Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 was a fantastic game at release, and nothing but a curiosity nowadays. Enter Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, a bigger, larger and undeniably better game than Pro Skater 1, but is that enough to escape the grasp of time? It's not, it isn't, it's outclassed byt every subsequent game in the franchise... but it might have more lasting power than its predecessor.
The usual suspects are back: Career, Free Skate, Single Session and 2 Player mode, but joining them are the ability to create your own skater(Male only!) as well as a create a skate park. Career Mode is made up of 8 stages, 1 less than the first game, but each stage is larger and houses 10 goals as opposed to the first game's 5. Plus, goals offer more variety instead of following a 'formula', and clearing the game will unlock two bonus levels, for a total of 10. There're more playable skaters as well, each one has two costumes, except Tony Hawk, who has 3, and a certain unlockable character that has 4!
Career Mode has seen some slight changes besides the added goals, now everything revolves around money. You open up stages by amassing large sums of money, which is earned by performing the various different goals or finding it peppered throughout every stage. Money can also be used to buy more stat points, new boards or even new tricks to equip your skater with. The point penalty for repeating the same moves has become more lenient, so score-based goals are much easier than THPS 1's. Sadly, you still need to restart a stage if you want to review goals.
The biggest new addition, and somewhat of a gamechanger, are manuals, by quickly tapping up and down or down and up while on ground. Manuals can be used to link various grinds or even flat land air tricks with grinds or each other. As fantastic as this addition was, back in the day, it's not 'till Pro Skater 3's reverts that you'll be able to make the most out of manual tricks.
My biggest gripe comes with the game's ambition. Levels are a tad too large and the draw distance is a tad too short. While you won't be running into obstacles before you see them any time soon, I certainly would've liked being able to see more of what was ahead of me. Being so large also means that you'll probably have to make plenty of return trips in order to figure out where everything is and fulfill all the different goals. On the flip side, level design is really good, exploring these large levels is certainly a treat, so said revisits don't feel all that tedious.
While Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is held as one of the best videogames ever, I simply can't share that sentiment. It's an upgrade in every way, shape and form from the first game... but it's still not enough when you compare it with what came after it. That said, this game is way more deserving of revisiting it thanks to it's great levels, some which never made it into future games, and the variety of goals on each.
5.0 out of 10