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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Preview By: Chris Lee

Developer:   Vicarious Visions
Publisher:   Acclaim
Genre:   Skateboarding
Est. Release:   June 11th, 2001
Posted:   5-2-01

If there's any game series that, as of late, is becoming a legacy it's Tony Hawk Pro Skater. It has appeared on more systems to my knowledge than any other game in recent memory. Fortunately it's for good reason as the THPS series basically revived a dying genre, and proved that even alternative sports titles can have excellent gameplay. With the release of the GBA creeping up on us, Activision has decided to bring us a handheld version of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 for Gameboy Advance.

Being developed by Vicarious Visions, THPS2 is actually a semi-port of the Playstation/Dreamcast version of the same game. I use the word semi-port because, while it retains the skaters and most of the track designs, it's shown from a 3/4 isometric view instead of a fully 3D view. It may sound like a step down but let me tell you, V.V. has designed the game so that it looks like the game simply belongs in 2-D. THPS2 for GBA has 12 of the top skaters in the world, including Tony Hawk himself. It has 6 of the tracks that were in the PS/DC versions and some tracks specifically designed for the GBA. The skaters are actually polygon models while the skate parks themselves are pre-rendered. While that would seem to be a huge change, and it is, it's not one that detracts from the actual experience that you'd get with the other versions. You can still perform those same insane tricks, get mega air, and bust your behind on the pavement all without a hitch.

While the gameplay itself hasn't changed much, there are a few options and features that have been removed. Firstly the hip-hop/alternative tracks that they'd licensed for the previous games won't be included, but V.V. created their own music for the game that really isn't much of a change, just minus lyrics as far as I can tell. Word is that there also won't be create-a-skater or create-a-skatepark in the game. While none of that is particularly disappointing to me, the only thing that I wish they had included was link cable compatibility. But I suppose they've got to save something for Tony Hawk 3. Regardless of any of that, the game is a testament to the power of the Gameboy Advance and if this is what we can expect of things to come then I can't wait. Simply incredible.

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