Way back in 1999 when ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater’ first braced our home consoles, I was not only amazed by the incredible and addictive gameplay, but I was also blown away by its visuals. 13 years on, ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater’ has braced us yet again, apart from now it’s had a glorious HD make-over and re-worked graphics and a few other tweaks here and there. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so many years since we first played the original Tony Hawks game, yet it’s been totally revitalised with its new make-over and not only holds up well against other XBLA titles, but it almost rivals the popular ‘Skate 3’ from EA Games. The visuals look that good in fact, that it’s hard to believe the game still uses the same gameplay mechanic from the classic PSONE version.
As I touched upon in the ‘Graphics’ section, ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’ still uses the same gameplay mechanic is the classic PSONE version, yep you’ve heard me right. I think of what ‘343 Studios’ have done with ‘Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary’ by using the same gameplay mechanic, with the re-worked graphics, then that is pretty much what’s done with ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’ (minus the option to switch between old and new graphics). I used to spend countless hours in attempt to gain the high scores possible and each time I’d fall off the board, I’d instantly restart the stage from the beginning, at times it used to get very frustrating, but it would never defer me from playing the game, it was that addictive. Well that obsessive desire to gain the perfect score is alive and well in ‘THPS HD’ and even though at times, it will push me to the brink of insanity, I simply would not have it any other way. The core gameplay remains the same as it ever way and the same applies for its main modes, such as ‘Career Mode’, ‘Single Session’ and ‘Free Skate’.
- You can hear the thoughts and inside info from the man himself regarding ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’, including some exciting new regarding future DLC!
Career Mode: Requires you to pick a Pro, achieve various goals across the 7 levels. Here you can unlock new levels, earn cash for upgrading your skater stats and purchase new tricks and boards.
Single Session: Here you have 2 minute runs in which you must achieve your highest score possible via tricks and combos and then post your high score on the online leaderboards for the Pro Skating world to see.
Free Skate: You have no time limits here, so you can practise your skills and combos in order to perfect your moves for the ‘Career Mode’ and ‘Single Sessions’.
While the gameplay mechanic maybe a little too old school for some, especially to those more accustom to the more recent ‘Tony Hawks’ games or even EA’s ‘Skate’ series, ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD is pure nostalgia bliss! So for that I thank the developers at ‘Robomodo’.
Just before I began my playthrough of the ‘Warehouse’ stage, my first thought was the awesome and super nostalgic soundtrack ‘Superman’ from the Punk Rock band ‘Goldfinger’, that featured in the original ‘THPS’. So I was grinning with delight to hear this song play instantly when the stage began (in fact I’m grinning right now just thinking of it). But there is good and bad (ish) news in this department, the good news is that most of the soundtrack you remember is here in this awesome game. The bad news is that only half of the 14 songs have made it, but don’t let that put you off at all, as the new soundtracks are still of a good standard and more then help set the tone for your skating needs.
- Below is the song ‘Superman’ by ‘Goldfinger’ from the original ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’ back in 1999!
The actual in-game sound effects also do a subtle, yet important job. There’s nothing spectacular needed in this area, you just need you usually skating, grinding and falling off the board grunting. But I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve always found the sound of the skateboard wheels very therapeutic and in some kind of unexplainable way, adds to the games addictiveness.
You may think that 7 levels isn’t really alot, well you’d be right. But ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’s’ replay value doesn’t necessarily rely on the amount of stages the game has, it’s all about the gameplay and various game modes. As I’ve mentioned in the ‘Gameplay’ section, there are a few single players’ modes, but there is also a nicely sized handful of multiplayer modes here too.
- Here are just some of the extra modes that are available from the word go:
Graffiti: See who can tag the most objects within the time limit. Score higher then someone else on the same object to steal it and put your own tag on it.
Trick Attack: To win, simply score the highest total score when the time limit expires.
Big Head Elimination: Each players head is growing. Perform tricks to shrink your head and keep it from popping. The last person with their head intact wins.
These modes are readily available from the offset, but there is also even more modes to unlock within the game and not to mention future DLC that will add even more to your ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater’ experience. Even if you put these multiplayer modes to one side, the addictive gameplay is enough to keep you coming back to improve your online leaderboard score. But then if you add all the multiplayer modes to this package, it just adds so much more and there’s not many games that get quite as competitive amongst friends when playing ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater.
Seriously at 1200MSP this is an absolute must for any fans of the Tony Hawks gaming franchise and skate fans in general. The only XBLA game that I can think of that genuinely competes with Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’s level of addictiveness is ‘Trials Evolution’. As always you can download the ‘Trial’ with any XBLA game, but I strongly suspect that when this game has you hooked in, there’s a high chance that the purchase will be made. With the ever growing quality of downloadable games on the Xbox 360, ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’ is amongst the XBLA elite.
You can download ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD’ directly through the Xbox 360 Marketplace or by following this link: marketplace.xbox.com/en-GB/Product/Tony-Hawks-PS-HD