This republished review was originally written in 2000, this review is unedited and appears as it did back then. We hope this review gives you an idea of how the reviewer felt at the time and at the end you’ll see a small review from today where you can see how well the game held up over time. With THPSHD out in a matter of days, does THPS2 still hold up?
After the success of the original, THPS2 was destined to be a hit, with Neversoft saying that the sequel will be even better. And amazingly enough, it is.
There are 6 main modes – Career Mode, Single Session, Free Skate, 2 Player, Park Editor and Create Skater. Career mode has amazing depth, with its 8 levels – 3 being competition modes. There are your list of objectives to complete for each level, some being easy and some being very difficult, earning you valuable cash. You can also find the money lying around on each level. You’ll need a certain amount of money to unlock each level ranging from $1,000 to unlock School II to $60,000 to unlock the bullring. You can use your cash to buy new tricks, boards and stats – adding to the depth. The competitions are just fantastic – you are pitted against the best skaters on the circuit to aim for the gold medal. You lose points for bailing and repeating the same trick, but gaining for getting some phat air and varying your tricks. The Bullring, Mexico is a challenge even for somebody considering themselves to be an expert. Even when you complete the Career mode as the first skater, the game is far from over.
You will unlock a secret character and cheat mode. So, you go ahead and manage to complete the game as your bonus character. Finished the game then? No. All of the basic skaters will give you extra goodies when you complete career mode as them. So there’s enough to keep you playing for months on end. But don’t think it’ll be easy. You have to get 100% on each level as each character to ‘finish’ the game. That means collecting all of the secret tapes, hitting all of the sick scores and much more. If you win yourself a gold medal on a competition level, you still have to collect all of the cash lying about. That is another challenge by itself.
Remember, career mode isn’t all there is do to. The single session and free skate modes are pretty self-explanatory, but great feature number 2 is the Park Editor. One of the best things about this is that its easy to make fun skate parks. You make them as complicated or simple as you like, as easy or hard and give them a certain theme. There are around fifty pre-made parks for you to get inspiration from if you look at the menu. You can create and name your own gaps, and when you’ve finished, you can play test your creation. Once saved (taking up between 9-19 blocks on your VM), it will become available for the 2 player mode.
Create a skater mode is another great feature of the game. Just like the park editor – its not difficult to do. You can totally personalise your skater – including their clothing, name, birthplace, appearance, their stats and their tricks and special moves. Another pro of this is that you can save up to four skaters to your career mode file and use one of them to unlock yet another new feature that you wouldn’t have obtained if you didn’t create a skater. The other main mode of this game is the 2 player option. There are five different games to choose from within this section – Graffiti, Trick Attack, Horse, Tag and Free Skate. Graffiti mode is a one-on-one battle to pull the most and best tricks on the level. If one player pulls a trick on a certain area, they will claim it and it will turn their colour. For their opponent to steal it, they must pull a higher scoring trick on the same section. Trick Attack is basically a contest to see who can score the most points. In Horse, the 2 players take turns to pull a trick. The lowest scorer will gain the letter H, followed by O, R etc. – the loser is the first to spell out the words. A rather amusing thing to do when playing with your mate is to replace ‘horse’ with something else… but anyway. Tag is basically a game of Tag. While you’re ‘it’, your timer runs down – the first to run out of time loses. Free skate is again just self-explanatory.
So, what isn’t good about THPS2? The graphics are brilliant, the music is brilliant, the depth of the game is amazing… the list could go on for a while. One disadvantage is that it takes a while to really get good at the game, and people who get put off when they play for the first time and find it too frustrating just have to stick with it. But then again, every time you unlock something new, there’s a whole lot more stuff to do and see.
This game hasn’t aged a bit. Graphically it still looks nice on the Dreamcast, obviously not competing with the current generation but everything is solid and looks as it should. The soundtrack still blows us away and if anything has gotten better with age. All the bands that appeared on it in 2001 were just starting out or unknown but now many have gone on to bigger things and their early work representing some of their best tracks. The level design is as good as it ever was and for us this is the peak of the THPS series. The 3rd game often gets a lot of love but we feel it became more about insane combos than just skating around looking for places to trick.
Pick up the Dreamcast version and you won’t be disappointed, the PSOne version still has a nice charm and plays well but the lack of graphical polish and popup do spoil it slightly. This game will transport you back to 2001, just make sure you have some mates round for a game of horse.