The simple answer is the manual. Introduced in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, the manual allows skaters to continue their trick combo onto flat surfaces by simply popping wheelie after wheelie.
Thanks to this new move, the formula for posting high scores within the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 gameplay engine becomes boring and repetitive:
- Perform a long, slow special grind that gets your base trick value into the 20,000 -- 50,000 range.
- Flip trick out of the grind and land in a manual.
- Repeatedly manual and flip trick over and over again until your trick multiplier reaches the 50 -- 100 range.
- Land the combo for an easy seven-figure score.
Hitting 1 million points was considered a huge achievement in the first Tony Hawk game -- something that only the elite players could do in their best runs. For instance, here is an impressive million-point run from the Dreamcast version of the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater:
Hitting these lines requires world-class skill, as the skater's path includes many difficult rail transfers and wall rides, leading him around the entire lower portion of the Warehouse.
Now let's compare the above video to a typical high-scoring run on the same level, this time featuring the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 gameplay engine:
This boring, uncreative line would have counted for diddly squat under the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater scoring system, but thanks to the constant manualing and flip tricking, which barely even resembles real skateboarding, the player is able to post a high score with little effort, skill or creativity.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater's scoring system would become easier and cheesier with each new entry in the franchise, as moves like the revert, skitching, freestyle tricks, wall plants and other combo-extending maneuvers further distanced the game from the actual sport, eventually allowing skaters to carry a single trick sequence all the way through a two-minute run.
If Activision is truly looking to resurrect the Tony Hawk brand for a new game, the first thing the company needs to do is scrap all the superfluous combo extenders and return to the simple formula of grinds, jumps and gaps that made the original game a skateboarding classic.