Over recent years Tony Hawk games have bailed in a spurt of pixellated blood. But once upon a time, their tricks, grinds and combos were as universal as FIFA or CoD today. Almost everyone could collect the letters S, K, A, T and E in Warehouse, and those who couldn't had seen their mates do it enough times to have it permanently scorched in their memory.
Pro Skater HD is Activision trying to get this groove back: a glossy highlights reel of the first two games that's aimed squarely at reuniting former players with their boards. It's been rebuilt by Robomodo direct from the Neversoft source code, and there's a lot riding on its success. Can it truly save a franchise?
For a returning player it's certainly refreshing to play, but it also makes you feel a little old when you notice that the Secret VHS tape hidden on each level has been upgraded to a Secret DVD. New players meanwhile might find it a little alien making your own fun and learning the hard way. In these days of CoD Elite and Autlolog there's a level of connectivity that's missing, while old hands will likely mourn the absence of split-screen play.
As a game however, and pretty much as a genre all to itself, Tony Hawk is forever young. As you grind, jump, twirl, string together combos and break yourself on the scenery you genuinely wonder how Activision contrived to lose gameplay so pure, precise and compelling under needless features and nonsense peripherals.