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by Activision


I got into skateboarding soon after Back to the Future hit theaters and got out of it as soon as I found out I was too chicken to pull an Ollie on a paved surface. I had a beautiful board that rode like a dream, but my imagination was too good. I was able to see just a little too clearly the consequence of a misplaced hand plant or a mistimed kick flip. I had no desire to impart my flesh to the asphalt. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on the Game Boy Advance has only served to validate that fear and will probably keep me from letting my kids get anywhere near a skateboard. But it shouldn’t be too painful for them as long as I let them play this game. THPS will give you all the thrills of extreme skateboarding with none of the hospital bills.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 plays like a dream on the Game Boy Advance. Even after seeing the screen shots and reading some of the previews, I was surprised by how impressive a game it was when I plugged it into the system. For a while now, people have been singing the praises of THPS on every system (except the Game Boy Color). It is a game that has single-handedly redefined a genre. I never thought that it would be possible to translate the addictive, insane feeling of the earlier console versions to a handheld system, but I’m happy to report that the GBA version is completely faithful to the spirit and gameplay of the original. It tweaks with the graphics, but is still a beautiful thing to look at.

As most already know, the GBA doesn’t have a 3D chip, so the designers opted for a cutaway perspective for the levels. The faux 3D perspective works amazingly well. In some ways I preferred it to the camera work of the console versions. I found that a better sense of the level design allowed me to plan out tricks further in advance. The level of detail in the skater animations is also very impressive. I quite was happy with the number of different wipe out details that were included in the game. When you blow a combo, you really can feel it.

The music for the game is also some of the most impressive that I’ve ever heard on a console. The sound effects are nicely executed as well. People should also be very happy with the level design. The amount of detail crammed into each room is a little overwhelming. There’s lots to explore and lots to unlock. It might have been nice to have a multi-player or park design option, but I wouldn’t have noticed their absence if others hadn’t mentioned them. This game really has everything a skateboard game should.

It may take a little while for THPS veterans to get a handle on the new control scheme, but rookies should actually be able to pick it up fairly quickly. I was surprised at how quickly I was racking up the cash and pulling off sweet grinds all over the levels.

It has got to be incredibly difficult to make a skateboarding game that works. It’s got to be even more difficult to make one that works on a handheld, but the folks at Activision have done it. If you’re a fan of the game and need a portable version to get you fix on the road, then this is a must have. It is easily the most impressive launch title for the GBA, and if there are faults with the game, they are so minor that I promise you won’t even notice.

Jason Frank   (06/14/2001)


Ups: It's THPS for the GBA; what more do you want?

Downs: Uh . . .  

System Reqs: Game Boy Advance


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