Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2: Essential tips and tricks for starting out

Now that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is out, many players are reliving their childhood or playing the series for the first time. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is tough to master, and its controls can take some getting used to. Lots of beginner players tend to struggle, particularly when attempting to earn high scores and complete challenges. To help you out, we’ve put together a handy list of essential tips and tricks that are sure to make your life easier while learning the ropes.

So whether you’re returning to the series and simply need a refresher, or if this is your first time playing, this guide will likely help you out. Here are 10 essential tips and tricks for starting out in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. 

Recommended reading:

The in-game tutorial is helpful, so complete it before you do anything else

Oftentimes, in-game tutorials can be pretty patronizing. “Try not to die!” or “Running is faster than walking!” But the tutorial in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 s not only helpful, but it’s pretty much essential if you aren’t a long-time veteran of the series. It goes into everything, from controlling your skater, to performing simple tricks like manuals, and it even gets into the complexities of chaining together combos.

Plus, it’s narrated by Tony Hawk himself, and he’s a gem, so you should not skip out on going through the tutorial. You can find it under the Extras sub-menu, so go there and then click on Tutorial to get started.

Here’s how combos work

Combos are the bread and butter of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, and you’ll want to know exactly how they work to maximize your score. Sure, you can get through by simply doing tricks and hoping for the best, but players who know the ins and outs of the combo system tend to perform better. The two main things you want to keep track of are the number of tricks you perform within a combo, and each individual trick, itself.

Each trick has its own score, and certain ones will increase depending on how you perform them. For example, the longer you grind on a rail, the more points you’ll get. Your score is determined by the points for a trick itself, multiplied by the number of tricks within the combo. On screen, you’ll see a formula pop up while you perform tricks, denoted by a number multiplied by another number. The number on the left represents the score for the trick you’re doing, and the number on the right is the number of tricks within that combo. As you perform more tricks, each of those numbers will increase, so you’ll want to do everything you can to continue your combo, which will maximize your score. You’ll also notice the number on the left doesn’t reset with each trick — instead, it keeps going up as you do more tricks.

The one thing to keep in mind is that if you keep performing the same trick, it will decrease in value. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you vary the kinds of tricks you perform within a combo. It’s the game’s way of trying to incentivize you to do as many different tricks as possible. Though, we often recommend playing it safe in this regard.

For example, certain high-value tricks require a lot of air to perform successfully, so if you’re close to the ground, you might opt to do a safer, low-value trick to prevent from bailing. It might not be worth as much, but it’ll keep your combo going, which in the end, is way more valuable than nailing one impressive trick. Once you get the hang of stringing combos together, you’ll get more confident with your abilities, and that’s when you can start experimenting with harder, more valuable tricks.

Use manuals and reverts to keep your combo going

Chaining together combos isn’t easy, particularly if there isn’t a surface to use to keep performing tricks. That’s where manuals and reverts come into play. A manual, which is performed by quickly pressing up and down on the left stick (or D-pad), will make your character balance on either the front or back two wheels of the board. This counts as a trick and can be done on the ground without a piece of geometry like a rail or something.

What you want to do is perform tricks on a surface, and when you land on the ground, immediately go into a manual to keep your combo going. You can manual all the way to another surface, but be careful to not fall off your board. Some players like to jump and then land back into a manual to add a trick to their combo and increase their score.

Reverts are similar in that they can be used to continue your combo. If you’re doing tricks on a half-pipe, you can revert by pressing R2 on PS4 or RT on Xbox One, as soon as you land. This will make your skater reorient the board, and it counts as a trick. If you don’t revert at the bottom of a half-pipe, it will end your combo, so make sure you do something to continue your streak.

Find a way to do ‘laps’ within a level

This tip is a little more complex, but it will prove to be useful for players who aren’t as confident in stringing together combos on the fly. The more advanced players can literally do million-point combos in nearly any scenario, regardless of the number of surfaces around them. That’s tough, so what we recommend when starting out is to find a few pieces of geometry you can use to perform “laps.” What we mean is that you should keep returning to the same surfaces over and over to keep the combo going.

In the video above, you can see how we use the “lap” technique to take the same route over and over. It’s a safe way to ensure your combo gets high, without worrying about variables that may or may not mess you up. What works best is if you can find a way to wall plant and grind, while throwing in tricks in between. You can see that we play it extremely safe, but since we’re taking the same route, we can grow familiar with it and learn to master it.

There are many routes you can take like this on nearly every stage, so try and find one that works for you. The more advanced players don’t need routes, but when you’re learning the ropes, a bit of familiarity can go a long way.

