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Extreme Sports









T (Teen)



Q4 2002



- Fun!

- More great tricks

- Neversoft is still keeping it fresh

- Lots of replay value

- Everything that made the previous games a success and more



- Still too addictive

- Newcomers might find the harder goals impossible



Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Playstation 2)

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (XBox)

Review: Aggressive Inline (Gamecube)



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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

Score: 9.3 / 10


Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 (THPS4) is limp.  It retreads so much old ground its worn out the carpet of extreme games.  Weve seen the tricks, weve seen the skaters when the hell is Neversoft going to stop milking this cash cow?


I am just kidding of course Ive just always wanted to start a review like that.


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While THPS4 has definitely lost its novelty, it certainly hasnt run out of new ideas or addictive gameplay.  So much of what made the first three games a success return improving stats, collecting cash, unlocking levels, pushing for bigger combo scores, pick-up and play fun with some new considerations thrown into the mix. (Not the least of which is a cameo of jiggling Jenna Jameson.)


This time out there are 14 skaters (and a few locked ones, of course Fett lives!) and some of the biggest skating environments ever.  Every time I thought Id seen everything, Id grind over an obstacle and find corners I didnt know existed.  And there are trick possibilities everywhere you look.  Chances are, if you can see it, you can perform some kind of trick off it or include it in a combo.  Creative and skilled players can go for minutes in one combo.





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Minutes?  Isnt there a two minute cap?  No longer is each run limited to a piddly 2 minutes.  With a nod to another extreme sports game, Aggressive Inline, THPS4s goals can be challenged at your leisure (in Career mode), for the most part at least.  Theyre broken down into three sub-categories: unlocked and locked objectives, and pro challenges.  Throughout each level NPCs and other skaters provide objectives for you to meet to score stat points 


and cash this is when the time limit kicks in and sometimes changes the look of the level for that time.  And not every objective provides two minutes.  Some require speed or completing a task in a continuous combo string, but the old stand-bys are still present and accounted for (collecting the SKATE letters, score a certain number of points, etc.).  Either way, Neversoft is still coming up with new and different challenges (ranging in difficultly -- the pro challenges are insane!) instead of just rehashing old ones.  And then there are mini-games like the ghost baseball batting practice on Alcatraz thrown in just for kicks.


Those familiar with THPS3 should have no problem picking up the nuances of the control.  There are a few new moves to take into account: skitching, special tricks (when your trick meter is maxed out) and spin transfers.  The old options are still available flatland tricks, lip tricks, manuals, etc.  For new players, learning the controls is relatively easy just part of the magic of the Tony Hawk series plus the objectives in Career mode can really help master the moves.


Fun has always been intrinsic to the THPS series and its here in spades mostly thanks to the more open-ended Career mode.


Ive read reports of graphical slow-down with the GameCube version in some areas (as compared to Xbox and PS2) but I have yet to actually come across any.  THPS4 looks great (better than previous versions) and moves at a good clip, even during two-player games.


There are seven multiplayer modes including HORSE, the new Combo Mambo (biggest combo wins), and King of the Hill.  All of them are worthy multiplayer games but I found myself spending more time with Career mode trying to collect cash (and earn stat points) to really customize my skater and unlock some of the extras even when I had a buddy to play with.


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Nearly every review of the Tony Hawk games touches on the music aspect.  Although I found THPS4s music perfectly suitable, it didnt reach out and grab my eardrums. (Granted, youd never find these artists in my CD collection.)  Artists include N.W.A., Sex Pistols (okay, I have a couple of discs), U.S. Bombs, Muska Beats, AC/DC and Run-DMC.


Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 can easily be summed up as, More of the same with a few extras throw in.  But thats not a bad thing not by a long shot.


- Omni

(November 16, 2002)


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