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Game Name : Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Date Reviewed : 2002-12-30 01:43:51

Written By : Daniel Crabtree

Tony Hawk 4 is the latest addition to the popular Tony Hawk extreme sports series, it takes the successful formulae of the past 3 games shuffles it around and amazing the end result is a superb title that it certainly the best in the series and is a must have game for both fans of the series and newcomers alike.

The first thing I found when playing the game on the standard Xbox controller is that grinding was difficult due to it being mapped to Y. This lead to my attempt to remap the keys, but alas the game doesnít allow you to remap the keys. This really annoyed me, since I wanted to swap it with the grab trick button B. But it turns out that this was in fact a good thing, after playing for about half an hour I had totally forgotten about the key layout and within an hour I thought it was a fantastic setup.

I started out playing with Tony Hawk, the diversity of the challenges was quite amazing, one of my favourites are the ones where you get to ride your board around like a luge, particularly the challenge in London when you have to race the police around and they try to kick you. After playing for a few hours I decided I would create a custom skater, the number of options you have for clothing from shirt style and colour, through to sock colour and length and onto the appearance of the skaterís hair and face. The scaleable parts let you adjust the height of people and overall build among other things and this lets you create even more realistic skaters than in previous titles.

Another great feature is that when you are in career mode you can change your character at anytime and can also redistribute the stats points however you see fit at any time. But by far the best improvements come in the game play; the first major difference is that you no longer have a time limit. You just skate around and do whatever you wish, and then when youíre ready you can go up to one of the people standing around and talk to them, they will give you a mission and that may have a time limit or some other kind of restriction. The game also evolves and changes as you take on new challenges, new ramps and obstacles or fences making a race track around the level and even lions escaping on the Zoo level are just some of the things that may appear and change on some missions.

You can now skitch to the back of cars, not only does this let you gain points it also gives you huge speed to make enormous jumps, one challenge involves making a long jump over 300+ feet. Over and above the previous three titles there are even more new tricks and the levels are just enormous compared to the past games. The trick system has been refined and perfected over the course of the 4 games and is now truly fantastic, you can now pull off huge combos by combining the new spine transfer move, manuals, special manuals, flatland tricks, reverts and all the normal moves and grinds from previous tony hawk games.

The game also features numerous other small enhancements over and above the previous games in the series. The graphics and sound havenít been forgotten either, while they are nothing out of this world there have been small improvements made to both and the graphics and sound and they are good enough to call the game almost perfect in these departments.

Graphics: 9 / 10
Nothings special, but there are no flaws either. There is a lot of detail in the huge levels and the graphics engine brings this skateboarding world to life.

Sound: 8 / 10
Again nothing special, but does feature an upbeat sound track and excellent sound effects.

Game Play: 10 / 10
This is where Tony Hawk really shines; the game is fluid and non stop, fun, not too tricky but still challenging. The game has found the perfect balance between too much and not enough in all areas and plays fantastically.

Overall: 97%
Fantastic game play, tons of hours of challenges and more fun than youíll know what to do with. Definitely the best extreme sports title of the year and is a must have title.

Fantastic and fun gameplay
Huge Levels
Tons of challenges that are set at the right level of difficulty
Best game in the series

Graphics and Sound not out of this world.

Title: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Game Type: Sports
Players: 1 - 2
Content Rating: Teen
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision

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