The Christmas of 1999 was a great year for me. I still remember waking up Christmas morning and running downstairs to open my presents. The first few were clothes and then I opened up the average sized box and yelled out in excitement at the PlayStation in my hands. Moments later I opened up a smaller box and saw my first PlayStation game, Tony Hawks Pro Skater.
I have very fond memories of Tony Hawks Pro Skater. So when I heard that Robomodo was working on an HD remake of one of my favorite childhood games I was psyched. Well the time is here and Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD is out and it’s glorious.
Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD is an arcade skateboarding game that features the classic levels from the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. THPS:HD brings back so many great memories by remaking all of my favorite levels and songs and shooting them into the current generation.
All nostalgia aside, Robomodo has done a great job at making the game look great and worthy of being on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 while still maintaining the over the top and extreme arcadey controls and feel. The controls of the early Tony Hawk games are very important to delivering the most authentic experience. It’s the controls that made the Tony Hawk series what it is today. The controls feel exactly how they are supposed to; with the speed of the game the controls can feel reckless. After a few runs you get the feel for the controls and you’re pulling off 50,000 point combos without even trying. The gameplay is exactly as you will remember it. The standard career mode consists of 2 minute runs on each of the games’ seven levels. In each of these levels you are tasked with a bunch of challenges like score based challenges, finding 5 of something, collecting the letters of SKATE, and finding the secret areas that contain a DVD.
In addition to the career mode, some new things have been added including new skaters and modes. Starting with the new skaters we have Lyn-z Adams Hawkins Pastrana, Chris Cole, Riley Hawk, Nyjah Huston, Jake Harrison, Emily Westlund, and even your own avatar (on XBLA) as newcomers. All of these skaters were not in either THPS1 or THPS2. Making a return to the series, as always is Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Eric Koston, and Andrew Reynolds. I would have liked to see all of the skaters from THPS 1 and 2. The new modes brought to the current gen are “Hawkman”, “Big Head Survival” and “PROjectives”. In Hawkman you go through each of the seven levels and have to collect orbs of different colors and each can only be collected by performing grinds, manuals, or grab tricks. You have to get them all within a time limit. In Big Head Survival your skaters’ head starts getting larger and larger. The only way to stop your head from exploding is to perform tricks and big combos, the longer you last the better score you get. In “PROjectives” you have to perform specific goals from the career mode like jumping over the bum, or collecting C-O-M-B-O without bailing.
The whole point of an HD remake is to be able to play old games you remember without being so frustrated at how crappy it looks. As much as I loved Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64, it’s brutal trying to play it on a 47 inch HDTV. Well let me tell you, I have had no problems sinking hours and hours of time with THPS:HD. The game looks great and I couldn’t ask for more on the graphical side of things. I did notice a few glitches and problems while skating around. When you fall you can sometimes be placed in areas that cause your skater to instantly fall again, the fixed camera can sometimes get stuck behind walls and this leads to you falling even more. This problem was in THPS 1 and 2 and it wasn’t a complete surprise to see that they weren’t fixed in this HD remake. There were also a few cases of hilarious bails that didn’t seem to make sense like grinding a rail and all of a sudden being launched 30 feet into the air and out of the map. I didn’t mind this so much and added a bit of comedic value.
When Robomodo were looking to port THPS 1 and 2 to the current generation consoles, they did exactly that. This remake is true to the old games and will give you hours and hours of enjoyment. The only problem I see is the $15 price tag.
If you’ve got $15 to blow, get this game