Platform: Gameboy Advance
Developer: Vicarious Visions
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: Q2 2001
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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Score: 9.0 / 10
- The only skateboarding game in town for GBA
- Lots of options and upgrades
- Fairly easy to pull off tricks
- Easy to get into but hard to master
- Good animation and graphics
- Tutorial to teach the basics
- You’ll feel right at home if you’ve played any other Tony Hawk game
- Some tricks are really hard to execute
- Fixed perspective difficult to get used to
- Sound is a little scratchy
"If you’ve got a GBA, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a good buy. And a must have for Tony Hawk fans."
One of my favorite arcade games of all time is 720, famous for shouting "Skate or Die!" at every opportunity. That cloud of killer bees always made one go just a little faster. While Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (TH2) lacks the crazy situations of 720, the skating action is more intense and there are tons more options.
While it may be the most obvious thing in the world, I’ll mention it anyway – TH2 is all about skateboarding. But even if you’ve got no interest in the sport you’ll probably have fun with TH2. The controls are fairly simple to learn and are responsive. To help new players (and people that don’t read instruction manuals) there’s a tutorial session included that gives the basics, like doing an ollie or rail sliding. Experienced gamers will be able to jump right in since the control is easy to get used to.
Performing the more complicated tricks takes practice and in some cases a lot of practice. Doing tricks is required if you want to unlock the next arena, or earn money to buy new tricks or a new deck. You can also increase your skaters various attributes so that by the end you’re a skating god – collecting bonuses left, right, and center. And because it would be aggravating as hell to turn off the GBA and lose all the progress you’ve made, you can save your game!
The graphics and animation are first rate. Just crash a few times and you’ll get to see the skater of your choice smack their head on the ground and send up a spray of blood, or writhe in agony after really screwing up a rail slide. (It’s a wonder any of these guys can still father children.) The view suffers a little from the GBA’s dark screen but playing in a well-lit room or outside helps immensely, especially when
you’re trying to land the more difficult tricks. Animation is smooth – there’s never any chop. Part of this is owed to the fixed 3/4 perspective of TH2. There’s no free-roaming 3D here. (The view is what really reminds me of 720.) For the most part, this perspective works well. When your skater moves behind an object you can see his outline so you’ll never have to say, "Where the hell’d he go?" The perspective takes getting used to though. The levels will be instantly familiar to gamers that have played the previous incarnations of TH2. They are different takes on skating arenas found in the other versions.
If you’ve got a GBA, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a good buy. And a must have for Tony Hawk fans.
(July 7, 2001)
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