It’s hard to explain to the younger generations just how much the Tony Hawk games dominated loungerooms in the late ’90s/early 2000s. Afternoons, evenings, post-club kick ons and even cheeky sick days were spent mastering the bird man’s trickier moves, usually shrouded in a haze of bong smoke and concentration sweat. That sense of baked camaraderie, combined with the “just one more go” addiction spiral, made these games indelible parts of the video game landscape. Of course, the party couldn’t go on forever, and while it’s debatable which Hawk game finally sunk the franchise, things had well and truly died in the arse by the time the execrable Pro Skater 5 plopped out in 2015. It seemed that those halcyon days were well and truly over and then Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 dropped in and it’s like the ’90s have returned, except this time we’re old.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is much more than your typical remaster. It is, in fact, a ground up remake of the first two Pro Skater titles with gorgeous graphics, slick animation, familiar but tweaked gameplay and the original game’s steep learning curve very much present. In fact, due to the animation being so slick, and the frame rate so high, the game’s actually significantly faster than you might remember, which may well give your entropy-dulled reflexes a work out. All the great locations from the first two games are present, with some reimagined and tweaked elements (The Mall now looks like a post apocalyptic, deserted hellscape) and the tricks from later games – manuals, reverts, wall plants etc. – have been added. There’s also a robust Create-A-Skater mode, the character then able to be used across both games and online, and the Create-A-Park mode, which is a hoot for the very patient.
About the only misstep in this entire game involves its multiplayer modes. See, while you can link up with a mate and run through online challenges (like trick attack) with a bunch of randoms, you can’t just bum around a location that’s exclusive to the pair of you. No private matches, no co-op play through freshly unlocked levels and not even any bloody HORSE! It’s probably a tad churlish to complain about a feature missing that sure as hell wasn’t in the original, but in 2020 to not have that level of online interactivity seems a disappointing omission and something that would be wise to correct in this or future entries.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 probably won’t blow away newbies, and honestly, Skate was a better pure skating game (remaster or sequel, please, EA) but if you loved these games back in the day there’s a better-than-average chance you’ll love them anew here. Disappointing online selection aside, this is a near-perfect remaster and a delicious slice of rose-tinted nostalgia done right.