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How the Manual Ruined Tony Hawks Pro Skater
 
If you've taken the newly released Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD online, you might be wondering how some people are posting scores in the millions while the majority of players are still struggling to reach six-digit figures.

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:

  1. Perform a long, slow special grind that gets your base trick value into the 20,000 -- 50,000 range.
  2. Flip trick out of the grind and land in a manual.
  3. Repeatedly manual and flip trick over and over again until your trick multiplier reaches the 50 -- 100 range.
  4. 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.


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Videos
Member Comments
# 1 riichiieriich @ 08/23/12 02:01 PM
Tony Hawk is dead. Skate is better. The controls in Skate are so much more fluid than the button-tapping mess that is now Tony Hawk Pro Skater.
 
# 2 cosmonautDREW @ 08/23/12 11:02 PM
i wholeheartedly disagree. I like Skate for the very reason that it is close to skateboarding, i like Tony Hawk for the madness.

I loved THPS4, which had manuals, reverts, and spine transfers. The skill it took to do a 50 million point combo was astonishing and something to strive for in a creative fashion. It's very much the old school, "i'm gonna go to the arcade and set a record on this machine." Not a lot of games did that then when THPS4 was alive and kicking. Online, the community ended up doing 1 billion point combos from "whore lines" (lines that can be repeated by reverts, manuals and such)

I might have a bias because i was in the community of THPS4 online, but either way, i believe there is something truly lost on casual fans of THPS. It is a much deeper and manic game than people portray it to be.

Here's an example of a creative line from AndyTHPS (a player who ended up working for Neversoft because he was so damn good. He ended up doing level design for THPS series) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVy4dUA71eo
 
# 3 cosmonautDREW @ 08/23/12 11:03 PM
i don't know how to make that clickable...sorry.
 
# 4 BIGE888 @ 08/24/12 12:20 AM
NO.....just.....NO.
 
# 5 bigbob @ 08/24/12 01:09 AM
That second video was the biggest joke I've ever seen.

While I agree that the first video was just the same thing a couple of times in a row, at least it was more realistic.
 
# 6 Spaced Ace @ 08/24/12 09:59 AM
Both videos were lame... especially the second one. Pathetic. Repetitive nonsense. How about mixing it up?
 
# 7 CM Hooe @ 08/24/12 12:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmonautDREW
i wholeheartedly disagree. I like Skate for the very reason that it is close to skateboarding, i like Tony Hawk for the madness.

I loved THPS4, which had manuals, reverts, and spine transfers. The skill it took to do a 50 million point combo was astonishing and something to strive for in a creative fashion. It's very much the old school, "i'm gonna go to the arcade and set a record on this machine." Not a lot of games did that then when THPS4 was alive and kicking. Online, the community ended up doing 1 billion point combos from "whore lines" (lines that can be repeated by reverts, manuals and such)

I might have a bias because i was in the community of THPS4 online, but either way, i believe there is something truly lost on casual fans of THPS. It is a much deeper and manic game than people portray it to be.

Here's an example of a creative line from AndyTHPS (a player who ended up working for Neversoft because he was so damn good. He ended up doing level design for THPS series) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVy4dUA71eo
This sums up my opinion exactly.

True-to-life realism was never a goal of the Tony Hawk games. They were all about fun and score attack.

As to the video, no one I ever played Tony Hawk with played the game in that manner. Also, at-a-glance it appears that rail and manual balancing (notably after repeated tricks during long combos) are MUCH easier in next-gen THPS than in the original titles.

For the record, I don't own next-gen THPS and the last Tony Hawk game I played was Underground.
 
# 8 ImTellinTim @ 08/24/12 09:05 PM
Completely disagree! THPS2 where they introduced the manual was my favorite Tony Hawk game by far. I spent hours at Venice Beach trying to rack up scores on the great lines to be found there. After that iteration it got really crazy, but it took some precision balance to get the big lines in 2.

Like CM Hooe, I do not own this iteration and do not plan to buy it. It simply doesn't appeal to me at this point. So, yeah, that video is pretty cheesy. But my nostalgia will not be discarded by saying the manual ruined THPS, dammit!
 
# 9 YoungBuck3 @ 08/25/12 03:57 AM
Yep I loved the introduction of manual's, reverts however I was not so fond of.
 
# 10 Shinyhubcaps @ 08/25/12 11:00 PM
I like manuals and reverts. Manuals especially were a huge omission for the first game if it wanted to emulate actual skateboarding. The big flaw is the scoring system that counts manual + pop shoveit as x2, etc., allowing for that type of cheesing in the second video. What would be better is if you had to hold a grind or manual for 1 second for it to count as a multiplier. Reverts, then, should not affect the multiplier at all. I had some great games in Tony Hawk's Underground using the full bevy of tricks, and it looked like a creative line, and took immense skill (not to brag, haha).

