You know what's amazing about Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? The levels, the bails, the 2:00 minute timer, collecting SKATE, getting the Secret Tape, finding hidden areas, and getting Sick High Scores.
Over the years I'd beaten the Pro Skater games several times, until Underground took over and ruined the charm of the original series by adding jackass elements to the game.
Although the Skate franchise dominated Pro Skater, I never really got adjusted to Skate and moved on to other games.
I however have yet to let got of Pro Skater and wanted to see what the community created based off the franchise to keep me from spending more money on the mediocre HD remake.
I decided to search deep within the internet for Pro Skater game hacks to see if I could find brand new games based on Pro Skater, which is when I came upon a large 100's something MB ZIP file shown as Tony Hawk's Skate or Die.
I wasn't able to capture any gameplay footage of the hacked gameplay at the time of writing this, but at least I can describe the details of the hack.
I extracted the ZIP contents with all the content, and all I saw was a file that read: THSOD.EXE with an image of the letters THPS shown as:
Close together, in the normal Pro Skater font.
I load it up to see a border of the THPS logo from the PS1 cover art saying Loading...
The game goes full screen to show a logo with the PS1 Tony Hawk title screen, but instead of showing the full title, it shows Tony Hawk as normal, but instead of Pro Skater, it shows Skate or Die in the same font from that game of the same name. Even, more surprising, the Skate or Die theme music was playing instead of the typical THPS music that would play at the title screen.The menu loads up and it's the menu from the 1st Pro Skater.
I usually pick Tony Hawk because he's my favorite character (too bad I have little interest in the other characters in the game).
Like the original game, I have to play levels in order to unlock them, and of course the 1st level is the Warehouse.
The game loads and already I feel a breeze of nostalgia from this hack as the graphics look 1:1 to THPS (porting skills); the HUD looks exactly as I remember it, and nothing looked significantly altered, that was until I bailed.
Usually when you bail in a typical Tony Hawk game, you would see small spurts of blood, and get back up in about 3 seconds to continue the run, but in this hack, when you bail, the animation for standing up is absent, and you see your character on the ground, but I could tell that the creator tried to edit the animation well, but looked a little flickered and glitched. Around Hawk's laid down model was a circular pool of blood covering head to toe. After a few seconds the screen flashed: "Round Over" (then a second later) "YOU ARE DEAD" as the Mortal Kombat announcer from the third MK exclaimed to me, and weirder was the fact that the lettering was the same font as in MK3. This didn't really creep me out as it was suspected of a hacked game.
I had completed some objectives before I bailed on my 1st attempt of this hacked game only to see that somehow the game denied evidence of completing these challenges.
I knew a few things for sure:
-I can't bail, otherwise I die, and my objectives reset.
-Creators like to capitalize on death to death.
-The creator is a fan of Mortal Kombat.
-This game is Hardcore Mode.
"Finally, a new challenge to test my controller skillz." I said in a cheesy-ass attempt at thinking it was cool to say skillz (with a Z); "This could take a while..."
I couldn't quite finish the game yet as I had other important matters to attend to; what I was doing will remain a mystery [unless you ask nicely perhaps...;)]
Three Days LaterEdit
My parents said that they we're going off for business, and wouldn't be back till tomorrow, which gave me a chance to spend many hours on this hacked game, even though my parents didn't want me rotting my brain out (excellent parenting).
I went back onto my PC and loaded the game again, and just started putting all my focus and effort into this game.
Playing more and more, I kept pulling off insane combos into the 100 thousands, and even millions without bailing, finding every single nook and cranny I could get my hands on without missing anything; I felt like I would unlock something if I 100% the game as any character, and proceeded to do so until I felt like getting air, and feeding myself (unlike others who play nonstop and don't bother about hygiene).
After about nearly 4 hours of playing this game, I finally 100% my career as Tony Hawk, and was waiting for an unlockable to show up, and like in THPS3 (with the font, music and everything), I saw the text:
And then I thought: "Scorpion? Like Mortal Kombat Scorpion?"
I looked through my existing characters before me, and like I predicted, it was Scorpion from Mortal Kombat as a selectable character.
In the old games, it was common for a Tony Hawk game to come with Easter Egg levels, characters, and secrets, and It was great to see an unlockable character in a game like this, instead of a hack that has everything you unlocked right from the start, and games like that make you feel like you've earned nothing from the experience of a game.
As I look as Scorpion, I noticed that his character model was the same model from MK9, but the modeler was clever in creating the model for this hack, and styled in the old PS1, semi-pixelated style which I thought was very nerdy, yet awesome.
When I selected Scorpion however, the screen froze, and the background music halted as if to tell me that I did something wrong.
I though for a second I had crashed the game, but it toke a whole 10 seconds to cut to a black screen.
The screen fades in to an old PS1 CG style cutscene (pretty impressive for a hack) showing off Tony Hawk, and Scorpion skating side by side in a Pro Skater competition. The in-game audience applauds as the skaters just ended their run, and the judges tallying the scores.
Of course, Tony hawk wins, but Scorpion doesn't know anything about sportsmanship, and decides to use his signature spear attack to take Hawk down, but he pulls out 2 spears instead while remarking (in a Sega Genesis form of audio quality): "GET OVER HERE!"
The spears don't pierce the stomach, and instead aims for the eyes, yanking on them a few times until you can see Hawk's eye sockets; Scorpion returns to hell to escape from his disastrous behavior; this is when things start getting weird.
