If there’s anything to say about the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 And 2 demo, it’s that it knows what most fans want. The montage of skaters, new and old, doing tricks in real life plays while Rage Against The Machine’s “Guerilla Radio” fills your ears. The start menu for the Warehouse demo has Goldfinger’s “Superman.” It’s exactly what fans associate with the Tony Hawk series, and that original music coming back is a huge part of the buzz for the remastered edition of the skateboarding classics.
The first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater releases were good video games, but no one needs a port of a game that was first released in 1999. But a lot of the new, and how it works, will have to wait. We’ve seen much better visuals from the other elements of the game’s trailer, but the Warehouse demo — out on Friday for those who pre-ordered the game or bought a burrito — is the first chance we’ve had to see how THPS 1 And 2 will play, and it’s hard not to feel the immediate pull of nostalgia at play here.
The Warehouse is an extremely thin slice when it comes to a demo, which presents two potential avenues of thought. The first is that we’re so close to the release date that this is what the game is going to be, which is a faithful — if not overly nostalgic — recreation of the original games with some updated graphics and capabilities that will delight anyone who has played these levels and heard these songs before. The other possibility is more pessimistic: the rest of the game might not amount to much, and nostalgia is all the title has to offer.
Judging that for sure here is silly, but the most important thing here is that the Warehouse demo feels like a Tony Hawk game. The two original songs included in the demo bring an immediate smile, and the new ones — Billy Talent’s “Afraid of Heights” and “Lose Control” from Tyron Briggs — fit the mood of the game. The entire demo is playing a two-minute skate session with Tony Hawk, so the create-a-park and other customization options will have to wait. But the 900 and his big moves are there, and once your fingers dig up the control scheme from under the sands of time, you start to feel good about what you’re doing here.
Hearing the sound effects for hitting gaps and activating signature moves is a nice reminder that even if it’s a bit different, you’ve definitely played this game before. And it does have some new options to offer in the demo. There’s a subtle rewind effect of sorts that happens when you fall, allowing you to get on your board faster and also remind you that, yes, this is video game skateboarding after all. And while the demo’s features are limited, we do get a glimpse at some of the new tricks and trick mapping changes you can make if you’re feeling like some experimentation.
It’s hard to determine too much off a very limited demo, but the verdict for anyone who loved the first two games is that this appears to deliver on the concept of “remastering” some beloved classics. The game played mostly clean and it just felt good to be back in the Warehouse again. If the rest of the game can match the familiarity and ease the demo had in bringing back those good feelings, get ready to go hunting for a lot of SKATE tapes next month.