Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Game Boy Advance) review
"The controls are hard at first, but easy to grasp after a short practice session. They're very similar to those of the Playstation games. B is jump, A is grind, and either of the L buttons execute grabs. After you get the idea, you'll see that the control is actually very tight, and controlling a miniature skateboarder on your screen has never been easier."
I'm sure you've heard of the hit Tony Hawk games for Playstation, which
allowed gamers and skateboarding fans to play as their pro-idols like
Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero. I don't know a single person who doesn't
like the Tony Hawk games for Playstation, and I know very few who
dislike the GBA version. Packed into the tiny cartridge is a game almost as
entertaining and realistic as the console versions. Here you'll find
some of the same levels, all the same skaters, more moves, and a similar
layout and control. Any fans of the other Tony Hawk games are sure to
Probably the biggest standout in THPS2 are the graphics. All the
skaters are very simple polygons, but polygons none-the-less. This enables
them to move much more smoothly and realistically than sprites. While
the low-polygon characters have little detail, they get the job done on
the small screen, offering good animation and framerate. The
backgrounds are nice, 2D-rendered backdrops, with a very impressive amount of
detail, similar to something you'd find on the Playstation.
While the graphics are excellent for a handheld system, they're still
not quite everything everyone made them out to be. I heard things like
''best graphics out of any GBA launch game'', and ''Just like the
playstation version.'' This is not the case. Even though they are very good,
there are some rather obvious problems. The biggest and probably the
most annoying problem is the high level of pixelation you'll find.
Because the polygon count is low, the characters look very pixelated, and
sometimes just look like a blob of little dots, unless you use your
imagination. Another one is the transparency issue. because the game is
from a 3/4 view, and not a top-down view, there are places where your
skater would get lost behind objects. To prevent this, the game
developers made transparencies, so that you could see your character, even when
he was behind something. While it's a good idea, the transparency is
often very confusing, and somewhat blurry and pixelated.
Overall, the graphics are very good, but to be a nit-picker, I named
the problems, just so people wouldn't set their sights too high.
The sound is fairly good, with cool clicking sounds everytime you jump,
and music samples from the THPS2 on the Playstation. The only problem is
that the quality isn't actually that great, often sounding somewhat
''tinny'', especially when you hear it on headphones. Aside from that,
there's no problem with the sound, and it creates a somewhat nice skating
Here is where the game really shows what a console port is all about.
Even though the game is from a fixed camera angle, those who have
played the Tony Hawk games for the Playstation will feel ''right at home'' because
the game mechanics and idea of the game are nearly identical. You
basically pick between three options: career mode, free skate, and single
session. The second too are fairly self explanatory, while the first is
a mode where you play through levels, trying to achieve certain goals,
and then proceeding onto more levels. In the end, the gameplay is
involving yet simple.
When I first started playing, I had a really rough time controlling my
skater. He wouldn't go where I wanted him to go, and I just couldn't
get the hang of it. 10 minutes later, I felt like an expert (even
though I wasn't.) The controls are hard at first, but easy to grasp after a
short practice session. They're very similar to those of the
Playstation games. B is jump, A is grind, and either of the L buttons execute
grabs. After you get the idea, you'll see that the control is actually
very tight, and controlling a miniature skateboarder on your screen has
never been easier.
As a game which excels in pretty much all categories, you simply can't
go wrong. When I heard about this, I thought that it would be a
disaster, because I knew that the GBA hardware couldn't handle it. I was
proven wrong as soon as I started playing it, because somehow, Activision
pulled it off. And I thank them greatly for that, because now I have a
great portable skating game, almost as good as the Playstation game of
the same name.
Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)
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