As his eyes are pulled, the screen cuts to black; only a few seconds later I see a disturbing image:
The camera ever so slowly moving in on Hawk's eyeless head; the background around him has a couple blood stains, and a sort of rust color around him; his eye sockets just staring into my soul.
Atmosphere is intensifying around the image as some bass fills my headphones until clipping to the max; Hawk's face slowing turning to an angry grin with the screen shaking, and then the bass stops, and Hawk's head is looking to the ground with the scene almost completely still.
I pulse effect screams from his body as I hear a slow and steady heartbeat, and then complete silence.
After about 5 seconds, I see Hawk lift his head instantaneously with the empty eyes, and that Zalgo mouth; I could even hear his character scream, and it sounded just like Hawk himself, but in studio quality...
The screen zooms in quickly during the scream, and after a half a second of showing his disturbing new looks, the screen fades out, and that scream echos for a good 15 seconds. I then see Scorpion open a portal to hell, taking Hawk with him.
I'm literally WTFing right now.
I could understand the eye sockets, but that Zalgo mouth made little sense to me. Why was it used? Why was Scorpion involved? Who was the mastermind behind this attack?
The creator really left me with some unanswered questions on the matter, but it didn't stop there.
Welcome To HellEdit
After the creepiness of the events that toke place at the Pro Skater competition, the game boots me to a Tony Hawk's Underground 2 level (known originally as Pro Skater) renamed Hell in the same font as a typical THUG2 level.
Instead of starting me up in the futuristic aircraft hanger, or the ancient temple that looks like something the Mayans might have built, the game immediately boots me right into the hell section of the level, still maintaining the Pro Skater graphics, and sound.
looking at Hawk's face, I could see the model of his face change to Zalgo Hawk, still staring into my soul. I kept looking at it to see if it would change and animate, but the animator decided to use just that one frame instead of animating his face whether I bailed or not.
When I bail in hell however, I found that the rules of gameplay changed back to the way the game was suppose to play, and knowing how this level worked (despite my lack of excitement from an Underground level), I knew I was going to bail a couple times, so it started to seemed fair, except that the game was still using a 2:00 minute timer even though in a section like this, it should really be free skate since this is a bonus unlockable level in THUG2.
I tried to skate my way up to the portal which lead me back to the "Mayan" temple, but hadn't really noticed that the portal was completely absent from this hack; now I'm really stuck in hell.
I decided to open up the main hallway by wall-planting the switches on the sides to the demons head which lead you to the devil.
I open it up as the cutscene plays as normal, but when I skated through, I couldn't get back to the the main skating area as there were no portals to take me back; now I'm stuck in the hallway.
My timer shows me at 15 seconds left on the clock, so I travel to the room with the devil; I tried to trigger the hilarious jazz-esque dance animation, but nothing popped up.
Time ran out as I was fiddling around in the devil's room.
Hawk's body was forced to the floor using a hacked bail animation from the hack as the timer hit zero, and just like before there was a pool of blood again; instead of taking me to a menu, the game proceeds to an in-engine cutscene of the devil talking about Hawk.
In a typical, over-rated, cliched demonic voice, the devil proclaimed: "Your ass is mine Hawk!"
The screen goes instantly to black, and changes the scene to what appears to be the devil's main office; something like this was never shown in a Tony Hawk game, and even more so that this cutscene was also real-time in-engine footage.
The devil spoke once again, this time to explain the whole situation of the matter; Hawk's face appears normal in this cutscene for some reason.
"Mr. Hawk", calmly said the devil, "It has come to my attention that your impending franchise is doomed to failure."
But the franchise was doing successfully (until the Ride series ruined the whole franchise, but was brought back to its roots in the HD version), at least I thought it was at the time.
The devil continued: "Everything is going according to plan." Then he paused for a second.
"Despite your great efforts to help others in the past, I have felt the worse sense of disgust as I see you building new Skate Parks, and helping the less fortunate; it sickens me to even think about it. I had sent Scorpion to capture you since we've been very close ever since he was born into my family, and since he's managed to survive the brutal Mortal Kombat tournament, and brought you to justice, I'm going to reward him by letting him torture you!"
Torture, really? (typical). The devil really loves to show no mercy to these kind of things, and yet he somehow manages to stay laid back, despite the suffering Hawk is about to receive.
Scorpion drags Hawk to the back room, and unleashes his spear attack like last time, but this time he grabs around his cheek bones, and for a split frame, I could see Hawk's entire face pulled off.
The screen loads me back into the hell level, and I look at Hawk's model again; this time, I can the inside of the back of his head and sides; there's no modeled skull, no brain, no cords, just an empty frontal texture.
I played around with Hawk for a while until I bailed; the screen then started to slowly tint red with atmospheric music playing in the background, and then I saw that face again; empty eye sockets, Zalgo face, and the blood stains, all in just one frame.
Before I know it the game goes black again for about 3 seconds, and I'm back to the desktop.
Every time I try to open the game to play it again, all it does is show me that image until I press ESC.
I immediately delete all the contents of the game, including any files in different locations, and registry entries from the game itself from the existence of my PC.
That image still haunts me in my dreams, yet I continue to face the pain of that day.
It was fun right until Scorpion, and now I don't know if I'll ever play a Tony hawk game again; hopefully soon...