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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

video game review video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Publisher: Activision
Category: Sports, Simulation
Platform: PS1, Dreamcast, N64, Game Boy
ESRB Rating: Teen    Release Date: August 1999

Overall Rating: 4 Stars out of 4

Review by ChaddD
4 Stars out of 4
(Review of PS1 version)

This is hands-down the best skating for the playstation. Street Sk8erŽ was a joke compared to Tony Hawk's Pro SkaterŽ! The movements of the riders are motion captured giving you the most realistic feel possible. When you fall. . .you feel it! The graphics are great and far superior to those of Street Sk8erŽ (and most of the snowboarding games out there), and the controls are awesome. The tricks and combos are very easy to pull off also. Makes even a novice look like a pro. Though some of the levels can be weird (like the mall and the downhill jam), they are crammed with things that you can trick off of. The ability of a free skating environment gives the game more replay value, and keeps you coming back for more. Lots of hidden areas and items. As I said before this is by far and away the best skating game out. Move over all you snowboarding rip-off games, time for a new kind of board game genre. About time!

Review by Tom Allen
4 Stars out of 4
(Review of Dreamcast version)

"Better late than never" is an appropriate description for this review. Tony Hawk is one of the most fun and addicting games to surface out of the sports genre in a long time. Skateboarding is now immortal in silicon.

The control layout is well-designed, and the moves are actually interesting to learn. You don't feel like you're throwing random button combinations together.

The hit detection is also very forgiving. By this I mean that if you jump relatively close to an object, you will land on it properly and "grind" without worrying too much about losing your balance or tripping. The developers made fun the first priority, and the imaginative levels reflect that ideology.

Some stunts don't just seem to defy gravity; Tony Hawk takes gravity and "sticks it where the sun don't shine." Thus, the game provides even more excitement than the sport does in reality.

Along this vein is the secret Area 51 level, including aliens.

Tony Hawk's music is also noteworthy, because it never tries to push the product's experience. Rather, the music enhances the mood with tunes that are just upbeat enough to avoid being too spazzy in a Spinal Tap sort of way. (Translation: This game does not drive you crazy with excessive pulse-pounding rock 'n' roll.)

The camera is amazingly fluent, even as you skate up walls and do flips. The movement of the camera at these moments adds tremendously to the overall feeling of the virtual skating experience.

Players even have control over such minor details as turning ability, board signatures, and what pictures or designs are displayed on the skateboards.

We recommend, however, that you avoid the control stick and use the D-pad instead. Controls are much easier that way.

Tony Hawk is a classic, destined to be a long-time franchise. The combination of a kind of old school charm mixed with all the modern amenities is what makes the game so outstanding. One wonders what the sequel will bestow upon us.

Reader Feedback

You shouldn't dog snowboarding games so much...  I guess you haven't played cool boarders 3... it definitely compares to Tony Hawk-- it is my second favorite compared to it.  If I play the playstation at all, I will play THPS or Cool Boarders 3.  Cool Boarders 3 rips.    --Jed

I agree with Jed, THPS is a awesome game, but CB's 3&4 are pretty awesome. I think THPS beats those two by just a little bit, but both Cool Boarders can keep up!    --Anonymous

I think the game is great! They can't satisfy everyone no matter how good they make it. All I have to say is keep up the good work EA sports!    --Riley

Jed is full of it. Cool Boarders 3 isn't in the same realm as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. I could't even play Cool Boarders 3 for more than 10 minutes. Even Street Sk8er is better than CB3. Nothing available today is better than THPS and there won't be any competition for some time as well. Thrasher Skate or Die looked promising but when I viewed the demo on an OPM diskette it looked unworthy to be on the same shelf as THPS.    --Jerry

I thought THPS was the best skating game ever created. I would choose to play THPS over cool Boarders 3 any day because I am personally sick of playing snowboarding games. THPS has a huge variety of moves you can bust and a wide variety of obstacles.    --Anonymous

I have had THPS for 24 hours and my hands are sore from playing it so much. This game provides the most fun of any game I've played in months (the last was FIFA 99). The control is smooth, character animation is excellent, and with the amount of fun I've had playing this game it was more than worth the $40 price tag. The only negative is the soundtrack, which is actually very good. The music is enjoyable, but after the first hour of a five hour session, you're ready to turn the volume down. If this review hasn't convinced you, here's a brief testimonial that might. I got $40 for Christmas and decided to go cheap and buy two $20 games. I chose Tekken 2 and Coolboarders 3. I had actually played THPS before my two purchases, but decided that CB3 would probably be close enough-- and $20 cheaper. WRONG! I played CB3 for literally five minutes and was very disappointed. I went out that night and bought THPS, thus spending $80 in one night on one bad game, one good game, and one excellent game. In short, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater provides the best value for your money--and is fun to boot! Anyone wanna buy a snowboarding game?    --Jefferson