In other words, cheesers gonna cheese.
 
# 11 jyoung @ 08/26/12 08:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
At-a-glance it appears that rail and manual balancing (notably after repeated tricks during long combos) are MUCH easier in next-gen THPS than in the original titles.
I noticed this, too, after recently going back and playing through the Dreamcast versions of THPS 1 and THPS 2. You cannot balance on rails or manuals for nearly as long in the original games. For some reason, the new developers made it a lot easier to hold your balance in THPS HD.

My friends and I mostly played THPS 2 with the "simulation physics" code on, and it made the game a lot more realistic and fun since most of us actually skateboarded in real life back then. The new THPS HD really could have benefited from including a "sim mode" code.
 
# 12 VDusen04 @ 09/03/12 02:52 PM
I agree the high scores are ridiculous, but I've grown used to that over the years with every single game I've ever played online. This is partly why I'm not a big online player. I like playing the games I own and feeling like I'm good at them. For instance, I felt particularly accomplished when I rang up 900,000 in Venice Beach. Only shortly thereafter, I discovered the online rankings and saw an endless stream of multiple millions. Many were likely not legit, but I bet many are.

I'll agree that eventually, Tony Hawk seemed to have just a little too many things going on in their games. I still played the newer ones anyway, but they didn't seem to have the lasting appeal of the first iterations. Sometimes simple is best. The riding behind cars, the shooting through cannons, the Jackass hijinks, it all definitely began to skew further and further away from skating itself as time went on. I think that's why I've been having such fun with Tony Hawk HD.
 
# 13 stlpimpmonsta @ 09/03/12 02:54 PM
Nah....the revert ruined normal scoring.
 
# 14 weaverska @ 10/16/12 02:27 AM
Tony once wrote in his autobiography that the original THPS was a bridge between Skateboarders and the rest of the world, it allowed people to experience that life, without having to spend many a year taking a beating from the ramps.
But with the limitations in technology at the time, the game wasn't as fluid and smooth as real life skateboarding was, and adding the Score element, that certain tricks were worth more points than others, that was basically a jab at the ideas of imposing rules on skateboarding.

Eventually it took the route of all video games, and jumped the shark in a way, (Literally in TH:AW)
I mean, at the end of a day, its a video game, people didn't want to play it and be brutalized by it. Nobody wants to play a game that emulates skateboarding so closely, that they could spend 20 minutes on one ramp, trying again and again to land a simple enough 540. In the games its a piece of cake, in reality, it takes a lot of time and effort to be able to do one of those as flawlessly as the games make it.

Oh, and if anything, the manual is one of the closest elements to real skating in that game.
The jumps are greatly exaggerated, nobody gets that much air off a quarter pipe from standstill.
The grinds don't obey the laws of physics as well as they should (ever heard of friction?)
The stall/plant lengths are very OTT (Even hawk himself can only pull off a Gymnast Plant for a short period of time, not like these superhero-esque skaters in the game, perfectly capable of sustaining themselves vertically, supported by just one hand for great periods of time)
But with time, the manual included more and more tricks, from pivots to caspers, to truckstands and primo, even handstands! (And for those of you who claim it isn't realistic, go check out Rodney Mullen doing flatland, it'll make your head spin!)

Still, the overall theme to those games were to be a bridge between skaters and non-skaters, using video game mentality to poke fun at the new rules being pushed on skateboarding.
Point is, its a video game enjoy it.

And yes, Skate was a good game too, more realistic and fluid to match the feeling of skating for real, but it too went and jumped the shark (Again, literally in Skate 3) with the Hall of Meat challenges and all that jazz.

Still, we should all be thankful for the entertainment they've brought us, i mean i started skating because of THPS2, and it really made my teenage years a lot better, its brought a lot of good things into my life.
So thankyou Birdman
 
# 15 Storm12 @ 11/08/12 08:38 PM
The thing that ruined the tony hawk games was trying to add a story, this started when THUG came out, then it just got worse. And while skate is a more realistic skating experience, the tony hawk games were never ever about realism... They were about doing things on a board that were not possible at all and racking up huge scores! I have a feeling that sometimes sports gamers(Myself included) expect too much realism from a game, sometimes you just have to get over the weird stuff and enjoy it.
 

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