Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Review

Richard Walker

'You never forget. It's just like riding a bike,' is one of those hoary, well-worn phrases that unfortunately doesn't apply to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The last entry in the series I played was Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (AKA THUG 2) in 2004, and, sixteen years on, it seems that I had completely forgotten how to successfully land a 720 Madonna to nosegrind, fakie heelflip, then manual into a wall ride. It's a saddening thought to think that years of muscle memory has faded away, and so, returning to the Birdman's seminal video game debut in 2020 was initially quite upsetting.

That is, until it all comes surging back. The Tony Hawk-voiced tutorial reacquaints you with the basics, before your trucks and wheels hit the asphalt, and you're rolling up ramps, vaulting off kickers, and hitting grind rails. Revisiting Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 is pure nostalgia rocket fuel – a transcendent time capsule that instantaneously sends you hurtling back in time to 1999, when me and friends would take turns to beat one another's high scores, or engage in a bout of H.O.R.S.E., swapping out the word for all of the expletives you can care to imagine.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is undoubtedly a wonderful thing from a halcyon time in video game history, then, and having it back in this updated, revamped, remade (this is more than a remaster) form is nothing short of miraculous. Especially so when you consider where the franchise ended up – with the rubbish Tony Hawk's Ride games and their stupid board peripheral. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 is getting down to brass tacks – arcade-style skating action beautifully distilled in its purest essence.

Few experiences provide as much unabashed fun as THPS, and when you find the dexterity that's been lying dormant (or, indeed, discover it for the first time, if this is your inaugural rodeo with the series) and pull off a massive combo. It's primal, magical alchemy that got slowly lost as the sequels were churned out over the years. Purists might tell you that the Tony Hawk's games peaked with THPS 3 (it holds a treasured place in my collection to this day), but none were quite as good as those first two games. There's a reason that they've always been held in such high esteem, and that's more than apparent in this lovingly remade double package.

Together, developers Vicarious Visions and Beenox have done original studio Neversoft proud, seamlessly injecting elements from later instalments into the mix, like the revert, first introduced in THPS 3, or the spine transfer. Both enable you to string together massive combos, assuming you have the requisite finger skills to do so, and you'll need to flex your point-scoring prowess to unlock the game's full complement of 17 skate parks, including the always-enjoyable Roswell level. Each park has its own series of tasks to scratch from a checklist, and only by fulfilling the requirements of each can you unlock the subsequent level.

Collecting every S-K-A-T-E letter scattered across each park, tracking down each secret tape, racking up the 'Sick Score' target, and digging in to find every secret squirrelled away in every one of the game's locations is never anything but a joy – save the inherent heartbreak of bailing and losing a hard-earned combo, taking all those points with it. Don't fly too close to the sun and over-rotate your board, kids. It just isn't worth it.

Many of the original games' roster of skaters return, too, their likenesses updated to match their current age, ensuring they sit nicely alongside newly-added, modern-day pro skaters like Lizzie Armanto, Leo Baker, Leticia Bufoni, Riley (son of Tony) Hawk, Nyjah Huston, Tyshawn Jones, Aori Nishimura, and Shane O’Neil. It's great that not only does Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 dutifully pay homage to the past, but also tips its hat to skating's present and future.

Rounded out with a range of challenges that feed into an overall skater level, there's a persistent sense of progression in TPHS 1+2, bringing both games up to date. Kudos, too, to Vicarious Visions and Beenox for enabling you to swiftly flip between each game as your whims dictate, so if you feel like ditching the Warehouse in THPS and jumping into THPS 2's New York City, then you can do that. Create a Skater has a modest set of options for making a bespoke character, with oodles of apparel to dress them up in, while the Create a Park option returns with a plethora of tools and options. This is about as complete a package as you could possibly hope for – you're certainly not left wanting for anything here.

A raw shot of weapons-grade nostalgia (we defy you not to get goosebumps when Goldfinger's 'Superman' kicks in on the main menu), by returning to its roots, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 feels like a fresh start for the series and a timely reminder of just how damn good those original games were. It also happens to be one of the finest remasters/remakes/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it that we've played in some time, and the best argument for a whole new Tony Hawk's game cast firmly in the same mould.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

As far as immediate arcade thrills go, few games can compete with the level of gratification you're guaranteed to get from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2. If you enjoyed the originals or fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, you're in for an absolute treat either way.

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Yes. Just, yes. The THPS soundtrack to this day is still fantastic, with the likes of Primus, Rage Against the Machine, Naughty By Nature, and loads more, alongside a handful of new tracks.


Staying true to the look of the original games, THPS 1+2 will not only conjure beautiful rose-tinted memories, it'll have you remembering why you loved those old skating titles in the first place.


If, like me, you stopped playing Tony Hawk's games a long time ago, it may take a while for the old muscle memory to kick in. But once it does, hitting your flow, landing a huge combo, and racking up high scores is sublime.


Two lovingly remade classics in one bundle? With Create a Skater, Create a Park, online and local multiplayer, loads of challenges, secrets, and more? Seriously, what's the catch? What's not to like?


A very good spread across everything THPS 1+2 has to offer, the long game comes from having to beat all of the game's various challenges, of which there's a massive number. Dig in for a very tricky completion, with... wait for it... a lot of grinding. Badumtish.

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