It plays just like you remember; that secret spot where you pushed your score (and your board) skyward is there, waiting for you to discover it all over again. What's new this time around? The majority of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD isn't new – let me just lay that out there right now. The seven levels are as you remember them, and the career mode hasn't changed the challenges presented within each locale. You get high scores, you hunt down objects and all; however, there is a new single-player mode called Hawkman that brings new life to these old skating grounds.
Hawkman in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is an inventive little spin on Pac-Man. Within each level, lines of pellets are littered around. You collect pellets by doing the appropriate trick through each one, the goal being to clear the entire level as quickly as possible. Yellow pellets require grinds, red pellets are air tricks and greens need manuals.
Outside of Hawkman, the other new addition in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is the online component. Up to four players can skate it out in any of the seven maps across a variety of modes: Free Skate, Graffiti, Big Head and Trick Attack. Graffiti and Trick Attack are classic franchise multiplayer modes where you win by either "owning" more objects than the other players (see: do sick tricks on 'em) or by having the sickest total score in the allotted time.
Oh and, what with the "HD" and all, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD looks great.
How's it hold up? While I'd contend that EA's Skate series is clearly a better simulation of the sport, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD still holds up as an arcade classic, and it remains as digestible and punishing as the original games from which it derives its material. You've still got two minutes to hit that pro score, to find that hidden DVD (yes, the tapes are now DVDs). You've got two minutes to clean up the laundry list of goals, and you'll restart your run plenty of times in frustration but, if you're like me, you'll keep playing anyway.
There's something to be said about the novelty of being able to skate through a level with friends online now – even though local multiplayer has (oddly) been removed. I would've liked some more maps to play through – getting through the campaign was a breezy trial of only a few hours – but overall Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is an excellent reminder of a bygone era to those who were around to live through it, and a near-flawless remake that a brand new audience should be all too happy to discover.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD doesn't offer much in the way of new content, but its rebirth is as joyous to witness as the series' creation. Consider it a welcome download in your digital library.
This Deja Review is based on a Xbox 360 download of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, provided by Microsoft.