Like its predecessor, "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" (THPS2) rewards players who can successfully string together the right tricks without bailing -- that is, crashing and messing up the trick. If you want to rise to the ranks of the game's namesake, you'll need a thorough understanding of the game's trick system. When you've earned enough money by progressing through your skater's career, head to the Trick Shop to add some more advanced tricks to your arsenal; you're given the instructions for each trick when you purchase it.
At the start of the game, your grab tricks are limited to tailgrabs and crossbones; to pull these off, you'll need to hold down the grab button in mid-air, pressing "Down" or "Up" and "Left," respectively. When pulling off any grab trick, make sure you release the grab button shortly before hitting the ground; this allows you enough time to release the board and stabilize yourself. Releasing the grab button late might not cause your skater to crash, but you'll lose points for a sloppy landing.
When you start Career Mode, you're most proficient with flip tricks, starting out with six variants. The cheapest new flip trick you can purchase is the Impossible, earning up to 300 points if performed in a switch stance. These tricks require holding the flip button as long as you want to rotate the board; for example, holding the flip button during a Heelflip after the board flips prompts you to try for a Double Heelflip. If you want to flip the board, commit to it; don't release the button until the board has returned right side up. To prevent crashes, it's best to release the button as close to the start of your descent from mid-air as possible.
While there are different positions to grind rails in, the biggest focus you'll have here is keeping your balance. After all, a rail is hardly as stable as the ground, especially since none of the wheels are used. When you ollie near a rail and press the grind button, your skater will start sliding across the rail and a meter appears. You must keep the pointer as close to the middle as possible; if it touches either end, your skater will fall off the rail. To keep it balanced, push the directional pad left as the pointer moves right to push it toward the center. This also applies for lip tricks, which occur when you press the grind button while riding up a half- or quarter-pipe.
Similar to rails, manuals require a certain level of balance. Entering a manual stance by pressing the directional pad up and then immediately down -- or vice versa -- displays a balance meter. Unlike rails, however, this one requires a forward and backward balance, not side-to-side. The balance mechanic is still in play, however: You must push the directional pad down if the pointer moves up, for example. Depending on the kind of manual you're performing, your skater may not crash if the pointer touches the top or bottom of the meter, but you'll still lose the stance either way.
The most expansive tricks, special maneuvers reward you with the most points and the most boisterous animation, though some have restrictions. For example, purchasing Laser Flip for $9,000 lets you perform the trick for up to 1,800 points, but only as Jamie Thomas. Custom-made skaters only have access to Darkslide for $7,500, 540 Flip for $7,500, Shove It Rewind for $8,000 and Kickflip McTwist for $9,000. A special trick requires a full special bar, and bailing will empty that bar. To fill the special bar, pulling off different tricks in a long combo gets the job done faster; you won't lose points for repetition and you'll get a bonus for not crashing in between tricks.