Review by Dave Maul
"OPM Were Right; Heaven IS A Halfpipe"
It’s hard to fault THPS2; the damn thing is a blessing whatever system it touches. But being on a handheld raises a few problems. Firstly, the control system. GBA only has four buttons, which makes it kinda hard to pull off some tricks easily. THPS pros will struggle for a while. Also, the fixed camera can be disorientating if you’re used to the console versions. Apart from that little gripe, this game is amazing. It has a steady learning curve, but it hard to fully complete; especially if you’re going to play through with all 13 skaters and find every gap…
There’s no real plot to the game, you basically just skate around, beating challenges, earning money, building your stats, repeat. Some of the tasks are damn hard and you may find yourself stuck due to some unwise spending. And a few more levels would have been nice; there’s 6 that you unlock as you go on, plus 1 very secret stage hidden deep in the tiny cart…
There’s no easy way to say this, but… this game looks EXACTLY like the PlayStation and Dreamcast originals. Oh, except that the camera is in a fixed point of view. It scrolls around at a blistering 60 frames per second, but it won’t turn around to face you from another angle. But look in your hands. It’s a Game Boy Advance. A HANDHELD. It can be forgiven, easily. The menu screens look exactly the same as well, except lower resolution. The only real problem with the graphics is that sometimes (since the GBA has no backlit feature) they can be hard to see. But this is the same for all GBA games, so I won’t detract anything from the score.
It has a rocking MIDI soundtrack, but the songs from the console versions are gone. Yet, all the sounds of the wheels spinning and your skater groaning are here, and sounding just like the console versions. Seriously.
Look at it this way; is there another skateboarding game available for the GBA yet? No. And I doubt there will be one that matches this in all its qualities. That is, until Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 Advance…
13 skaters (plus two secret), 6 stages (plus 1 secret), hundreds of tricks and a gameplay system that’ll have you playing each stage over again to beat your top score. Enough said, this game has unlimited replay value.
Buy Or Rent?: Buy
Buy it when you get your GBA, it’s the perfect showcase title for friends to drool over. Although multiplayer would have made it a great party game, you can only have so much at launch. It’ll take you much longer than a few rentals to unlock Spide… err… I’ve said too much.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/30/01, Updated 07/30/01
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