Review: Better late than Neversoft!
It's been two years since the original appearance of Tony Hawk on Playstation, and during that time Activision has placed the title on every available system, and even followed it up with a sequel. However, despite the success of the N64 version of the game, it seemed as if Tony Hawk wasn't due to make a second coming on the console at all. Though it appeared to be a reasonable decision as the growth of N64 had runoff into hype for the upcoming GameCube, fans of the game who were also owners of the system silently gripped. Months after that announcement took place, the sequels hit store shelves, and the Game Boy Advance version was slated as a launch title, followed word that an N64 edition would in fact release as well, but at a much later date.
While many N64 owners were able to play the sequel on a different console one way or another, those who have yet to lay their hands on the game will be quite pleased. Dedicated N64 owners will also feel more at home in this version thanks to Edge of Reality's excellent port onto the console. Though some will likely attempt to make a comparison to the PSX, Dreamcast, and N64 versions of the game, all the core elements within each adaptation remain the same. Minor details, such as graphics and sound may vary from system to system, yet these small aspects don't affect the success of the game much, if at all.
The general concept behind the original Tony Hawk remains intact for the sequel. After choosing your pro skater from the thirteen available, you head to one of the eight tracks attempting to complete all ten goals in each level, ranging from collecting the letters to form ?S-K-A-T-E' to achieving a set high score in order to earn cash for later use.
Some may find using the same skaters and playing on the same courses may become repetitive, however this sequel provides a solution for the few who feel that way. THPS2 features a create-a-skater option giving players the ability to customize various facets including stats, skin tone, clothes, shoes, and of course their board. And, while you're at it, you'll be able to design your own skate park choosing from the game's four themes of school, industrial, outdoor, and power plant.
Releasing a year after the PSX version and on a more powerful console, you would think that this version of Tony Hawk's 2 would be much more impressive, especially visually. Yet things look a bit more washed out on the N64 port than both the PSX and Dreamcast editions, and much of the fog and slowdown in the two-player modes is still rather evident. Same holds true for the audio, as I have noticed the original soundtrack for the game has been cut up a bit, but still features six full length songs from groups like Anthrax & Chuck D.'s "Bring the Noise," Rage Against the Machine's "Guerilla Radio," among others. Any way you look at it, the quality of THPS2 on N64 is quite impressive knowing the limitations of the cart.