North America: June 29, 2000
Europe: June 29, 2000 (As Tony Hawk's Skateboarding)
Jump Pack compatible
The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series is one that has had euphoric highs and miserable lows. Thankfully, the Dreamcast is home to two of the best titles in the series. The Dreamcast version of the first game came some time after the PlayStation version and shortly after the Nintendo 64 release and easily proves to be the definitive version.
If you're familiar with the modern THPS games, this one will prove a bit different. There are two kinds of stages; ones that have objectives which earn you tapes when completed, and competitions. In objective levels, you'll earn tapes for high scores or performing certain feats, such as grinding five picnic tables. Six of the levels are in this form, and each have five tapes to collect. There is a two minute time limit on these levels however, all tapes do not have to be collected in one run. The objective levels are the most enjoyable of the game, and give you wide open areas to explore. Competition levels are broken into three minute-long heats. You'll be graded on your performance and compete against the other pros in the game. You won't actually see their runs; just their performance on the score board.
The gameplay is very easy to grasp, but takes time to master. There are four buttons- ollie, grab tricks, flip tricks and grinds. There are 10 different pros to choose from, with relatively unique move sets, and each with their own special moves. As you collect tapes in levels your stats will increase, making it much easier to perform combos. This is not a difficult game, and you can easily complete the game with all characters in an afternoon or two. The rewards for doing such are slim, but you'll have a great time doing it.
In a dystopian future, the only way to take down the evil dictator Robert Gray is to shred. Rescue your wife and daughter (even if you're playing as the sole female skater...) from the totalitarian regime...and okay, I'm kidding. It's a sports game. There is no story to be told of.
While it's unlikely that this game was built from the ground up for Dreamcast (coming about 10 months after the PSX version), you wouldn't know it from the graphics. It's leaps and bounds away from the N64 and PSX versions. The graphics won't be blowing anyone's minds, but they aren't an eyesore either. The game also keeps a steady frame rate and never stutters.
The soundtrack of this game is something of a mixed bag. There are definitely some standout tracks (Primus' "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and The Ernies' "Here and Now"), but most aren't so great. This game surely didn't have the budget of the later entries when it came to the soundtrack, and it shows. The songs aren't bad, but there's nothing here that's going to make you run out and grab any of the bands' albums. For those of us who remember what skateboarding was like at that time, it's an interesting time capsule of the music tastes that permeated a sport which is at times annoyingly focused on image.
One unique feature of the Dreamcast version is screens around the levels which play the music videos for songs that have one.
Don't pass this one up. It comes cheap, and there's a lot of play here. Even if you tear through the single player game, you'll want to return to up your scores and play the multiplayer modes with friends. This is certainly the definitive version of the game, and you won't be disappointed.