The year is 1999 – Y2K was threatening to send us all back to the stone age, Napster was changing the way people listened to music, and The Phantom Menace had reminded us that even magnificent movie franchises can miss the point entirely. Anything was possible, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was out to prove a point: games about skateboarding could be awesome.
Back when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater first came out, Tony Hawk was a star in every sense of the word. On the park he was a machine, busting out tricks and combos that people could barely believe, winning just about every competition he entered and doing it all in style. Landing the world’s first 900 in the lead up to the original release wouldn’t have hurt the popularity of the game either. By the time it launched, everyone wanted to be Tony Hawk, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was the perfect way to capture that experience.
Gameplay in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is distilled into two-minute timed runs in a variety of challenging and entertaining maps. All of the maps from both games are playable and, with the introduction of a level creation tool, it shouldn’t be long before some awesome people will be attempting to recreate other classic maps from other games in the franchise. Like the original games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 puts you firmly in the VANS of some of the wildest skateboarders on the planet and allows you to bust out tricks big enough to give a physicist a heart attack.
The best news for players of the original is that the buttons are all the same. You’re not going to have to relearn a game that’s almost second nature to some. Ollie + trick + revert + manual + repeat forever. It’s the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater equation for success, and it still works here. It’s one of the things that made the original games so awesome, busting out tricks that made you look like a skateboarding god was simple and accessible. Meanwhile, if you haven’t played it before, there are a number of helpful tutorials that will get you up and running.
With a heavy dose of punk rock and ska music on the soundtrack, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater wasn’t just a fun arcade skateboarding experience, it also captured the essence of skateboarding culture at the time. The soundtrack in this remaster absolutely crushes it. When your game opens up with Guerrilla Radio from Rage Against the Machine, you know exactly what kind of awesomeness lies ahead of you. Music from Goldfinger, Primus, Reel Big Fish, Papa Roach, Machine Gun Kelly, Sublime, Dead Kennedys and many, many, many more demand that every play session is cranked up to 11 (or whatever the socially acceptable volume is in your household). The list of classic tracks is epic, and will have fans of loud music very happy.
And now… the real questions that you’ve all been dying to ask. What’s the remaster actually like? Is it even close to what we remember? Well, the most excellent news is that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 takes everything about the first two games, upgrades it to include current gen graphics, adds a few new tunes, includes new menu systems and a slick interface and lets you have at it. This is everything that the original experience was and so much more.
“This is everything that the original experience was and so much more.”
There have been a few faithful remasters in recent times which have captured the original experience perfectly and modernised the game to make it relevant for new players. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 can now happily include itself on that list.
Players of the original experience will run the risk of having a nostalgia overdose. The control systems are the same, the music is the same, the skaters are the same, but the experience, well that is just something else entirely. It’s the best possible version of what these universally loved games could have been. You’d be hard pressed to find a bad review of the first versions and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 knocks any doubt out of the park. It isn’t just a remaster of a pair of old classic games. It’s a pop culture icon, refreshed and as relevant as it ever was. Not since rocking the half pipe in California Games has there been such an iconic or important skateboarding experience.
Whether you’re a trophy hunter, a casual wannabe skater reliving what could have been or just after a casual game of HORSE with your mates, you need Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 right now.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.