• Home
  • /
  • Gaming
  • /
  • 10 Of The Best And Most Epic Tony Hawk Games

10 Of The Best And Most Epic Tony Hawk Games

Tony Hawk’s is a skateboarding video game series published by Activision from 1999 to 2015, and endorsed by the eponymous American professional skateboarder. The series was primarily developed for home consoles by Neversoft from launch to 2007, until Activision transferred the franchise to Robomodo in 2008. The licensing deal between Activision and Hawk expired in 2015, leaving the future of the series uncertain. The series had spawned a total of 17 games.

Starting out with the initial Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in 1999, the series proved to be one of the most popular and best-selling video game franchises of the early 2000s. Three more Pro Skater games were released from 2000 to 2002, after which the developers took a more story-oriented approach with the releases of Underground, Underground 2 and American Wasteland from 2003 to 2005. Project 8 in 2006 and Proving Ground in 2007 were the last games in the series developed by Neversoft. After that, developer Robomodo took the franchise in a different direction by developing the peripheral supported spin-offs Ride and Shred, released in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Both were commercial and critical failures. Robomodo tried unsuccessfully to revive the series with the back to the roots-oriented releases of Pro Skater HD and Pro Skater 5 in 2012 and 2015. The series spawned several other spin-offs, such as Downhill Jam in 2006, Motion in 2008, and Shred Session in 2014, along with several ports and re-releases.

The first six Tony Hawk’s received critical acclaim for their unique gameplay, varied soundtracks, and expansion over their predecessors. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Pro Skater 3 are critically ranked among the best games released for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, respectively. However, later entries started getting less favorable reviews, culminating in the games developed by Robomodo being critically panned, with Ride and Pro Skater 5 being named “Worst Games of the Year” by several outlets. After this, Activision let the licensing deal expire while holding all publishing rights.

Fans have continued to support the legacy of the series through an online multiplayer fangame called THUG Pro, which uses Underground 2’s engine in an all-encompassing collection of levels from the series. On December 3, 2018, Tony Hawk announced the first game in the series not to be published by Activision. The game is called Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam, and was released for iOS and Android on December 13, 2018.

Take a look below for our list of 10 of the best and most epic Tony Hawk games.

1. Tony Hawk’s Underground

Tony Hawk’s Underground is a skateboarding video game published by Activision in 2003, the fifth entry in the Tony Hawk’s series. Neversoft developed the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox versions, Beenox developed the Microsoft Windows version, which was released in Australia and New Zealand as a budget release in 2004, while the Game Boy Advance adaptation was developed by Vicarious Visions and a mobile version by Jamdat.

Underground is built upon the skateboarding formula of previous Tony Hawk’s games: the player explores levels and completes goals while performing tricks. The game features a new focus on customization; the player, instead of selecting a professional skater, creates a custom character. Underground adds the ability for players to dismount their boards and explore on foot. The plot follows the player character and their friend Eric Sparrow as the two become professionals and grow apart.

The game was developed with a theme of individuality, which was manifested in the extensive customization options, the presence of a narrative, and the product’s characterization as an adventure game. Real-world professional skateboarders contributed their experiences to the plot. Upon release, the game was a major critical and commercial success, with reviewers praising its wide appeal, soundtrack, customization, multiplayer, and plot. The graphics and the controls for driving vehicles and walking were less well-received. Underground’s PlayStation 2 version had sold 2.11 million copies in the United States by December 2007. A sequel, Underground 2, was released in 2004.

2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

Chester Barber reviewed the PlayStation 2 version of the game for Next Generation, rating it five stars out of five, and stated that “PS2’s most impressive game to date. Not just perfectly balanced – THPS3 offers enough new elements to warrant the coveted fifth star reserved for revolutionary titles.”

By July 2006, the PlayStation 2 version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 had sold 2.1 million copies and earned $77 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 14th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined sales of Tony Hawk console games released in the 2000s reached 10.7 million units in the United States by July 2006. Its PlayStation 2 version also received a “Platinum” sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.

The PS2 version earned a rare perfect 10 score from GameSpot, one of only fifteen games to ever receive said score, “Probably because of the freedom given in this game.” It was also awarded the best sports game award at E3 2001. IGN rated the game 9.7/10, stating that the game “Should go down in history as one of the best twitch-fests on PS2. Yes, TH3 is that good. The perfect skating game remains just a tiny hair’s breadth out of reach, but if you are not satisfied with your purchase of this game, head examinations are recommended.” The game is currently the top rated PS2 game on the review aggregate website Metacritic, with an average score of 97/100, tying with Grand Theft Auto III. Famitsu gave the game a 30/40.

3. Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland is a skateboarding video game that was released for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox on October 18, 2005 in North America and October 28, 2005 in Europe, the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005 in North America and December 2, 2005 in Europe as a launch title and a Microsoft Windows port was issued by Aspyr on February 6, 2006 in North America and April 7, 2006 in Europe. It’s the seventh entry of the Tony Hawk video game series, developed by Neversoft and published by Activision.

American Wasteland is the first Tony Hawk’s game to support Xbox Live; online play was previously limited to the PlayStation 2 and PC. The Nintendo DS/Game Boy Advance version of this game, American Sk8land, features Wi-Fi capabilities. It was the first third-party DS game to have online support.

In the additional Collector’s Edition, two exclusive characters and two exclusive levels have been added, this also includes a “Making of Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland” documentary.

4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a skateboarding video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It is the second installment in the Tony Hawk’s series of sports games and was released for the PlayStation in 2000, with subsequent ports to Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Color, and Dreamcast the same year. In 2001 the game was ported to the Mac OS, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, and Xbox (as part of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x collection). The game was later ported to Windows Mobile and Windows Phone devices in 2006 and to iOS devices in 2010.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 uses the same game engine as its predecessor while improving the graphics and the gameplay, most notably with the introduction of manuals and cash rewards. The game takes place in a three-dimensional urban environment permeated by an ambience of rock and hip hop music. The player takes control of a variety of skateboarders and either performs skateboarding tricks or collects certain objects. The game offers several modes of gameplay, including a career mode in which the player must complete objectives and evolve their character’s attributes with earned profits, a free-play mode in which the player may skate without any given objective, a multiplayer mode that features a number of competitive games, and a level editor that allows the player to create customized levels.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was critically acclaimed upon release and is considered one of the highest-rated video games of all time, as well as the highest-rated sports video game. All versions of the game were praised, including its addictive gameplay, large environments, detailed graphics, fluid and precise controls, customization features and soundtrack, with some minor criticisms directed at the lack of a first-person camera and the truncated soundtrack of the Nintendo 64 version.

5. Tony Hawk’s Underground 2

The game received generally positive reviews from critics, with GameRankings scores ranging from 70% to 86% and Metacritic scores from 82% to 85%. It was nominated to be part of the Smithsonian’s “The Art of Video Games” display for the PlayStation 2 section under the Action genre, but lost to Shadow of the Colossus.

The plot received mixed comments. Douglass C. Perry of IGN found the plot to be less “endearing” than Underground’s, and while he enjoyed the story mode’s gameplay, other staff at IGN did not, opting instead for the Classic mode. A reviewer from GameSpot enjoyed the story mode, but felt it was too short. In contrast, Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer felt there were plenty of levels, and saw the plot as enjoyable and unintrusive, if unintelligent. Ben Silverman of Game Revolution also thought the campaign was noticeably short, but also that “that’s actually a blessing, though, because the plot and cut-scenes are pretty lame.” Perry enjoyed the level design, but noted some slowdown in the levels due to their size.

Some critics noted that the gameplay had not been significantly upgraded from Underground. Silverman and Perry were unimpressed with the short selection of moves introduced in Underground 2. GameSpot agreed, but concluded that “while not all of these changes are all that great, the core gameplay in THUG2 is still very strong”. In contrast, Bramwell felt that the Sticker Slap and additional flip and grab tricks were meaningful, enjoyable additions. The addition of Classic mode was praised by 1UP.com, who considered it superior to the Story mode in terms of levels, while adding “Gamers weaned on PS1 Hawks will shed a tear, while newer fans will get a lesson on how things started.”

The aesthetics were generally well-received. Perry praised the aesthetics, which he described as more cartoony, especially in the pro skater models, than those of previous Tony Hawk’s games. Regarding the sound, he praised both the sound effects and the music. Silverman particularly commended the soundtrack’s variety for including songs outside the traditional skating genres of punk, rock, and hip hop (namely Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”). Conversely, Bramwell greatly disliked the soundtrack—although he admitted it suited its purpose of accompanying skateboarding—and also found the graphical upgrades to be minor and noted frequent issues with slowdown.

6. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4

Pro Skater 4 is a departure from the previous three games’ Career mode, in which the player had a set amount of time in order to find and complete goals. 4 instead featured a Career mode more similar to Free Skate mode, in which there was no time limit to explore the level, the goals are usually offered to the player to attempt by characters found in the level. This Career mode would be later seen as the Story modes of the Underground series, American Wasteland, Project 8 and Proving Ground.

The game builds on the success of the gameplay in the previous games in the series. All of the combos from the previous game make an appearance, as well as some new tricks that can be performed to better navigate parks and areas. New to the game is the spine transfer, in which the player can press the shoulder button to transfer between quarter-pipes connected back-to-back, or otherwise self-right themselves to exit quarter-pipes or prevent bailing should they fly off them. The game also features skitching, which lets skaters hang off the back of moving vehicles.

