Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD Xbox Live
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Returning to the controller focused gameplay of the first two games in the series, you'll have to go old-school and rely on tricks, grinds and manuals to pull off the coolest and most technical skating combos. There's classic targets to meet, like high-scoring runs and finding hidden DVDs, and a host of skaters like Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen and Riley Hawk. The great skate music returns too!
All this and more has been lovingly updated for today's HD consoles, combining the best of modern gaming with classic gameplay!
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The once-great skateboarding franchise goes back to basics in this Xbox LIVE remastering of classic Hawk titles for the Xbox 360.
Speaking diplomatically, the last two instalments of the Tony Hawk series have been, let's say, interesting experiments. The skateboard peripheral-powered Tony Hawk: Ride and Shred were met with blinding indifference at best - and with some rather sharp, pointy words from critics at worst. It's probably not an exaggeration then to say that when Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD was announced, many Hawk fans will have let out, like, a totally rad whoop of relief, dude.
Out go controversial peripherals and in skates the humble joypad; the controls now back in your hands, rather than under your feet. And to help remind you why effortless controls are so important to the Tony Hawk's experience, you get a 'greatest hits' compilation of seven levels plucked from the franchise's first two Pro games to ride in. While the polygon count is up and fresh graphical flourishes have been added, the aim remains the same; trick, grind and rack up combos to progress through the game.
Those who know the series will feel right at home while appreciating a host of new features; a map that shows all the locations of secret items, ruddy hard 'Projectives' to tackle once you've completed the campaign, and new multiplayer options and game modes including the fabulous silly Big Head Elimination that sees you fighting to deflate your ever-expanding noggin. All in all, you can see why Xbox LIVE chose it to open their Summer of Arcade promotion - it just screams "misspent youth". In the coolest possible way.
With further DLC on the way, perhaps us dedicated fans should view Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD as a 'sorry' from Activision for straying a little too far from the skate park with Ride and Shred. If that is the case Activision, then consider your apology accepted.
Olympic fever has gripped the planet, and we're only just over halfway through a year that has already been defined by amazing sporting action. From regular favourites like Wimbledon and the UEFA European Championship, to the glitz of the Olympics and surprise wins in the Tour De France, sport has never hogged so many UK headlines. As always, where there's an audience, there are video games looking to capitalise on the popularity - and a famous face certainly helps to catch our attention (although Mario and Sonic don't really count...). Here's our look back over the history of sporting heroes in games.
You can almost go back to the dawn of gaming and find examples of famous athletes promoting games. Daley Thompson's Decathlon was one of the enduring classics of the 8-bit home computer era, a keyboard-bashing run through ten track and field events overseen by the ghostly white pixellated face of digital Daley.
It was inevitable that a footy-loving nation such as ours would attract a flood of cheesy football endorsements as well, with everyone from squeaky scouser Emlyn Hughes to telly pundits Saint and Greavsie, to top flight players like Gazza and Beckham, putting their name to digitised kickabouts. We even had the bizarre sight of a Peter Shilton goalkeeping game, cheekily renamed Handball Maradona after the infamous "hand of god" incident at the 1986 World Cup. And while there's no name on the box, there's no ignoring the key players endorsing both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer even today.
Ever-obsessed with sports and strategy, it didn't take long for American software companies to follow suit. John Madden had already retired as both player and coach when his name first adorned the Madden NFL American Football simulation in 1988, but it kicked off a series which endures to this day and is widely considered to be the benchmark of gridiron gaming. Madden was part of the EA Sports stable, a label that knows the value of the right endorsement. In 1999 the company's popular PGA golf series became Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and the fairway superman has been the face of golf games ever since. Indeed, the close tie between game and name may soon become a problem, as the digital Tiger performs better than his struggling real-life counterpart. Will the series revert to plain old PGA Tour when Tiger's star fades, or will EA find a new golfing hero to carry the torch?
That's the gamble when signing a player at the peak of their game. Sometimes, a games company will sign an up and coming athlete in the hopes of backing a long term winner. That worked for Nintendo, when it paid a young Mike Tyson $50,000 to use his likeness in the NES Punch Out boxing game. Within months, Tyson was on his way to being the world heavyweight champ, and the retitled Mike Tyson's Punch Out benefited from his success in the USA.
In the UK, meanwhile, Punch Out was ported to home computers with our very own Frank Bruno as the main character. Punch Out returned to Wii minus its star, while Tyson makes a surprise return to games this year in WWE '13, re-living the brief sting he spent using his name to boost the wrestling company's ratings.
Often, a sport will bubble up to the top of the popular consciousness thanks to the eye-catching feats of a particular sports-person. In the late 1990s, it was Codemasters that perked up long-running, but fairly obscure rugby and cricket sims, by shrewdly putting hot new stars like Jonah Lomu and Brian Lara above the title. Likewise, it was only when legendary racer Colin McRae put his name to the publisher's rally games that they became the owners of a blockbuster franchise, and while the DiRT series has continued to thrive without him, it was his name that got the customers through the proverbial door to begin with. Such moves weren't restricted to cult UK sports either. In 1999, Japanese firm Namco quickly rebranded the latest entry in its fledgling tennis series as Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis in order to attract European gamers.
It's perhaps notable that the area where celebrity endorsement paid off most spectacularly was in the rise of extreme sports, where off-beat personalities are more openly celebrated and the players are more likely to be gamers. Tony Hawk pioneered this with his skateboarding games, lending not just his credibility but also his insight and expertise to ensure maximum authenticity. Snowboarder Shaun White and BMX rider Dave Mirra quickly followed Hawk's example. Hawk's back this year, too, in an HD re-jigging of some of his classic titles for Xbox LIVE; he's gone from extreme rebel to a traditional figure, but we still love him!
Whenever sport becomes national obsession, you can bet an enterprising games developer will seize the opportunity. Gold medal-winning swimming star Michael Phelps has got a head start on his Olympic peers this year, with his Push The Limit game for Kinect already on shelves. Will we see Bradley Wiggins grace the cover of next year's Tour De France game? Will Jess Ennis and Mo Farah be running alongside us in the next Kinect Sports? Whoever is next on the podium, it's a good bet that gamers will be the winners.
Editor's Choice - Tony Hawk's Pro Ska… (19/07/2012)
The once-great skateboarding franchise goes back to basics in this Xbox LIVE remastering of classic Hawk titles for the Xbox 360. t's probably not an exaggeration then to say that when Tony Hawk Pro S…
From the Olympics to the Tour de France, sport has never hogged so many UK headlines. As always, where there's an audience, there are video games looking to capitalise on the popularity - and a famous…
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