(Really) Old Video Game Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

This is Genesis, the first of the action sports games that caught the attention of millions of kids.  Nothing brings back memories of trying to get 1,000,000 points on Warehouse with Rowley (even though the score counter stopped at 999,999).  Tony Hawk games today are nothing compared to the ones of yesteryear.  This was a time when Activision was a decent company (not like today’s standards) and brought out some interesting games to the market.

It first came out on the Playstation (One) on August 31, 1999 (!!!) and then onto some other systems later in life.  Man this game makes me feel old, but not as old as other games I’ve played.  Anyways, this game had a new revolutionary control system for…well…the whole skating genre.  Games in the past were never as smooth and simple as this game.  The controls reminded me of playing a fighting game.  Certain combination of buttons equaled into awesome string of tricks.  The layout of the controls were perfect.

The graphics back then were pretty good on the system, as it showed pretty detailed levels. The best level design is the Warehouse level, it was simple yet, it was the one level you can pretty much max out on the scoreboard. The characters were nicely detailed as they each came with their own personalities.  The different levels offered in the game came with great variety, where some were just an open area to just go about your own speed and there were some that forces the player to go one way.

The gameplay was amazing.  It was seriously innovative at the time.  Nothing was remotely close to what Tony Hawk Pro Skater provided at that time.  The levels were timed and you had to find the best places to pull the best combos for points.  Each skater had a special move once you filled up your special bar, so you can pull crazier combo and raise your score.  The combination of moves that can be pulled off were complex, but simple the more you practiced. There were objectives you had to complete on each level as well.  For example, you had to collect letters that spelled S-K-A-T-E, collect videos, and run into boxes to name a few, which then help boost your stats on each skater.  Plus you can get new wheels and deck designs…even though you can’t really see them during game.  It made you want to finish EVERYTHING, so you can brag to your friends that you completed the game by doing all the objectives and finding the secret level.

The number of tricks available were incredible.  There were so many, it kept the trick combos from getting stale.  You wanted to try out every kind of variable possible.  It was again, perfect.

The videos that were included in the game showing the AWESOME skills of each real life pro skater featured in the game made it even more of a reason to complete the game.  The montage of the skaters were amazing.  Also the montage of the random skaters getting injure was great.  This game was the main reason I tried picking up skating as a hobby…but that never really got anywhere, so let’s just skip that part of my life.

The sound effects were clean as you can distinguish the grinding metal of the rail and the trucks of the skateboard to the skaters making “Uhhhh…” sounds when the mess up and fall. The music was freaking dope as well.  You had music from The Dead Kennedys to Goldfinger.  The various punk, ska, and rock just kept you well in tuned with the game.  It just added to the amazing experience.  Everything from the sound, to the graphics (at the time), and gameplay just made this game into a monster.  There was just enough realism and just enough of fantasy put together that just made sense.

There were still some chinks in its armor, such as some bugs where you fell through a level or get stuck (literally) on a level.  Also, the level design could have some room for improvement, but these are nit picking the game really. Overall, the game gets a 9.1 out of 10. Easily a classic.

Rating: 9.1/10


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