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...


  1. This is f*cking brilliant!


    Now, stop drinking my tequila. Thank you. See you Monday!

  2. OK I'll go to bed... Jeez I need to. As for leaving the tequila Gnome, you know I can't promise that. I'm currently watching 'Tank Girl' Fecking hell! Ice T as a Mutant Kangaroo (?) and I'm taping over Albert Finney's "Scrooge" for this... Malcolm McDowell??? Once Alex in Clockwork Orange, now some evil stooge in Tank Girl??? Jayzus! How the mighty have fallen...

  3. You know, you can also play Tony Hawks 3 and 4 via Bleemcast...although you wouldn't be able to save, and those updates are barely worth it anyway.

  4. Nice review!

    When I was younger I did a small bit of skateboarding...

    (Or as they call it in England "Surfboarding" - Don't ask me why they call skateboarding that. They just seem to enjoy calling sports by the wrong name over there on the wrong side of the pond for some reason.)

    ..But it was the early 90's and everyone seemed to. I never got over my love of flannel though...

    Then in college I enjoyed Tony Hawk 3 on Friends X-Box and more recently Tony hawks Underground 1 + 2 on gamecube. I gotta say though Tony Hawk 2 on dreamcast is actually on par with the game play! And I really enjoy using the controller with the game!

    I have not really gotten too far into the game but the same things I liked about the "classic" modes of the newer games: collecting S K A T E and video tapes and such are still there.

    I have been too busy working and trying to get back into shape to play too many dreamcast games lately (Not counting Quake 3 with the friggin' awesome mouse and keyboard setup FRAG! FRAG! FRAG!)

    But as soon as I go down cellar this crappy rainy rainy weekend. I am going to get serious about my nosegrinds and backside heel spiny thingie.

    Got to my youtube page (linked on my blogger blog) to see a skit I did on my skit comedy show were I I try to show a new cast member how to look cool as a skater! It was an undervalued skit on the show. It's the "Meet Derek Skit".


  5. Good point Gagaman(n) I still need to get the universal Bleem disc. BTW I had cleared the Hangar level, and then put on Tekken 3 using the Tekken Bleem disc and when I went to replay my THPS2 the bleem disc seemed to have wiped my VMU's memory (and thus my current skating career) completely! What's that all about?

    Surfboarding? I ask yer...Caleb you're enjoying poking fun at your colonial cousins aren't you? Careful... As Michael Moore has shown us, your own fair land has it's share of things to have a giggle at... So where do we start? (LOL!)

  6. Yeah, the Tekken 3 Bleem disc (as well as the GT2/Metal Gear ones) use up an entire memory card to save, wiping out anything in it's path. Good thing I have about 10 of the buggers, I slapped it on a slot of one of my 4-in-1's.

    As for Tony hawk's 2, I did have it once, but never really got into it. I wanted to like it, but dunno, I just didn't care for it to be honest. I can see what there is to like, though.

  7. Well thanks for clearing that up!
    I've got loads of VMU's (in a variety of colours!!) but need to mark and reserve one for Bleem. God I never know what's saved on what... and that loses me gameplay and progress..The only clearly marked one is for Shenmue 2 (The Duck Race!! I love it!!) OK Gagaman(n), the Tekken VMU managed to save all the 'unlocked' characters..I think... Do all Bleem discs deatroy VMU memory? Will i always have to start again on any Bleem game? If you can burn me a generic Bleem disc and send it up North, I'll gladly send you Soul Calibur plus all my duplicate titles as a little festive stocking filler.. how's that sound?
    Feel the Christmas love on the 'Yard...

  8. a beautifully rendered post... showing how life can lead one to achieve the ultimate skating accolades (all be they virtual) well past the time alloted in the "drudge" as "normal" social behaviour.

    methinks it's time to challenge the stereotype and take to the streets armed with our skateboards and shiny heads..... feck the begrudgers if i can pull a 360 14 stories over city streets on my ps2, who the hell says i can't do it in real life.....

    feck the begrudgers and isacc newton.... keep on rocking in the free world

    (takes another sip of cough medicine.....)

  9. Elderly! Is the 'keep on rocking in the free world' 'quote' a Neil Young reference? If it is you've got me all excited!
    Jayzus! If not, I can see me alienating the younger generation as we speak...
    (Pours Elderly a glass of festive mulled wine whilst watching younger posters are switching off in their droves...)
    Geriatric virtual skateboarding
    motherfuckers in the house!

  10. Not all Bleem discs 'destroy' the VMU's, just the three released ones. The beta is fine as it doesn't use the VMU at all. You can still reset a VMU to it's normal self, though. As for why you have to keep starting again, I'm not sure why that would happen, you just need to save it like you normally would on a PSX game (through the options).

  11. Yep. Malcom McDowell... tsk... he even starred in some of the horrid FMV video games of yore...

    (tequila stash updated)

  12. Jeez! he had such integrity back in the day...
    What happens to us as we approach our twilight years...

  13. Dreamcast swirls appearing on your sandwiches..??? You got it bad!!

    .... or maybe I just need some of that Tequila..

    I'm outta' here!!
    Gnome, have it ready!