“He’s not ‘going Hollow,’ he’s sick,” judges games critic Leon Massey on Dark Souls’ famous helper, Solaire of Astora, absolutely tearing it up skateboarding through Dark Souls’ iconic hub area, Firelink Shrine. But how, how on earth did this come to be?
You can find both mod projects—Firelink Shrine by sockpuppetkingdom and Solaire by Syeo—on the THPSX website, home to a surprisingly active community of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater enthusiasts and modders. The forums produced a mod for Tony Hawk’s Underground 2,”THUGPro,” which serves to extend the features of Underground 2 and allow it to function as a unified platform for mods and levels across the classic Tony Hawk games.
pic.twitter.com/uAPaW1QWFoMay 20, 2022
Unfortunately, Underground 2 isn’t available on any digital distribution platforms, and you’ll need a full copy of the game to run THUGPro and any attendant user creations. Thankfully, Leon Massey was willing to share some screens and an impression of the level for those of us without the Underground 2 CDs rattling around somewhere.
The map’s lonely 2019 review on THPSX from user ZZKer gives it a pretty high 4/5 score with a paradoxically negative summation of “”cool port; not the smoothest skate :/” Massey’s impression was a bit more positive, noting that some curiously out-of-place rails give you surfaces to grind on, and that the graveyard past Frampt’s chapel has been replaced with some bowls to do tricks in. I don’t think anyone’s gonna miss the jerk skeletons who lived there, but how are you supposed to get the Zweihander now?
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Mechanics and layout aside, you have to appreciate the iconic image of Solaire just going nuts in Firelink, and the THUGPro project more broadly is an impressive labor of love for a neglected gem like Tony Hawk’s Underground. Leon Massey, meanwhile, can be found on YouTube creating video essays on gaming mechanics and history, as well as on Twitch streaming various games old and new.