Review by Jp7010

"Skating heaven on your brand new handheld."

One of the launch titles for the Game Boy Advance, Tony Hawk 2 shows off the handheld's capabilities quite well. This one was released a week or two before the system, actually, but I didn't import, so I didn't get it until 6/11. This review will mostly be comparing it to the PSX/DC versions.

Story: N/A
Skate, Skate, get money, and skate some more. This game doesn't really need a story.

Gameplay: 9/10
You skate, get money, upgrade your skater, buy boards. A step down from the PSX/DC versions. Previously you could change a skater's entire trick list, making them all your own, here you can only modify their specials. This is only a minor problem, and I feel actually can actually improve gameplay (not for me, though). Instead of making a skater all your own, you have to adjust to them. I haven't unlocked all the secrets yet, but, it's more or less(less) the PSX/DC version. A few losses from the cheat list(levels/characters).
Also, the amount of modes has been restricted. There is no more 'Park Editor' mode, and, you can't save replays of your cool runs anymore, not to mention the total lack of multiplayer. It's down to Career, Single run, and Free Skate. The gap checklist remains, with the addition of 'line' gaps. A 'line' gap is a new type, where you must go in a line, from one area to another, while performing tricks the entire time. So, at the end of a line you will have one massive trick set. This can be very hard, but very rewarding(one line gap can very well give you the Sick score for that level).
The levels have also been reworked, due to the new graphics. Entire parts of levels have been deleted, in fact, entire levels have been deleted. Instead of 3 competitions, only 2. Only 3 'normal'(non-competition) levels make it from the PSX/DC versions. Add 1 hidden level, and, a surprise add-on, the Warehouse level from the original Tony Hawk! They said they could recreate it with the park editor in the PSX/DC versions, and apparently, they brought it over for this one.
Overall in gameplay; lose a few levels and secrets, gain some harder gaps and some other levels. All in all, pretty good.

Graphics: 10/10
When I first heard this game was coming to Game Boy Advance, I laughed, thinking back to the Game Boy Color versions of this series. And then, I saw the first screenshots of this game, and, my jaw nearly hit the floor. That was also the point I realized that the Game Boy Advance was not just a supped-up handheld, but the true next generation in handhelds. It's more or less Tony Hawk 2 PSX/DC from an isometric point of view, as far as the levels go. The players are crude un-textured 3D models, but on a screen this small, that really doesn't matter. The animations are as smooth as they were in the PSX/DC. From doing an Indy Backflip, to smashing your groin into a rail, they're all unchanged.

Sound: 8/10
The sound effects and voice samples(''Ugh!'') are straight from PSX/DC. It's the music that gripes me, however. The title music is just a synthesized version of the PSX/DC version. But, all the other tracks are generic synthesized tracks that try to imitate the musical feel of the PSX/DC. While normally, this wouldn't concern me too much, the tracks just feel so... faked. But, most people have those Millencolin and Papa Roach CDs, so, you can always mute the music, and throw one of those in your stereo.

Controls: 7/10
I'm going to be saying this for years; I love the GBA, I love Nintendo, but, they should've given the GBA a A/B/X/Y, or A/B/C setup. The controls on this game can be changed, but I got used to them instead. On default - Jump is set to B, Grind is set to A(because of the GBA being set up B/A, and not A/B). Flip tricks are L, Grab tricks are R. All the controls take some getting used to, if you're used to PSX/DC. But if this is your first Tony Hawk outing, then the controls are relatively easy.

Replay: 9/10
The loss of the Park Editor mode, and all those levels would have been a blow to this category, if it weren't such a great game already. 7 levels, all those secrets, all those characters, you'll be playing this one for a LONG time. Too bad you won't be playing it with any of your friends, with the loss of multiplayer mode. A good multiplayer mode could've been made here, and would've been enjoyable. Oh well, maybe we'll see that in Tony Hawk 3.

Total: 43/50, 9/10
Rent/Buy/Pass-by: Tough call

This was more of a downgrade from the PSX/DC version, so, if you've done everything in those versions, there's not much to do in this one. If you want ANOTHER version of Tony Hawk, shell out the $40. But all GBA owners should at least rent this one, and see why ''the GBA will dominate the handheld market for the next n years''(CJayC).


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/01, Updated 06/16/01


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