Our combos and landing skills have improved since then, but the video remains a valid example of early-game THPS. It takes time and rhythm to play smoothly, to feel the weight of the skater falling back into the half pipe, to know which angle is too steep, too twisted, too much, not enough. If it were easy to land every move, this wouldn’t be much of a game.
I promise you this: While you’re still finding your bearings in THPS, cruising around Venice Beach and practicing basic combos, there will come a moment that you bail four, five, six times in a row. You’ll learn to hate the sound of the deck crashing against the concrete and the record scratch will feel like a personal insult. But you’ll get back up and you’ll keep skating. Eventually, you’ll find your rhythm. You’ll land your perfect run.
And then you can destroy your loved ones in local multiplayer.
I’m immediately 30 percent more interested in any game that supports local multiplayer, and that jumps to 50 percent when it’s a remake of an old favorite. THPS has local and online multiplayer, and they both support Free Skate, Score Challenge, Combo Challenge, Trick Attack, Combo Mambo and Graffiti. Two game modes are only available locally, HORSE and Tag.
When I think of THPS, I’m transported to the floor of my childhood living room, neck craned upward and N64 controller in-hand, playing a game of HORSE (or whatever foul phrase my brother has chosen that round). The remaster blasts this memory into full-color. Its maps are gorgeous, its sound effects are crisp, the music is right, and the animations are buttery smooth, once you get the hang of things.
In the new THPS, HORSE is still great for a few rounds of silly fun — especially if there’s a real-life consequence for the loser — but the flow is interrupted by one too many button presses between turns. On PlayStation 4, the player that just performed a trick has to press X to move on, and immediately after, the next skater has to press X to begin their turn. It’s a small thing, but it leads to more instances of, “Oh, you have to press X first,” than the original game ever did.
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