Ranking the Tony Hawk Skateboarding Games (on GBA)
While playing a game for another article, I had the urge to play some extreme sports games set in urban environments. Most easily within reach were the Game Boy Advance adventures of Mr Tony Hawk. Given that his first two games are being remastered as I write this, and may very well be out by the time you read it, I figured what the heck; why not see which is the best Tony Hawk game? On the Game Boy Advance.
So here you have it, which is the worst Tony Hawk game, and which is the best out of the seven games bearing his name that were released between 2000 and 2006.
7. Tony Hawk's American Sk8land
For whatever reason, Vicarious Visions decided to ignore large chunks of what they had done in the years prior. The music is generic bit-tune, and the graphics have taken a huge step back, so much so that your custom character has the same sprite if it's a male or female.
The seven levels are too big, meaning you struggle to find the people to give you objectives, and there are sections where you can't do tricks properly because it's so tight. It's weird having things so wide open and yet claustrophobic...
6. Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam
Despite coming in last in the Game Boy Advance's lifespan and being the ugliest, this isn't the worst game. It's just a straight racing game, where you have to jump, grind and trick your way down some hills. The name is literal, you're not competing for points, you're just trying to get to the finish line first at the bottom of the hill.
With 10 levels and two modes, plus training, it won't last very long since you're only playing each level long enough to reach the finish line. But then, I'm not a big fan of racing games anyway, so you might get more out of it if you are.
5. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
As this was one of the Game Boy Advance's launch titles, obviously the graphics are a bit naff. The gameplay, however, is quite good despite it being difficult to pull off tricks properly. It's also hard to aim your skater at the collectables, so you'll bite it quite often.
There are 13 skaters to choose from, six levels and 10 objectives in each one, so lots to do. However, by the time you reach the final stage the music will have begun to grind on you more than you grinded on rails.
4. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
With the obvious graphical and music updates that development experience brings, it's not that much of an improvement. It can still be difficult to aim your skater at collectables, but at least it does pan through some of the objectives at the start of a run, rather than have you figure them out as you go.
The six levels have only nine objectives this time and the same 13 skaters are present again, but this time you can also create a custom character. The biggest reason this is higher than the previous game is because it has a replay feature! You can see exactly where you crash in each run.
3. Tony Hawk's Underground
Taking what Pro Skater 4 brought to the table and improving upon it, this saw you playing a custom character as a newbie skater just starting out and hoping to go pro. As well as the story mode, there's the more traditional arcade mode, as well as a free skate and a competitive co-op mode.
It's annoying that you have to learn tricks by doing other tricks, though. This harms the fun, and you don't even have access to each section of the 10 levels until you've completed asinine tasks such as locating someone's keys. However, it's still quite fun when you get into it.
2. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Quite a departure from the previous titles, each level is open for you to explore, rather than be restricted to a few minutes. You get your objectives from people who are wandering the levels, and have a couple of minutes to complete those, instead.
You have 14 skaters, and a custom character, to explore each of the six levels. There's also a pro challenge if you successfully complete 59 objectives, so there's a lot to do. It seemed easier to perform tricks, too, though I didn't always land on ramps at the right angle...
1. Tony Hawk's Underground 2
After being kidnapped and terrorised by Tony Hawk and Bam you're forced to participate in a world tour - whichever team loses has to pay for the entire thing. Ignoring that nonsense, it's a vast improvement on the previous title, even putting in some actual song clips instead of mostly tunes.
Even though you control your custom character across the seven open-plan levels, you can swap out to one of a few pro skaters to complete certain challenges. Most of them have to be completed by you, but since you don't have to "learn" the tricks and there are few timers involved it's a vast improvement.
So there you have it, the best Tony Hawk's game on the Game Boy Advance.