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T (Teen)



Q4 2002



- More Tony Hawk goodness

- Great new ground tricks, skitchin’, and the spine transfer rule!

- No timer

- More open courses: not as boxed in a before



- Music selection isn’t as good as THPS3

- Some of the goals are freakin’ hard

- People new to the series will have a hard time starting with this title



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

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

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (Playstation 2)



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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

Score: 9.6 / 10


For the adrenaline junkies amongst us… ok, those couch potatoes with couch grooves behind us, the return of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater (THPS) series is a god-send. Much like how THPS3 was an improvement over the Playstation games, THPS4 keeps a lot of the old staples from the series but adds a few improvements that will give reasons to pick up the new title.  


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Once again, the life blood of the game is around the career mode where you can earn skill points, additional tricks, and money. Unlike THPS3 where you were given the goals before you started, you seek out people to give you goals. Once you are given a task the timer will start for that task, and if you fail or run out of time, all you have to do is talk to the person again to get another chance at the goal. Because the timer is only associated with goals, you now have free reign over the levels and can scope out the terrain before you try to set up lines for good combos. You’ll need about 10-15 minutes of just looking around just to appreciate the lay of the land and start to visualize trick possibilities.


The goals are more varied than previous games. There are more goals which require either point score on runs and combos or accomplishing specific tricks than the old “get the videotape” or “hit all those valves” (not that there aren’t those types of goals in this game, they just aren’t the mainstay anymore).





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Besides the usual goals, there are two new types of goals in THPS4: the race and the COMBO goals. The race goals play out pretty much like they sound – beat a time or a person while lying down on your board, but perfecting your form will usually take a few tries. The COMBO goals are my bane – you have to collect the letters towards COMBO all in one freakin’ combo… it drives me NUTS (especially the Pro Level ones once you progress far in the game). The character-specific Pro Goals range from the easy (Tony Hawk 


performing some gap jumps, Chad Muska kicking a beat buildup, Bob Burnquist attempting a really fun open-top loop-de-loop) to the freaking impossible (nearly everyone else). It’s cool to see how they modify each of the levels for the specific stunts.


One of the most noticeable improvements THPS4 is the visuals – all of the character designs are improved over THPS3, and if you throw the old disc in you’ll really notice. Gone are the blocky edges on the character models as well as the skating environments, all of which look more in-focus with better defined edges and smoother textures. The levels are pretty nice too; the variety in venues will leave everyone with their favorites – some will prefer the long grinds of San Francisco and College, while others prefer to take to the air on ramps like in Kona, and even more will prefer combination areas where you can set up some sick-looking transitions between areas like the Zoo and London.


The trick bag from the previous games is intact, but now there are a few new ones which will give people some nasty new ideas for combos. The main improvement is on the ground tricks – now starting from the manual, you can get into a variety of tricks like the truck-stop, the handstand, the pogo and all sorts of variants from the square, triangle, and circle buttons. The bigger addition is the spine transfer which some people will have difficulty incorporating (while others like me were able to lengthen their lines during combos). It's basically a mid-air change to ride the back side of a dual ramp – using this trick with a re-vert into a manual will keep the multiplier spinning.


The music once again is one of the highlights of the series. Like previous incarnations, the genres are all over the place with highlights from Offspring, ACDC, and Flogging Molly but some of the hip-hop songs were hit and miss at best (De La Soul and others). Most experienced THPSers will know to mute the TV and play something different after the 20th run through or so. The sound effects are even more disturbing than previous games with crunching bone sounds that will leave most people cringing the first few times (especially when paired with a wail from the skater).  


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Finally to the ‘cons. THPS4 really you to have played a Tony Hawk installment before, because the bar starts rather high and the difficulty increases quickly so most new gamers should start with THPS3 first to learn the basics than switch over. My final beef is on some of the goals – they are freakin’ hard at times, especially the more ridiculous ones like special grinding 150+ feet over mixed terrain or some of the manual courses that are near impossible to pull off.


All in all, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 is a great game that misses very little and is highly recommended.


- Tazman

(January 5, 2002)


"So I put 2 and 2 together and decided you guys are pissing me off."

          - Carl (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

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