Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PSOne)
With a whole lineup of clones in the extreme sports genre ready to steal Tony Hawk's Pro Skater's place in the sun, it's hard to find a great game that stands out from the crowd. Yet, it is only fitting that the newest edition of the Pro Skater series -- the one that started the extreme sports game craze, and one of the best games for the Playstation -- is once again at the top rung of extreme sports gaming. THPS2 expands on the original game and provides gamers with the most fun, although not always the most accurate portrayal of the skateboarding experience.
The soundtrack of THPS2 out does even the blasting rock tunes of the original. From classic punk tracks to hip-hop beats, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 features an edgy soundtrack that captures the skateboard culture including songs by big name acts like Papa Roach, Naughty by Nature, Anthrax, Chuck D, Powerman 5000, and even the now defunct Rage against the machine.
Three new skaters were added to TH's corral of A-list talent this time around. Joining the ranks of Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Jamie Thomas and Chad Muska, (among others) are Steve Caballero, Eric Koston and Rodney Mullen.
Among other new additions to gameplay are new tricks. Using the same unrealistic (but responsive and easy to learn) controls and combo system that worked well in the past, THPS2 adds new grabs, grinds, inverts, lip, and nollie tricks which assure you that no two drops down a half-pipe will ever be the same. Also new to the sequel is a new two player mode, brutal version of "tag" where you stake as fast as you can to try to ram into your opponent.
Adding replay value is the new skatepark editor. Even though it is frustrating at times it allows gamers, with a very short learning curve, to create their own dream park from scratch. You can see exactly how your park will look in the game as you plot out a course using ramps, rails, kickers, obstacles and quater-pipes. Then, after your finished with your park you can save it on your memory card and trade stories with your friends about your feudal attempts to make the worlds longest grind rail.
One of the only downsides to buying THPS2 is the sleep your going to use playing it over and over again. I can't wait to see Activision/Runecraft/Neversoft's next incarnation using the Tony Hawk engine (Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX) before they put it out to pasture. The old gray Playstation just ain't what she used to be, but as THPS2 suggests, its going to be pumping out polygons and fluid animation years after its big brother the PS2 reigns supreme. THPS2's formula -- a mix between an excellent soundtrack, fast paced action, intense competition -- make this not only the most addicting, but one of the best games for the Playstation to date.
-Excellent soundtrack with big-name artists.
-A bit of draw-in and clipping, but that still doesn't take away from the overall experience.
-Realistically, it's probably impossible to do a "No Comply" into a "180 Kickflip" into a "540 Madonna" but it sure exciting to do it in the game. On the upside, the controls are responsive and easy to learn.
REPLAY VALUE: 9.5/10
-With new tricks, modes, and the park editor you'll be playing this game until the cows come home.
-This is probably the most fun you can squeeze out of the aging gray box we call the Playstation.