vertical split screen a few seconds after that. It adds an unnecessary element of confusion and I couldn’t find a way to switch it off. (Note: Shawn George let me know this is the result of either player hitting the Z-button -- strange control choice.) Single-player provides more than enough entertainment, so you shouldn’t miss the multiplayer.

The short of it is: if you own an N64, go buy THPS2. It’s got depth, great graphics and sound, ease of use, much to do, and, the most important ingredient, FUN. Plus, it’s non-violent – unless you think dropping crotch first onto a rail somehow classifies.

- Omni

 

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