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North America

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 GBA

by Jonathan Metts - June 11, 2001, 9:55 am EDT

Jonny just spent twenty minutes with the Hawkman...here's the play-by-play.

Honestly, the first thing you notice when turning on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is the music. It's good. Running off Shin'en's GAX sound engine and actually composed by Shin'en developers (Hey Manfred!), every song I've heard so far sounds great, and since it's all instrumental, I don't anticipate it getting old any time soon. The music is basically your guide through the opening screens and menus, and it does a great job of keeping you excited until the real treat comes along: graphics.

YUM. The skate parks are sharp as hell, with vibrant color and tons of detail. The skaters are actually very bland-looking and even grainy compared to the sharp 2D sprites of other GBA games, but looking at them in still screenshots just isn't fair to Vicarious Visions. These "polygonal" models animate like buttah. It's downright scary how fast and smooth and fluid these guys (and gal) are. And that's what's so great about this engine...the characters are moving around so much that you never have time to be annoyed by their crappy models, and you have plenty of time to gawk at their liquid beauty.

The control so far feels great. It's been a while since I played the N64 port of THPS, and I've honestly never touched the console sequel (I know ladies, I'm naughty), so I guess I'm not having to "unlearn" anything here. Turning is the only slight problem right now, because it's not relative to the camera. If your skater is facing down, right will turn left and left will turn right. It's not totally unnatural, but when you get stuck in small areas it can get confusing for a few seconds. Out in the open, it hasn't bothered me at all.

I was a bit worried that only six levels would make the game too short, but VV has crammed in a whole laundry list of objectives for each skatepark, far more than the old "earn five tapes" deal. For every objective you complete and every wad of cash you pick up on the level, you'll get money that can buy you stat upgrades (which make a noticeable difference) and new special tricks. The system is working awesome so far, and adds a very low-key RPG element to the game that I wasn't expecting.

Now if you'll excuse me, I only have twenty hours left until I have to put down the GBA and go to work.

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Genre Sports
Developer Vicarious Visions

Worldwide Releases

na: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 GBA
Release May 30, 2001
jpn: SK8: Tony Hawk no Pro Skater 2
Release Dec 14, 2001
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