Hold down Cross. Double tap up whilst hovering over Square. Release Cross, Tap Square and Left. Tap Left, right. Hold Triangle.
Boneless to kickflip to darkslide.
Hardly complicated, but when I see people ollieing onto a rail, I think why aren’t you preloading the jump with a flip, a spin, a quick grab? Why aren’t you mixing up your grind whilst on the metal? Why aren’t you comboing out of the grind with another flip and into a manual?
To me, as a age-old player of the Tony Hawk games, playing four or five moves when most only make one isn’t just practice, it’s now instinct; muscle memory lodged so deep in my brain it triggers whenever I walk past something grindable in real life.[drop2]Those moves have remained constant through the various Pro Skater titles and well into the post THPS4 era, when driving a car, chasing Bam Margera and climbing ladders took over Neversoft’s priorities.
They’re not realistic – they’re not – but when I’m playing a videogame I want it to feel like one, and it’s why I’ve never taken to the terribly stoic Skate series.
Human beings need progression, challenge and direction. If we don’t get them we sit and rot, turning into mush.
For gamers, that means extra levels, more difficulty notches and the token, trivial Pavlovian pings of a trophy or Achievement. For Tony Hawk fans, it means reaching a x50 combo, breaking five million on a run in Canada, or looping The Mall with your eyes closed.
For me, it’s bettering myself on the Venice Beach level.
I’ve been to Venice Beach. Santa Monica’s a wildly diverse, distinct place: the muscle-bound hulks a mile away and the bearded, mildly unnerving homeless common enough to make repeat visits to the touristy bits something of a guilty novelty.
But I went to see the locations mirrored in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.
San Francisco, too, to see that twisted metallic statue found just off the Embarcadero. Stupid? Crazy? Probably. But then you don’t know how much time I’ve spent playing those games, repeating the same lines until I can do them in my sleep, crafting another x multiplier and finding new routes for that two minute loop. Ad infinitum.
I bought an American Xbox – back when I had the money for such frivolities – just to play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2x, a tweaked, updated version of the Dreamcast and PSone title with a few extras and better visuals. I already had a British Xbox.
Games like the early Pro Skater titles are to me the absolute apex of what the industry is all about. Mechanics honed to absolute perfection, levels expertly built, music so suited that the lyrics still circle my brain over a decade later. To others they’re a mystery.
That doesn’t matter.
I know that when the 18th rolls around, and the Xbox 360 version of Pro Skater hits the arcade, I’ll be doing this all over again. It won’t be the same, these things never are and the level count and soundtrack has been considerably compromised in the update, but Robomodo need only really do one thing to make it a hit for me:
Keep those controls the same.