It might be easy to forget these days, but there was a time when certain franchises just seemed to go on forever. Look up exactly how many Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon games there are, for instance, and you might be surprised. Likewise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was once a beloved arcade skateboarding franchise and one of the hallmarks of the gaming industry. Then…well, it just kind of ceased to exist, puttering out with some goofy peripheral-based games and the questionable Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5.
Turns out that gone doesn’t necessarily mean forgotten. After years of waiting our champion Tony Hawk is back with a completely remastered one-two punch just aching to be played and mastered all over again. We’re talking about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, and it’s sublime.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is, in fact, a remasterish remakey thing combining the stages, goals and customization from the first two Tony Hawk Pro Skater games, giving them new life on modern platforms. There’s an absolutely massive pile of content here, since each skate park has loads of goals and hidden objects to collect, to say nothing of the fact that you can spend basically limitless time trying to reach the highest possible scores.
That’s all well and good, of course, but what you’re really here for is the gameplay. Does this remaster stack up to the original games? Without getting too far into the nitty-gritty – and I assure you that it’s possible to talk about how much fun Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is for hours – it’s probably better than the originals. The manual from THPS2 is present in both games, allowing you to extend combos practically indefinitely, and the revert from THPS3 has been added as well. As a result, score ceilings and the associated skill ceilings required to reach them are much higher than in the original games, allowing you to keep skating…and skating…
…and even if that’s not enough skating for you, you’ve got goals in each level to check out, just like the original games. These range from collecting the letters in SKATE to achieving high scores to seeking out hidden objects, and they all make for a great introduction to each level before you start trying to seek out the best runs. Even beyond that, there’s ongoing challenges to check out as well, such as doing a certain number of tricks and so on in order to unlock new custom skater outfits. You’ve got a skate park builder. You’ve got online and local multiplayer.
The point is that if THPS gameplay works for you – and really, this is probably the best rendition of it we’ve seen – you’re not going to have to stop skating for quite some time.
Remastery remake means that there’s better graphics too, right? Of course there are. THPS 1+2 runs great, looks great and – as expected – plays like a dream. Even older stages like THPS1’s School are renewed for the modern age, up to and including COVID-19-related messages on the school’s digital billboards. Regardless of your platform you’re going to have an awesome time. Oh, and the vast majority of the classic music from these games returns as well, with a few new entries as well to replace the odd song here and there that didn’t make it back. Yes, that includes “Superman.” It even plays on the title screen. Delightful.
Say what you will about what eventually happened with this franchise. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 brings the arcade skateboarding sim back in style, and for that I’m willing to forgive goofy nonsense like Ride and THPS5. I’ll always strongly recommend games that emphasize the fun inherent in the medium and it’s hard to think of a recent release that does that better than Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Even after all these years, it’s still the best in the business – and a must-buy.