The lights are on
Long before Call of Duty and Guitar Hero became cultural phenomenons with annual installments, Activision found major success in an unlikely place. Few extreme sport games have found mass appeal beyond their built-in fanbase, but Tony Hawk's Pro Skater struck a chord with gamers of all types when it released in 1999. The series' addictive, highly skill-based gameplay and wacky sense of humor kept it relevant for several years, before eventually falling in the eyes of critics and fans. With the highly-anticipated Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD coming later this year, we decided to take a look at the highs and lows of the long-running series. Read on to see how we rank the Tony Hawk series from worst to best.
11. Tony Hawk Ride/Shred (2009/2010)
As I mentioned in the intro, part of what made the Tony Hawk series so appealing to gamers was the focus on skill. Sure, you could have fun just dorking around and grinding on rails, but the addiction set in when you were trying to top your previous high score with an insane combo. Tony Hawk Ride and Shred made sure that fans of the series were deprived of even the slightest semblance of this feeling. Its ridiculous board peripheral turned what used to be a fast-paced test of hand-eye coordination into a chore. Its sloppy controls required so little skill that even bulldogs could enjoy it.
10. Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam (2006)
One element of the series that gamers loved was its open environments that encouraged exploration. Whether you were searching for S-K-A-T-E levels or looking for bums to ollie over, there was something fun about discovering what each level had to offer. This Wii launch title ditched that approach, opting to include downhill races exclusively. This departure combined with the unresponsive motion controls made it one of most thorougly unenjoyable games in the series.
9. Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 (2004)
While the first Underground stuck with most of the elements that made the series a success, Underground 2 felt like it was trying way too hard to be Jackass Skateboarding. Playable characters included the MTV show's Bam and Phil Margera, Wee Man, and Steve-O, and the story featured painfully unfunny attempts at humor. The sub-par objectives frequently involved non-skateboard modes of transportation such as Jesse James' Segway-like chopper and a crippled kid's wheelchair. Considering the game focuses more on juvenile humor and MTV personalities than solid gameplay, this entry turned off many fans.
Email the author Dan Ryckert, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
I don't even remember some of the ones I played at this point.
I have very fond memories of this series. I was pretty young at the time so I ended up spending most of my time just exploring the levels, and messing around in co-op trying to knock the other player off.
I loved the crazy characters they put in from other series too, like Darth Maul and Jango Fett.
THPS3 is also my favorite Tony Hawk, I played the hell out of it and the soundtrack was the best one out of all the entries I've played. I remember finally getting a medal in Tokyo hearing Ace of Spades and screaming in that moment after that accomplishment. Those were good old times, we need a new old-school Tony Hawk.
I kinda remember Underground 2 getting a 9.75. I also am a huge fan of 2 probably spent a year on that game when i was younger.
Was kind of expecting 2 to be the number one choice, but 3 does make sense on the revert alone. As he mentioned, it's kind of sad that only five of these games are still solid, considering they were made so long ago. The big problem I always had was that navigation just became a chore the more and more off board stuff they added.
Tony hawk 3,4,Underground,Underground 2 and American Wasteland are my all time favorite in the series.
Pro Skater 4 was the last one I played... And my favorite one of all.
Was THUG 2 the one with Break on through and Ring of Fire? if so that was my favorite followed closely by American Wasteland.
I think my personal favorite has to be Underground.
nice list, i actually agree with all the rankings, great article dan.
Ive only played 4, Underground, and Underground 2 but i personally thought underground was the best
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 will always be my favorite. That game is at the core of every good memory I have of my early childhood. Amazing.
Yeah,3 was my favorite as well.