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The History of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater: Ollies, Grabs, and Grinds


March 10, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next
 

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (THPS2; for Apple Macintosh, PC, Sony PlayStation, and others), released in 2000, was very similar to the original version, but offered some notable innovations, such as the "Create-a-Skater" and "Park Editor" features. These have become staples in the Tony Hawk franchise.

It also offered new moves, including the "manual"[4] and a slew of other skate boarding tricks. This game was very well-received and met with considerable success, selling 5.3 million copies by 2007.[5] It is considered by some as the best Tony Hawk game off the increasingly crowded quarter-pipe released to date.

In his review of the ninth game in the series, Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, IGN's Chris Roper states: "THPS2 was so robust and encompassing, there wasn't a whole lot missing that Neversoft could add to the formula."[6] Indeed, every year new innovations were added, some deemed better than others.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (THPS3; for Nintendo 64, PC, Sony Playstation 2, and others), released in 2001, introduced the "revert." This trick allows for considerably longer combos than were possible in the previous games.

Variations to standard tricks can also be performed and there are hidden combos to be discovered. This was the first game to include nonskating advertisements in the form of in-game billboards; mobile phone maker Nokia, whom we'll discuss shortly, was one of these advertisers.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (THPS4; for Apple Macintosh, Mobile Phone, Sony PlayStation 2, and others), first released in 2002, was the last in the Pro Skater series, with some fearing it would be the last true Hawk game. This version eliminated the two-minute time limit in "Career Mode," and players were free to explore levels as desired.

Many players felt this game was truly fresh and had the greatest replay potential, because instead of having to complete a goal in a set period of time, they were now free to explore many new locations, including Alcatraz and London, while accomplishing goals according to their own schedules. Once a goal was accomplished, it did not need to be repeated unless desired.

In his review of the game on Website Mania, James Stevenson says, "The first thing gamers will notice is that the levels are huge, the goals are plentiful, and basically its everything you know and love about Tony Hawk, except bigger."[7]

Furthermore, because the game uses a completely different engine, there are certain enhancements that become obvious as gameplay continues. For instance, boards become worn, clothes or knees become scuffed, and there are other subtle touches that add a new level of realism to the game.


Box back for the Tapwave Zodiac version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (2003).

In 2003, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was released for Nokia's N-Gage handheld. Much of the game was faithful to the original console versions, with a few innovations and several levels from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 tossed in. Although this conversion followed the three-dimensional model of the console versions, it was criticized for its lack of innovation.

Players had already "been there and done that" three or four years earlier, a common problem for games that receive regular conversions and new releases, and something that the Tony Hawk series of games would suffer and become synonymous with. Nevertheless, the game was considered by some as among the best titles on Nokia's controversial platform.[8]


Box back for the Microsoft Xbox version of Tony Hawk's Underground.


[4] "Manual" refers to a trick in which the skater balances on two wheels.

[5] Figure from sidebar at http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20070925-9999-1n25halo.html.

[6] See http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/828/828249p1.html.

[7] See http://www.mania.com/tony-hawks-pro-skater-4_article_36918.html.

[8] A final version of the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would be released for many standard mobile phones in 2005, but of course suffered from whatever control limitations or quirks the particular model of phone in question exhibited.


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