The “hidden combos” for turning some tricks into slight variations in Pro Skater 3 turned into a standard feature, albeit not as advanced as the system would turn out in the next game in the series, where it was finalized. Also included was the ability to do grind and lip extensions by tapping a direction and grind while grinding or lipping, which can also grant the player bigger combos as they can do a grind extension into a special move, for example. As with trick extensions, this would be standard in the next game in the series where it was much simpler to do. The game is also the only one in the series where the player does not have to buy tricks. Instead, the basic trick-set the player gets is allocated depending on what type of move set the player defines for their character.

Additionally, the player can unlock four other playable characters; Jango Fett from Star Wars, Eddie, the ubiquitous mascot of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden, Mike Vallely, who is a professional skater and wrestler, and Daisy, a female skater visually based off and voiced by Jenna Jameson.

7. Tony Hawk’s Project 8

For the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, Project 8 features a city to skate in, which contains various skate parks and “hidden sections”. An E3 preview by a member of the PlanetTonyHawk.com staff stated “The levels are massive and an amalgamation of just about every level in the early THPS games. So Suburbia, School, Downtown and Factory (I, II and III) are all interconnected and part of the same town.” There are about 45 skaters in the game, including unlockable characters, who each have a unique mo-cap style, providing a different experience and no recycled animations.

One new feature is the ‘nail the trick’ option. When a player enters this mode the camera will zoom in on the side to focus on the skateboard and the character’s feet. Players are then able to use the right analog and left analog sticks to control the right and left feet, allowing the player to flip and rotate the board in any such manner; including tapping the underside of the board in the air and merging various techniques to form new moves.

Another new ability in the game is to control the characters in the game during crashes, allowing the player to obtain a high “Hospital bill”, with bonus money awarded for broken bones—this feature is used in numerous challenges across the story mode (on PS3 and Xbox 360). Players can induce a wreck manually. Lastly, players still have the option to get off their skateboard at any time and run, though it plays a very small role in the game overall, other than avoiding bails and extending combos.

On the PlayStation 2 and the PSP versions, it has people that are called “Stokens”. Stokens are people that stoke the player for their tricks on their board. If the player hits them and makes them fall and if they get closer to them while they are getting up, they will sucker punch the player. There are various genders and types of stokens in the game like teenage boys, teenage girls and mechanics (only on Downtown, City Center, Car Factory, Fun Park and Crete Park).

8. Tony Hawk Proving Ground

Proving Ground was met with mixed to positive reviews upon release. On Metacritic, both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions had an average score of 72, the PlayStation 2 version had an average score of 65, and the Wii version had an average score of 57. All of these scores are considered “mixed or average” by the site. The PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii versions were criticized for not having the same mechanics that are in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.

The Nintendo DS version received generally favorable reviews from critics. On Metacritic it received an average score of 79 out of 100 based on 21 reviews. On GameRankings it received an average score of 78% based on 19 reviews. Notably however, the game received a 9/10 from the Official UK Xbox Magazine. The Official UK PlayStation Magazine awarded the game 7/10.

9. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater takes place in a 3-D environment permeated by an ambience of punk rock and ska music. The player takes control of a variety of famous skateboarders and must complete missions by performing skateboarding tricks and collecting objects. The game offers several modes of gameplay, including a career mode in which the player must complete objectives and evolve their character’s attributes, a free-play mode in which the player may skate without any given objective, and a multi-player mode that features a number of competitive games.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was met with critical acclaim for all versions but the Game Boy Color version, which had a more mixed reception. The game resulted in a successful franchise, receiving eight annualized sequels developed by Neversoft from 2000’s Pro Skater 2 to 2007’s Proving Ground.

10. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X

The game received generally positive reviews upon release. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot called the game “the equivalent of a “director’s cut” edition, containing the original product and some nominal enhancements.” He went on to say “While the game is technically the best version of Tony Hawk 2 to date, and while the addition of the Tony Hawk 1 levels is a nice touch, the game feels a little dated, whether you compare it to the rest of the Xbox lineup or the recently released Tony Hawk 3…” Vincent Lopez of IGN stated “Tony Hawk 2x is exactly what you expect—an amazing translation of Tony Hawk 1 and 2 with extra touches such as more detailed characters, and crisper textures and details on the environments. Unfortunately, because it’s exactly what you expect, this isn’t a game that can be recommended to everyone.

Blake Fischer reviewed the Xbox version of the game for Next Generation, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that “If you’re got an Xbox and need some Hawk action, this is a great value. But if you’ve already played the first two games, pick up THPS3 on PS2 (or just wait for it to show up on Xbox).”

Spread the love

Leave a Reply