Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater may be old, damaged and have some less than appealing scratches that just can’t be buffed out but my original disc is nowhere to be found. In the past few years Activision have been quiet on the extreme sports front as the series fell by the wayside, although that may soon change, and July 18th saw the return of what could be argued the greatest skating game of all time.
In the very late 90’s skating was in its heyday. If you didn’t have a board you weren’t worth knowing. Tony Hawk sought to capitalise on such a boom with a meteoric rise to the top of the sporting game charts with such memorable levels as the school, hangar and Marseille allowed the played to perform combos that they couldn’t construct in their wildest dreams. After the success of THPS2 Activision sought to release a new installment every year until the buzz slowly died and paved way for the far more realistic Skate. Now with the recent demand of HD remakes and reboots from the ghosts of gaming past our much loved Tony Hawk has another chance in the gaming spotlight on the arcade.
As with all early Tony Hawk games there is no story to the game. The main focus is to complete objectives and progress from location to location acquiring money to buy boards and clothing. Eventually if you complete enough goals you do however unlock Ollie the Magic Bum and Officer Dick which is more than enough reason to play through each and every part you set your eyes on.
The graphics have greatly improved although the game is technically not a HD remake. Instead Robomodo have constructed a brand new engine and integrated the best levels from the first and second game into a neat package. The scenery is brilliant and it is nice to see some classics return to home consoles but the backgrounds can be a bit lacking at times.
Like all THPS games the gameplay the soundtrack is stellar. With seven songs from the two original soundtracks and seven new songs added. The returning songs are some of my favorites and include Goldfinger, Powerman 5000 and Bad Religion. That being said it is the new music that leaves your ears tingling. With a mix of pop punk, indie and hip-hop the new music complements the new look perfectly.
Keeping in line with the greatest hits collection and capturing the spirit of the original games there are no reverts or cavemen to aid in your navigation of the level or to boost your combos. This doesn’t mean the game is lacking, it just means you need to think your combos through a bit more. The controls are identical to the classics with the added bonus of feeling slightly less clunky.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is the ultimate nostalgia trip. The soundtrack is unbeatable and the integration of online leaderboards is another addictive element grasping at you trying to keep you under the spell just a bit longer. You will lose countless hours to two minute rounds faster than you could ever imagine, each attempt driving you higher and higher up the leaderboards. Beat your friends and foes alike and topple their best scores, and try a few of the new game modes, which add a different perspective to comboing in levels.