Hands-on: PlayStation Tony Hawk 2

Activision stops by our offices and lets us have a go with the highly anticipated sequel to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.


Activision stopped by the GameSpot offices today with a previewable copy of its upcoming skateboarding game, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. So far, the game looks as if it will retain everything that made the first title so great, adding new tricks, improved graphics, and all-new levels to the mix.

The most dramatic change is the new difference between skating normally and skating in a switch stance. When you're skating switch, tricks will be harder to pull off. Also, there is a bit of variance in scoring depending on how well you execute a trick. Really nail a trick, and the game will call it perfect, giving you a slight scoring bonus. Mess up or just slam on buttons at random, and the game will call your tricks weak or sloppy. The main new trick in the game so far is the manual. You can land out of grinds and jumps into a manual (sort of like popping a front or rear wheelie), then ride your manual into another trick. The manual lets you link together more tricks than ever, and the potential for multitrick combos that number in the tens or twenties seems extremely doable.

Graphically, the game has the same overall look, but a lot of new animation is being added, particularly in the bail department. The wrecks are all the more painful now that the board can fly out from under your feet, causing you to fall back and bang your head on the concrete. You can also bang your crotch on rails.

New features include a create-a-skater mode and a park-edit mode. Create-a-skater lets you customize appearance as well as moves, while the park-edit appears to be light years ahead of the create-a-skate-park feature found in EA's recently released Street Sk8er 2. More than 100 different parts are currently available, though that number may rise before the game is completed. The pro skaters from the first game return in the sequel, and three yet-to-be-announced skaters will be added to the game's roster. The game's music will be spread a bit wider across multiple genres. The version we played included Bring the Noise by Anthrax and Public Enemy and Here it Comes by MC Serch, but both were placeholder tracks that may or may not be licensed for the final game.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was easily one of the best PlayStation games to come out last year, and from the looks of the sequel, Activision and Neversoft have another hit on their hands. The PlayStation and the PC versions of the game will ship late this summer, with the N64 and the Dreamcast versions following in the fall. Look for more exclusive screens on videogames.com soon.

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