THPS is probably one of the best games ever made. I wasn't a big fan of Playstation until they released THPS. The control is excellent, but not too easy-- which is good because it takes some effort to get good. However, once you get good at the controls, it's like flying.....the feeling of pulling off moves with fluency is great. Once again Activision has dazzled the gaming market. One can only hope for a good 64 version.    --Dizzy

I have logged countless hours on Playstation's THPS. I am blown away by the graphics, sound effects, and complexity of moves and combos. I keep discovering new areas and special tricks every time I play. Almost none of it is covered in the book, but hidden for you to discover.    --Craig

I just gotta say THPS rules over Street Sk8r by a long shot. Cool Boarders 3 doesn't compare with THPS, but i wouldn't go saying that Street Sk8r is better. That's just low. Oh, and to Riley who thought EA sports made it, Neversoft developed the game. EA were the low lifes who made Street Sk8r.    --Jim Greco

After playing Tony Hawks Pro Skater the first thing that came to my mind was how unrealistic it was. I am a skater and in my experience I have found that half the tricks would be almost impossible. I think the game Thrasher Skate and Destroy is much better and more real. If any of you guys would get of your asses and try to skate you would see my point.    --Nobody Special

Truly the most addicting game ever. Its worse than crack! But at the same time I think its one of the best games out there. I can only score, depending on the level, anywhere from 300,000 to 751,826. But I have a friend named Jake that can score over one million points and I think thats totally insane. If there is anyone out there who can beat his score I would like to know -- Email me at This game rocks and blows away any of those other snowboarding games.    --TJB

This is in response to "Nobody Special" : Maybe you should get out and practice a little more. Obviously, a few of the grinds are taken with liberty, but all other moves are very real. THPS IS BY FAR THE BEST GAME OUT ON THE MARKET.    --Response to Nobody Special

Tony Hawk pro skater is the best video game out on the streets today. I have had the game for 2 days and already know how to skate the streets in real life. Without tony Hawk i would still be sitting on my couch right now... Thank you Tony Hawk for bring this game to the world.    --cnancan

I believe that this game is totally unrealistic. Somehow pulling a Tony Hawk's Signature move, the 900 is too easy! And the fluidity is unbearable. Something more realistic to skaters would be a better change than going for pure gameplay.    --AC

I have played THPS 4 playstation and it blew me away! I didn't think I would like it but I did! I first played Thrasher Skate And Destroy and I thought it would be better... NO!!! It's a great game. But the thing is Tony Hawk is not a skater anymore! Tony Hawk quit. Lasek is 1st. I think it is a great game. And remember, my name is not BOB!    --Someone who's name is not Bob

THPS is one of the most exciting games to come out for a video game console since Goldeneye! The multitude of tricks, the music, the graphics, the control, all the keys to a great video game. Although I have yet to play Tony Hawk for Playstation, on N64 THPS rules! Being that it is the first skateboarding game for N64 it is the best, and it will be hard to improve on. The realism of this game is questionable though, it makes a Switch 360 Varial look like a peace of cake, I've never seen that one used in actual competition! All around THPS is a great game, its worth renting, I personally bought the game it was so good. I give it two thumbs up and on a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 9.3.    --M.

Hey "nobody special"! for how long have you been skating? probably not for so long? huh? THPS is very realistic! all the tricks can actually be pulled off in real life! IF u are very good though!! so start training!    --Response to Nobody Special

In regards to comments by TJB. You're full of crap on the score thing, and "that's the bottom line-if ya smell what the rock is cookin'." Unless your using a gameshark to achieve these scores, in which case, they dont really count. I consider myself to be a master of this game, and the highest single trick score that I have been able to come up with is 216000 on the first level. Let's see the proof buddyboy. Granted I used the in-game codes for max level and max special bar, but 1 million points is a little far fetched even for a single session score. My highest single session sore is about 515000 on the skate park level, and thats with using the over the rafter bonus trick every time.    --FiendDF

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