The journey back to good skate games in 2020 has been quite a trip, and now not only is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 here, but it delivers in so many ways. The trip down memory lane, rediscovering our muscle memory for big scores along the way, has been a glorious romp. But having finished the journey, we certainly did realize that the rose-colored glasses have come off on some of these levels. Don’t get us wrong, THPS 1+2’s level list is full of goods, but as Primus’s greatest hits album tells us, “They Can’t All Be Zingers.”
With that in mind, we went back through Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and ranked every single level in the game. From the absolute stinkers to the hallowed grounds, these are the best (and worst) levels of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 best (and worst) levels
19. Chopper Drop - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
It’s a good thing Chopper Drop is a bonus level and nothing more in Tony Hawk. It’s got about five seconds of spectacle to it before the novelty wears off and you realize the entire level is just one big half pipe and a jump gap to a finish line. The start is okay, and the concept is uniquely bizarre for a Tony Hawk level, being a drop out of a helicopter onto a skate spot arranged on the ocean. There’s just absolutely no variety or fun to the location outside of its concept.
18. Downhill Jam - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Downhill Jam is chaos and one of the most annoying levels to try to make work for whatever you’re trying to accomplish. A mess of disjointed pipes, gaps, high and low areas, and grind bars, it feels like Downhill Jam is missing any sense of cohesion. It’s made worse by the fact that it’s one of the levels that is just a straight line downward towards a finish line rather than an actual park. Although you can either awkwardly skate up the hill or circle back when the finish line spawns you back at start, it still feels like too much of a hassle in this particular case to deal with the mess when there are other far more fun and coherent locations.
17. Roswell - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Like Chopper Drop, Roswell is little more than an interesting concept. The secret military base with aliens is novel, but it’s all packed into the most cramped space possible and the novelty wears off quickly when you realize how little there is to actually see. That said, it gets points over Chopper Drop for being an actual park, despite its suffocating space, meaning there’s more opportunity for trick strings and variety, but it’s just kind of a shame this concept doesn’t stretch its legs and explore the space more like some of the other, better levels do.
16. Downtown - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
The first of THPS’s street-style levels and ultimately the worst of the bunch is easily Downtown, and here’s why. Yes, it has big trick string opportunities, and yes it has spots that will appeal to all styles of skater, but nearly every major opportunity in this level is about 15 to 45 seconds away from where you start the level, and that sucks in a game where you get twoi minutes to skate around. Yeah, you can do stuff on the way there, but getting to the rooftops of Downtown where the level puts much of its focus takes way too long. Going to work immediately on your way to the park is less of a problem, but it’s far off course from where the major gap opportunities and bonuses of this level lay.
15. Skate Park - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Much like Downtown, Skate Park is THPS’s first competition-style level, but at least Roswell keeps it from being the worst. It’s not that Skate Park is particularly bad. It just is what it is… which makes it pretty boring compared to other levels. There’s plenty of areas to do what you want to do, and it even has some cool grind opportunities that will be highlighted for their use in a later level further down this list, but you likely won’t have the stat points to enjoy them to their fullest by the time you play Skate Park, and when you do have the stats, you’ll also likely have far more interesting levels unlocked to play.
14. Burnside - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Burnside is where Tony Hawk Pro Skater’s competition-style levels start to step up their game. The step up from Roswell is that it’s not so limited that it feels stifling, and the step up from Skate Park is that the opportunities you can make of it feel available from the point at which you unlock it for play. The under-the-bridge style of it is decent as well, making it a worthwhile follow-up to Skate Park’s almost sterile design park design. Burnside is still not quite as interesting or open to opportunity as other levels later on, but at least it’s a move in the right direction from other levels earlier in this list.
13. Philadelphia - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Philadelphia is maybe the most esoteric and needy of all Tony Hawk levels when it comes to what you need to do to really access all of it. For one, you have to grind all the way up a line from one end of the level to the other to break the pumps that drain the fountain, and for two, you have to know to grind all the way through another line to the light poles near the start to knock down the fences and unlock the vert area under the highway. At the very least, it’s got variety going for it, and once you know all that (thank goodness the fountain stays drained), it becomes a bit more fun of a level, but dang if it doesn’t require just stupid amounts of work to be really enjoyable.
12. Skatestreet - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Skatestreet is Skate Park, but bigger and more fleshed out. It’s still a pretty sterile competition-style skate park level, which sucks the visual creativity out of it, but for the purist, it has a lot to offer. It really kind of makes sense that Skatestreet is the level THPS 1+2 uses for the tutorial because it has everything you could need to learn about or practice in this game. Moreover, by the time you get to it in the unlock line-up, you should have plenty of practice and stat points to make this level sing and it’s all pretty immediately accessible at that. As far as pure skater’s level design goes, this is about as pure as it gets.
11. Marseille - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Of all the competition-style skate park levels in THPS 1+2’s collection, Marseille is the first to get creative (sorry, Skate Park, Burnside, and Skate Street) while remaining functional (not so sorry, Roswell). It’s a pretty gorgeous level full of pool-style vert and grinds, ramps, and other good and immediate opportunities right out of the first seconds of skating. Put that alongside the open-air and refreshing vibe of sunset and Marseille just feels like a chill place to bust out a massive trick string from jump street.
10. School - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Now we start getting into the really interesting levels of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and School is a great place to start. The area is fun, functional, and kicks off with an excellent opportunity for a trick string right off the bat with a ramp leading right into a long grind that takes skaters down to where plenty more action awaits. The original School from Tony Hawk 1 holds up as a great stage to learn about what you can do in the game and build up your skills with easily accessible options for whatever skate style you play. Plus, it’s got a lot of fun areas to explore that aren’t a hassle to get to.
