Craig* issued me a challenge well over a year ago when he said Tony Hawk’s 3 was the best in the series, and me being me, I arbitrarily disagreed with him.
Here is my ode to THPS2.
The music is the best, fuck Guttermouth and The Adolescents. The THPS series nailed it’s soundtrack. There wasn’t a dud on it (maybe Cyclone), and of the 15 tracks featured, 9 are still in my top playlists.
I honestly can’t think of a game that has defined my musical tastes more than THPS2, and possibly even me as a person.
Anyway. The music is freaking awesome, and you can just sit for hours on end playing the jukebox.
Just go listen to it.
Tony Hawk is a down-on-his-luck skateboarding teacher struggling to make ends meet for his wife Steve Caballero and physically challenged son Kareem Campbell. Everything changes when Tony recieves a startling diagnosis: terminal lung cancer. With only a few years left to live and nothing to lose, Tony uses his training as a skateboarder to teach skateboarding to street punks with one of his former students (Bob Burnquist).
You get 2 minutes per run, and in this time you can attempt to complete any of the objectives. On your first few plays you might be able to do 2 or 3 in a single run, but when you max your stats, you can literally 100% Hanger in 2 minutes.
There is a really nice tipping point where you go from just managing to do 360 spins, and scraping a top score of 100,000 to suddenly pulling off 100,000 single combos with 7 kick flips, a grab, with a 900 degree spin. THPS2 was a game that was really easy to pick up, and freakishly hard to master, the more you put in the more you got out, with a learning curve that was spot on.
Later entries in the series were terrible because levels became convoluted, with tedious mission objectives or gimmicks. THPS2 was simple. 10 missions, 3 high scores, 1 secret tape, 1 for finding all cash find S-K-A-T-E, and then 4 that were made up of things in the environment. Yes, some of these are collect items, but some were difficult environment objectives, like drain the fountain, or do a specific grind in a certain spot (TAILSLIDE THE VENICE LEDGE FTW). The missions do start to feel repetitive, especially when going for the 100% Spiderman unlock though.
If you 100% every level with every character you’ll get a series of unlocks, personally, I no longer have the time to do this, but there is a lot of depth there for those that really want to dedicate their time to a game.
Some of the levels sucked, Venice Beach and New York are two levels that I hated 15 years ago, and I still hate them. They just felt obtuse, and trying to find an area to just do tricks was a tedious grind (pun intended). Remember, nobody likes that friend who just does grind tricks.
The graphics are awful, THPS2 looks like shit, and what’s worse, the frame rate is somewhat shonkey. I can honestly only play the game in 30 minute bursts without getting a major headache.
Due to the iterated nature of the series it is almost impossible to go from a later game in the series to 2 without wanting to kill yourself. Simple additions (like revert) are sorely missed in THPS2.
Ultimetly, THPS3 is a better game, and it perfected the formula.
THPS2 was a good game in the series, but, to be honest, stick to THPS3, and listen to the soundtrack from THPS2.
Pros: The most fun you can have garnering high scores, great levels, you can play as Spiderman, immensely smooth and playable, awesome soundtrack, there is no Bam Margera
Cons: NOT smooth OR playable at times. Almost every game that followed it was the drizzling shits, some levels sucked ass