Who would have guessed back in 1999 that the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise would take off like it did? Tony Hawk games have sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making the skateboarding franchise the #3 selling sports series of all time. From 1999 to 2007* we got a brand new Tony Hawk game every year. Some years we even got two! Because it’s #ThrowbackThursday I wanted to take a look back at each of the Tony Hawk games and reminisce on how badly I want a new Pro Skater game. I spent countless nights with pals playing through the Tony Hawk games on every difficulty exploring every nook and cranny. I was a terrible skateboarder on the streets but an amazing skateboarder on the…. TV Screen? I got nothing clever. Now let’s get into it.
*Technically the only year there hasn’t been a Tony Hawk game is 2011 but I’m not going bother pretending like the following games need to be on this list. They are bad and better left forgotten. These games include; Tony Hawk’s Motion (2008), Tony Hawk: Shred (2010), Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD (2012), Tony Hawk’s Underground Pro (2013), Tony Hawk’s Shred Session (2014), Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam (2006) and finally Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land (2005).
The Tony Hawk series fell off after American Wasteland in 2005 but it’s worth mentioning Tony Hawk’s Project 8, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 because they are considered part of the main Tony Hawk series.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
Fuck this game. Fuck this fucking game. I spent $5 dollars buying this new from EB Games and feel like I got ripped off. For the love of all that is holy never, ever, ever play this game. Burn it or stomp on it, but get it out of your house right now.
Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground
This was Neversoft’s final Tony Hawk game and man it was a bummer. It featured the best visuals and audio of the series (It looks lightyears better than THPS 5), but the controls were wonky and the storyline was extremely mundane. It expanded upon Project 8 but unfortunately, it didn’t do anything interesting to make it worth playing especially since Skate came out the same year.
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
I hated this games art style. The cartoonish graphics were absolutely rubbish and the game wasn’t all that interesting. Sure skating around Los Angeles was cool but it got stale really fast. This is the downfall of the series. The fact that you could hop on a BMX or swing your board at passer-bys was dumb and unnecessary. It also didn’t help how dead the city of angels felt.
Tony Hawk’s Underground 2
I’m surprised this game wasn’t called “Tony Hawk’s Jackass With Mild Skateboarding” because it pulled content so heavily from the show. The game went from “realistic” to a cartoon art style and featured a ton of cheap shitty jokes. The missions with Steve-O riding the mechanical bull are a franchise low. There’s way too much of a focus on not actually skateboarding and doing weird shit like helping Benjamin Franklin. The final level was a blast and has stuck with me till today.
Tony Hawk’s Project 8
This game is by no means very good but it did introduce the nail-a-trick feature which was probably the best addition to the series since the revert. If we ever see another Tony Hawk game again I hope that feature comes back. Also bring back Jason Lee, cause he’s the best especially compared to Bob Burnquist and co who wouldn’t even be considered decent actors in a low-budget porno.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
The game that started it all. It was easily the best sports game ever released at the time, but it was outdone by its sequels. The Hangar still remains one of the best levels ever made in a Tony Hawk game. I throw in this game from time to time to transport me back to sitting in my best friends basement at 9 years old drinking slurpees and pounding back bags of ketchup chips.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
The first Tony Hawk game to remove the 2-minute limit letting you ride around freely. It was a much-needed change for the series that would have gotten stale a lot faster otherwise. Sure, there was some silliness like riding down Alcatraz in a shopping cart or playing baseball as Iron Maiden’s Eddie the Head but there was a lot of fun to bed had. This was the first truly challenging Tony Hawk game. I’d rank this game higher if it wasn’t for those stupid pink elephants.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
As a whole THPS 2 probably has the best levels of any Tony Hawk game. This took the original Tony Hawk game and threw it on its head. Better mechanics, better levels, more characters and tons of modes. This was a damn good game and it remains the second highest-rated video game of all time on Metacritic behind The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. WTF?!
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 is easily the best Tony Hawk Pro Skater game. This was the game that allowed players to revert into manuals and create incredible combos. I rely on manuals when I play and this game changed everything for me. There’s so much to love about THPS 3. The great country of Canada was introduced. You could skate in an airport. You could even go online and play people from all over the world if you bought a Network Adaptor for your PS2. It also might have one of the best soundtracks of any Tony Hawk game.
Tony Hawk’s Underground
The first Tony Hawk game where you could get off your board and what a game changer that was. THUG made you the star of the game and it felt so damn good to rise up the ranks beating Tony Hawk at his own game. I’d love to see a THUG 3 with an actual decision-based storyline. I hated always having to be on team Bam. I’ve beat this game more than any other, finishing it probably around 50 times. Everything from the story to the creat-a-skater options makes this the best Tony Hawk game of all time.
Haters going hate. Sound off in the comments or on Twitter! I wanna hear what you think. I was shocked to see how many people swear by American Wasteland online. Am I missing something?