9. Mall - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Mall originally was not very good, and here’s why. Arranged more like a race in the original game, when you got to the end of the area, you were just done. Whatever time was left was taken away and you end with whatever you had when crossing the line. Here’s why Mall hasn’t sucked since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x and is particularly good in THPS 1+2: When you get to the finish line it just loops you back to the beginning, which means multiple runs of the supermassive gap drop down to the duel grind bars are possible, and that’s just delightful. Yes, Downhill Jam has the teleport too, but Mall has fun and cohesive areas throughout its length that make that loop feel like less of a grind and more worth your time and effort.
8. Streets - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1’s Streets do something very important that Downtown and Philadelphia do not: It doesn’t make you do annoying amounts of work to get to the good parts of the level. The kick-off is a great opportunity for vert, spins, manuals, and grinds down to where the level really gets kicking. When you get to the fountain where a ton of bonuses are possible, it doesn’t feel like you had to waste your time on notably lesser opportunities or got taken in a non-beneficial direction by them. That alone makes it better than previously listed street-style levels, but it’s also just a fun and functional location full of interesting variety as well.
7. Venice Beach - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
With the exception of a handful of other levels, Venice Beach is one of the most visually fun levels in the entire THPS 1+2 lineup. The level is just filled to the brim with a dingy design covered in graffiti, transfer vert ramps galore, and trick string opportunities aplenty. From where it starts, you have a lot of choice as to how you want to go about accomplishing your goals and it takes very little time or effort to get started. It’s a touch disjointed in how it’s segmented into various focus areas and I wish we didn’t have to harass the homeless for one of its goals, but for the little bit Venice Beach misses in function or taste, it more than makes up in aesthetic and variety.
6. School 2 - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Boy howdy, what do you want to do from the start of this level? Wall ride that first bell up to the roof and run a trick string between the rooftop gaps? Grind down the roll call rail and get started on manuals and reverts leading over to the gym or back alley? Turn behind you and get started with a spin and revert on the quarter pipe? Going back to school in THPS 2’s version of the level is a delight right out of the gate that gives you meaningful freedom. Don’t get me wrong, School 1 is good, but it also kind of points you in a very obvious direction. School 2 has as much, if not more variety as the THPS 1’s version and gives you the benefit of choice as to how you’ll handle your educational endeavors.
5. Warehouse - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Warehouse is a very good introduction to everything THPS 1 (specifically THPS 1) had to offer. There are immediate wallride, grind, vert, manual, and lip opportunities that extend throughout the entire level, making it one of the most perfect spots to learn the game and build up your skills. It’s also just full of iconic feels and vibes as where many of us started our journey in this franchise. Even when rose-colored glasses come off, it’s still a functional level (albeit not as functional or aesthetically pleasing as a certain other Level One). Going over the half-pipe and breaking through the glass to get the secret tape gives me goosebumps now just as it did over 20 years ago, and it’s made even better by the fact that decades later, picking my muscle memory and making this level sing feels like meeting up with a good old friend.
4. NY City - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
NY City is not only the most accessible but also the most aesthetically fun of all the street-style levels in THPS 1+2. You want to vert it up? Go to the park to your left. You want to grind it up? (You do) Go just ahead and up the escalator and hit one of the most fun long grind opportunities throughout the entire game on the subway rails and take it down to the area beneath the highway where plenty more opportunities await. The Streets level is good, but NY City’s subway grind alone makes it altogether better and the sheer variety to match your skate style is all the more fun.
3. Skate Heaven - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Thank the heavens Skate Heaven still exists because Chopper Drop would be a terrible way to end your unlock run of THPS 1+2 levels. Where Chopper Drop is the most limited level in the game, Skate Heaven is both aesthetically fun and functional, featuring all sorts of nods to your journey throughout the game, as well as some nods to real-world inspired famous skate spots and a fun unlock tied to the visually expanded volcano. Whether you want to unravel what Skate Heaven has left for you to discover or just score up a storm, it’s as great of a place to end the game as it ever was, complete with a huge injection of Vicarious Vision flair to add to the overall experience of God telling you that you suck every time you eat it.
2. Hangar - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Where Warehouse is a good introduction to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Hangar is the perfect introduction. This level has everything a budding virtual skater could need to learn the game: Immediate grind, vert, and manual opportunities… Unlocks literally front to back… Transfers and gaps wherever you go… Hangar gives you it all and engages you from the first seconds to the last ones. Opening the wind tunnel by grinding the wall propeller, shattering the glass into the second area via grind or vert transfer, and getting the helicopter to take off are just delights upon delights. If you ever wanted a level that will treat you to all the things that are good about the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise, this is the one in THPS 1+2.
1. Bullring - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
If Hangar is the perfect introduction to THPS, then Bullring is a perfect final challenge (Skate Heaven doesn’t have much for goals outside of what you make on your own). This level is easily one of the most creative of the bunch and takes full advantage of all the stats, unlocks, and learning you’ve probably done on your way to this level. The trick string opportunities right out of the gate in Bull Ring are immense. When you hit the starting vert, grind the overhead light wires (popping each light you cross) to the outer ring, drop down to the vert below, and ride your string back into the ring, few things feel more as delightful or more satisfying. Everything about this level from its visual design (Ole!) to the functionality is just begging you to both explore it and show Tony Hawk what you’ve learned along the way.
And that covers it: every single Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 level in proper rank. No ifs, ands, or buts. Just kidding. We welcome your opinion. What’s your favorite (or least favorite) THPS 1+2 level? What did we get right or wrong? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty comment section below! And don’t forget to check out our full review of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 as well!
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 best (and worst) levels
fuck that downhill reservoir level in THPS 1
Good list! That couldn’t have been easy to rank every level but you made very fair points throughout.