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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 beginner’s guide

Be all that you can

A skater gets ready to explore a gym Image: Vicarious Visions/Activision

If it’s been years since you last played a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game, then you might feel a little rusty when you pick up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2. Some of your old muscle memory may be intact — these updated versions retain a lot of the original’s feel, while adding a few touches to modernize the title — but you may also find yourself falling on your face more than you’d like.

In this Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 beginner’s guide, we’ll help you get reacquainted with the game quickly, show you what skills are worth implementing to beat essential score challenges, and explain what goals are worth completing to tear through the game easily.

Do the tutorial

For a game all about excitement, this is the least thrilling but most important bit of advice to a start off with. If it’s been ages since you last played a Pro Skater game, it’ll take some time to get back into the swing of things. For those who have never played a Pro Skater game, the tutorial is essential introduction to how these games approach locomotion.

Tony Hawk introducing the tutorial mode in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2
Time to learn with Tony Hawk!
Image: Vicarious Visions/Activision via Polygon

When you first start the game, leave your hubris behind and hop into the training session. This version of the game pays respects to the original titles by playing nearly the same with its fast and wild controls intact, and diving back into to the trippy speed of the Pro Skater franchise might be a rude awakening.

The tutorial covers all the essentials from basic movement to performing tricks. It even covers some additional moves — like manuals and reverts — that were staples of different games in the franchise but have been added to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2.

Check out the game mods

Game mods are optional features that allow you to tweak your skater’s performance and ease up on the difficultly.

The assist features in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2
If you need some assistance, turn these on
Image: Vicarious Visions/Activision via Polygon

The game mods let you adjust several assistance modes to make difficult actions easier to perform. By diving into your options menu, you can turn on the following mods:

  • Perfect rail balance lets you grind without having to constantly adjust left and right.
  • Perfect manual balance lets you stand on your front and back wheels without having to adjust up and down.
  • Perfect lip balance allows you to hold lip tricks without having to adjust up and down.
  • Always special gives you the option to perform special moves whenever, without having to build up the meter.
  • No bails allows you to do tricks without the fear of falling.

Purists may not find a lot of use in these mods, and you’ll need to turn off these assistance modes must to complete certain challenges, but for folks who want a more casual experience or for players with limited motor function, having these mods available right from the start can be a blessing.

Don’t forget manuals and reverts

If you want to get high scores in the Pro Skater series, you need to string together a handful of tricks into a single combo. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 adds two systems from other titles in the series to help you do that.


Manuals are a trick you perform to extend the combo as you land from a flip or grab trick. By pressing a button combination such as up then down or down then up on you D-pad right before landing, you’ll land on the either the front or back wheels of your board. While in a manual, you’ll continue moving forward with momentum, but you’ll need to constantly adjust your balance on your controller.

Use manuals to string together long combos across large stretches of skate parks. For instance, you can jump and do a flip trick onto a rail to grind — and then jump off, do a grab, and land in a manual. As you move forward and keep your balance, you can do another jump and a flip trick. Those last two moves will be added to your combo along with your manual, giving you a nice, long combo.


Reverts are a way to continue combos as you land from a ramp. In older Pro Skater games, once you landed a big air combo from launching off a ramp, your combo would end. However, by pressing the revert button just as you land from a ramp, you can extend your combo by performing a manual, and then doing more tricks.

Typically, the best way to rack up a big combo from a ramp was to pack in as many flip tricks, grabs, and spins into one trick. With reverts, you can keep the combo going in ways you couldn’t in the original Pro Skater 1 and 2.

Switching grinds and manuals

Grinds and manuals are great tricks to extend combos, and the longer you hold them, the more points you get. You can also extend their usefulness by switching up the trick while performing it, which adds another trick to your combo length.

While holding a grind or manual, if you double tap on the flip trick, grab, or grind button, your skater will switch over to another move while still performing the same class of move.

For instance, if you’re grinding a rail and double tap the grind button, your skater will flip the board and perform a different type of grind. You can even perform some wild gymnastic moves if you use the same technique while doing manuals.

Focus on easy challenges

If you want to unlock as many skate parks as fast as possible, then you’ll need to complete several park goals. Each skate park in the game has several tasks to accomplish. You need to complete a certain amount to unlock each stage, in order, across Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2.

If you’re eager to tear through all your favorite parks from the past, then you’ll want to move through each of these parks as fast as you can. While each park has several unique challenges, each also has a handful of goals that are similar and easy enough to beat during your first few runs.

A park goals screen in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2
Knocking out the first five is always easiest
Image: Vicarious Visions/Activision via Polygon

Each stage in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 will have several challenges, some of which are similar, and others which are unique. If you want to move through the game as fast as you can, focus on completing the following first:

  • The High, Pro, and Sick score challenges are easy enough for veterans of the franchise. If you’re having trouble racking up a high score, you can turn on all the mods to make sure you never mess up your tricks.
  • High combo is another challenge that relies on scoring big to complete. Mods can also be on for this goal.
  • Collect S-K-A-T-E is a common challenge in the franchise that requires you to collect five floating letters across each park. These collectibles are always in order and follow a linear path through the stage. If you follow the most logical course through each park, you’ll easily come across them.
  • Gap challenges are easy because they only require you to perform a certain trick at a specified location. Each stage’s intro video shows you where the gap is located and also tells you which trick to perform. If you don’t know how to do the move in required, just pause the game and head to the Options > Skater > Tick Mappings menu, where you can find the appropriate button combination for that trick. Once you know what to do and where, go find the spot, perform the trick across the gap, and you’re done.

The other collection challenges, like finding secret tapes, will likely take a few runs and a lot of trial and error. Completing the challenges above should be enough to get you through most of each game’s list of requirements.

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