Wednesday 10 June 2015

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (PS1 review)

Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision
Released: 1999

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is an 'arcadey' take on the extreme sport rather than a realistic simulation.

It consists of nine levels that take place in interesting locations such as a School, a Mall, a Downhill Jam and even Roswell! You have two minutes per attempt and your objective in each is to complete five missions (known as Tapes); these include reaching the High / Pro Scores, locating the missing S-K-A-T-E letters and finding the Secret Tape. The rest of your goals are level specific such as grinding the lunch tables in School or destroying five cop cars in San Francisco. It's fun exploring the huge environments and one of the game's best features is figuring out whether you prefer being a vert or street skater as the levels cater for both. To unlock certain levels you need to compete in competitions where you have a minute to get the highest score possible; you're then graded by how you performed with medals going to the top three. These are a nice change of pace and a good place to hone your skills. The control scheme takes a while to get used to but once you become accustomed to it it works brilliantly. Replayability is high as each character has a pro video you can unlock if you beat the game with them. The only minor niggles are that the frame-rate is occasionally choppy and the camera doesn't always show you the best angle of your location. The graphics look great though with lots of detailed environments and I love the music videos that play on the big screens when you're skating around! The music selections are inspired and have an eclectic mix of hip hop, rock, ska-punk and hardcore punk tracks.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is a revolutionary sports game that reinvigorated the genre and spawned numerous copycat titles. While it doesn't have the depth of its sequel, the control scheme, level design and music are outstanding and it all amounts to a really strong start for the franchise.

Random trivia: The game was ported to numerous platforms including the N64, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color and even the Nokia N-Gage!

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