Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x
released on Nov 15, 2001
An expanded game of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x was designed to take full advantage of the technical capabilities of Xbox. The game features the franchise's signature gameplay, intuitive controls, all of the levels from both Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, in addition to more populated environments, brand new levels, realistic special effects and smoother lifelike animations. The inclusion of system link gameplay brings the skateboarding experience to life.
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Prior to the release of Pro Skater 1+2 (and even after the release of Pro Skater HD), this was the definitive remaster of the first two Pro Skater games. And even then calling it a remaster for both games might be stretching it, since it's mostly a remaster of Pro Skater 2.
Despite the fact that Pro Skater 3 was already out by this time, Activision wanted a launch title for the OG Xbox. And since Pro Skater 3 wouldn't be out until a few months later, Activision decided to task Treyarch a remaster of Pro Skater 2. It probably could have been a disaster, but surprisingly it worked.
2X is a really good game for what it is, but also has some of the same issues as the original Pro Skater 2 (i.e. Big Drop feature). It's interesting to go back to this game now, and it wouldn't hurt to play this one, even after playing Pro Skater 1+2.
I played this version over the vanilla THPS2 because I figured this would have the best engine and most content, and I was indeed right. This game not only includes the entirety of THPS2 in the THPS3 engine but also includes all the maps from THPS1 as well to just make this game have a ton of content and things to do. There are even unique bonus stages that are cool. This game introduces manuals to the gameplay formula, and they do so much to make the game more freeform that it basically makes it impossible to go back to the first game. You can now continue your combos literally anywhere as long as there is a short enough distance between your next rail/ramp to keep your manual going for. The new levels are also pretty well designed though I do think some of them are a bit too big and prefer the THPS1 levels overall. The soundtrack is also a step down from game 1 imo. Despite those minor setbacks the gameplay improvements are so vast that this game is still absolutely worth playing and better than the first game.
I can't really give the twenty year-olds too much shit for salivating over spot-the-difference remakes of games that came out on PS3. This was my one. A US-only, Xbox-only expanded remake of Tony Hawk's 2 with all the THPS1 levels and five new exclusive levels too. There couldn't have been a more tantalising carrot to dangle in front of my 13 year-old face. planettonyhawk.gamespy.com became a daily visit, and I'd constantly revisit my folder of THPS2X screenshots once my hour of 56k internet access was up.
It's only after experiencing the clean Dreamcast version, PC version with all the THPS1 levels patched in, 2012 remake, THUGPRO and 2020 remake, that emulation had caught up to the point where I could finally realise the dream.
It's Tony Hawk's 2. Cleaner than the old PlayStation version, sure. I couldn't say for certain that it looks any better than the Dreamcast or PC versions without doing a direct side-by-side comparison. I remember marveling at the lighting in promotional screenshots back in the day, so maybe there's something there, but it's just as likely that they were nonsense.
The original levels are abysmal, by the way. They'd be subpar for Evolution Skateboarding. THPS5's levels soar above this scattered, linear dogshit. The one skatepark level is okay, but really just an early iteration of THUG's Tampa skatepark with less flow to it. Don't play this for the new levels.
Otherwise, you've got a fine way to play THPS1&2, with all the old THPS2 stuff. Folk coming off the new remake will be alarmed at how juddery and limited the original games are. Technical combos rarely gain points as quickly as just doing big jumps and spinning, and there's the infamous "BIG DROP" thing that makes you wipe out if you drop from too tall a height. It doesn't emulate nearly as well as the PlayStation or Dreamcast games either, so it's unlikely to become the most practical option.
THPS2 is a beloved game though, and this is the most "deluxe" version of the original. It's just as it used to be, with the full soundtrack (not THPS1's though), extras and unlockable Spider-Man. There's a satisfaction in mastering the quirks of the old physics and a comfort in the atmosphere that subsequent remakes haven't quite captured. This is the old THPS2 you used to play with RF cables on your mate's bedroom television. I just thought that fans ought to know they really don't have to seek this one out. Just play the version you have.
Great remaster of the second game, trivially easy remaster of the first, and awful exclusive levels. It's a bit of a mixed bag but I'm giving it a high score because it's a lot of fun and since 2 is definitely the main attraction here, I'm giving it a lot of credit for that.
I was within the age bracket where my Tony Hawk experience began with the Underground games.
I chose 2x because after booting up the OG THPS, I decided that I could handle no walking, but I absolutely could not handle no manuals. Maybe I'll come back to it some day.
From my understanding, the THPS2 portion of this "collection" is unchanged from the original, outside of visuals.
I'm not a huge fan of the THPS2 levels, honestly. Really love the THPS1 ones, but they suffer from the Big Drop mechanic.
This is definitely worth playing if you're looking to experience THPS1 and 2 in a slightly more updated form.