Skate Or Die!
Having been blown away by the latest post from the Gagaman(n) about NEW Dreamcast seasonal stocking fillers, it is with a degree of shame that I revert to reporting on old stuff that's been around for ages. And yet some old chestnuts are worth checking out... and one such title is the amazing 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.'
(That's the real Tony, quuite a nice chap and family type really...)
Now this title has a particular resonance for me... For whilst I may now look like Fred Elliot... (from Northern English 'Kitchen Sink' Drama themed soap "Coronation Street" ... that's for our American cousins...)'
I was once a long haired thin framed skate fiend.
Sure I could never 'pop an ollie' or 'grind a rail' but I could skate with reasonable ability. My early skateboards looked a bit like this...
In fact, and this is no lie, my first skateboard was literally a coffin shaped plank of wood, with two rollerskates nailed to it. Now I know that that sounds to you young types, much like one of those 'old folks tales' of how 'We had it hard back in my day... You young'uns don't know your born...' etc. It is in fact TRUE!
Anyway I skated from the age of 10 to 21. In fact the only thing that stopped me was the fact that:
a.) I had become a father... and therfore presumed I needed to 'grow up a bit..'
b.) A long haired hippy skateboarder, skating through my council estate in Levenshulme, Manchester, would have been a target for ridicule, stone throwing and window smashing from sinister local skinheads, white trash youths wearing hoodies, ill-fitting baseball caps and Nike Shocks... depressing really...
So instead, I discovered the sofa, video games and beer (HURRAH!) and they've been my friends ever since.
Now video games are great! Anyone reading this post will know this. One of the reasons for this phenomena, is that if the game is sufficiently good, you will be absorbed into it.
It will take you away from the drudgery of your normal existence, and you will 'become one' with the game you are playing. Especially if you are on drugs...
(Which I was for a significant period of my gaming history!)
Yes games allow you to kick ass like Bruce Lee, when you couldn't fight your way out of a wet paper bag, Drive like Colin McCrae when you haven't passed your test...
OR score goals like Steven Gerrard even when you were the last person to be picked for your playground team, during the dinnertime football match as a kid. ( Yes that's football, not soccer CALEB, FOOTBALL!)
So for me, (having given you a glimpse of my personal history) , to be able to project myself into the world of Tony Hawk and become a fucking shit hot skateboarder, is going to be a winner every time!!!
Now let's actually consider the game shall we? O.K.
Instant pick up and play potential... the mastery of the controls is simple. Getting it right in the flow of a skate sesion is not quite as simple, however. The game rewards you with points and money for good combos and a smooth two minutes of skatey showing off.
A 'power meter' at the top of the screen allows you to know how successful your intended skate trickery will be...
Hang on the lip of a half pipe in a 'gymnast plant' (you'll get used to the lingo) for too long will amass points, but do it for too long, and you'll crunch to the ground with a sickening thud.
Plus there's blood , lots of blood when you 'crash and burn' , but don't worry... your chosen skater will simply pick himself up, dust himself off, get on his 'board' and get on with the job...
THPS2 allows you to unlock new parks and levels. The initial level , " The Hangar" is a dream Skate Park...
It allows the novice skater to look good and score big points. The subsequent levels, (The School Yard and so on) are increasingly difficult to skate.
Level Three (Marseilles) is a skate competition, and a good leveller for knowing how crap you really are!
You skate against the AI attempting to win points, medals and dollars. You usually come last... and have to try again.
No problem. The game is so addictive, you'll want to play again and again.
I can't really tell you how many levels and skateparks there are, 'cos I haven't got that far...
But what I can tell you, is there's a lot to unlock, if you play long enough.
On each level there are secret sections with hidden goals. Each of these in turn will unlock points and cash, and this will help you progress to the next level.
Earned cash will enable you to buy 'stats' and 'tricks' which will enable yo to get further in the game.
There's a lot of 'customisation' within the game. You can choose from a variety of pro-skaters (Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Chad Muska or Kareem Cambell etc.) -Yes I've never heard of them either...
Customise their outfits, mess about with their skating 'stats', buy them new boards and even present them with a skatepark built to your own whims/specifications.
I've never seen this in a "Top Dreamcast Games Of All Time..." list, and that may well be because it was a multi-format game and not unique to the Dreamcast.
For me this is actually a bonus, 'cos I'm currently playing the DC version at home and playing the GBA version on my DS on the move. But the compatability is very good and something I've never experienced before. Bonus!!
To finish this rambling post, dear reader there's two surprising thing's I've found out whilst writing this epistle...
1.) The strange proliferation of Sega Swirl's , first identified by TeeLeeCee is still happening... Check this out! It just appeared on a sandwich I made for my Mrs!
2.) And also..THPS 2 is the favourite game of Hollywood beauty and Sin City star Rosario Dawson... who'd a thunk it?????
Good night children, wherever you are...
Added to the 'Yard by fatherkrishna