Locate all the Stat Points to fully upgrade your skater

This is more of a basic piece of advice, but it’s one that should not be overlooked. The way you level up your skater is by finding Stat Points, which are like collectibles on each level within the Skate Tours. They’re represented by large floating orbs that feature the game’s logo. The number of Stat Points per level varies, as do their locations depending on the skater you’re using. You’ll absolutely want to look up a guide to find all of them for each skater.

To apply your Stat Points, head to the Skater tab from the main menu or pause menu and then press R2 on PS4 or RT on Xbox One to tab over to the Stats section. Here, you’ll find lots of stats, like hangtime, manual balance, and speed. All of them are useful, but depending on what you struggle with the most, and your play style, you’ll want to allocate points in certain categories over others first. For example, we tend to grind and perform manuals often, so we opted to prioritize the stats that increase balance.

You can also “re-spec” your skater, which basically means you can remove points from stats to put them into others. This is good for one-off levels that feature a collectible that requires a certain stat you don’t normally rely on. Play it by ear and make it a priority to grab as many Stat Points as you can.

Use the giant skater mod for those hard-to-reach collectibles

Sometimes, certain collectibles are incredibly hard to reach, even with a maxed-out skater. To circumvent this, you can use the Giant Skater mod to, well, make your skater huge. To unlock this mod, you’ll need to complete all of the tours in THPS 1. You don’t need to earn 100% or gold medals to earn this mod, but you do need to at least earn a bronze medal on the competitions and see each level through.

Once you’ve unlocked it, the game will notify you, so head into the pause menu and then go to Game Options. From here, go to Game Mods, and you’ll find Skater Size at the bottom. Now, you can make those hard jumps with ease!

Filling up your Special meter makes you go faster

You might be wondering about the Special meter in the top left of your screen. Its main function is to allow you to perform certain tricks that you can’t execute otherwise. This is common knowledge and is explained in the tutorial. What you might not know is that a full Special meter also gives you a speed boost. Certain locations cannot be reached unless you’ve got enough speed, and that’s where the Special meter comes in.

Make sure you fill it up before trying to grab certain collectibles that require you to hit a ramp at a high speed. The easiest way to fill it up is to grind and perform a few jumps in between. Expert players can fill up the Special meter without grinding, but the new players will likely struggle with static tricks, so be on the lookout for rails or other surfaces.

Remember, you can also take a look at your skater’s Special tricks from within the Tricks menu under Skater. You can customize which Special tricks your skater has, so be sure to take a look at which ones you’ve got and adjust accordingly. You’ll be able to unlock more Special trick slots as you complete challenges.

You can remove any song(s) from the playlist

One of the defining parts of the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is its soundtrack, featuring punk and ska hits from the 90s and prior. Its original soundtrack has garnered a reputation, but Activision and Vicarious Visions decided to spice things up in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 by adding newer songs to the mix, as well as most of the old tunes. If these new songs aren’t your thing, you should consider altering the playlist to get rid of the tracks you don’t like.

To do so, head to Game Options from the pause menu, then click on Sound Options. Here, you’ll see the Playlist option, with a diagonal arrow next to it. Click this, and you’ll find the full list of songs, each with a checkmark next to them by default. Simply uncheck the songs you don’t want and you’ll be good to go with your new playlist. Now you can have Superman by Goldfinger on an infinite loop for ultimate nostalgia.

Don’t get greedy

It’s really easy to want to keep your combo going for a while, because that’s how you get those high scores. However, sometimes it’s best to cut your combo early so you don’t risk bailing and missing out on the score you’ve accumulated throughout the combo thus far. Certain tricks that feature a balance meter, like manuals or grinds, are really easy to mess up, so if you feel like things are getting out of hand, end the combo and save the score you’ve earned.

We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve bailed on a 200,000+ combo because we wanted to get in “one more trick.” Once you learn the levels and where each surface is located, you’ll get comfortable with your skill level and you’ll know when to stop. Certain players can literally keep their combo going forever, extending past the regular time limit and going into Overtime. But in most cases, you’ll want to do your tricks safely, and get out.

Know how to do specific tricks

The key to maximizing your score after you’ve learned how combos work is to be aware of which button combinations do what. Every skater has different moves, and certain tricks are worth more than others. To verify, jump into the Skater menu and tab over to Tricks by pressing R2 on PS4 or RT on Xbox One. Here, you’ll see all of that particular skater’s tricks and their respective button combinations. You can also see how much each Special trick is worth, and you’ll want to keep track of this when you’re skating.

Being aware of the high-point-value tricks can make or break you when attempting to overcome an objective on a certain level. Why perform a 5-0 Overturn for 500 points, when you can execute the Misty Flip for 5,000? Here, you can also customize the tricks in your arsenal to match your playstyle. Take a look at all of the trick mappings and memorize them. Once you get familiar with your skater’s trick list, you’ll be chaining them together in no time!

Editors' Recommendations