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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (GameCube) Review

Review for Tony Hawk

The 'extreme sports' genre of video games that the Tony Hawks series kick started in the mid-nineties was beginning to become stale when the third instalment of the Hawk flew (ollied?) onto consoles in the new millennium. While what it did it did well, there was room for improvement which was only realised when Aki's Aggressive Inline appeared and took everything that the Hawkster did and shot it through a worm hole in terms of gameplay.

Luckily this must have lit a fire under the backsides of Neversoft as the forth instalment of Tony Hawks Pro Skater is a doosie by all accounts.

You get to choose from fifteen pro skaters, four unlockable skaters, and an improved create-a-skater feature. From the obligatory Tony Hawk, through to Rodney Mullen, Elissa Steamer and Bam Margera of Jackass fame there is a different formula this time around. Unlike the previous instalments where you went through the same game with each skater, in THPS4 you have a selection of goals that can be completed with any skater and a selection of Pro Challenges specific to each skater. Making a monumental 190 tasks in all; to get a perfect 100% completion you have to clear all gaps and money too!

The real difference in this game though comes in the form of the challenge mechanics and the levels. This time around there is no two-minute time limit as in the previous games and the nine levels are absolutely immense. To get challenges you have to talk to CPUs on the level who give you objectives, which are usually timed, to complete. These CPUs are on the whole voiced superbly, and in the case of other Pro Skaters, are actually voiced by the star themselves.

In terms of graphical innovation there is very little to separate this instalment to the previous one, but then again THPS3 was graphically accomplished anyway and this title doesn't suffer any from having PS2 quality graphics. Although saying that there are some tiny framerate issues in some places, though this really doesn't detract from the overall gameplay at all.

One of the major selling points of the Tony Hawks series was the soundtracks and THPS4 is no exception. With tracks from bands like System of a Down, Sex Pistols, NWA, Iron Maiden and AC/DC Tony Hawks is building on a rich tradition of metal, punk and Hip-Hop. Hopefully there should be something in there for everyone's taste.

You also can collect cash from completing certain tasks and by finding it scattered throughout the level. With this cash you can buy all manner of bonuses, from additional levels to cheats to items of clothing for create-a-skater. Like the previous incarnations you can improve your skater through 'stat-points', which you earn by completing certain challenges, as they say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

In two player, the game is just as good as it ever was, with old favourite graffiti making a welcome return, and after you master the revert-manual combo system games can go on for a long time, and never loose their appeal. There is also the fabled level creator which is just as advanced as it need to be to make interesting and challenging levels that do not make you tear your hair out in frustration.

Gameplay

It is skating; olly, kick flip and tail grab your way through one of the best skater games ever made. Simply if you love skating, you will love this.

Graphics

In terms of graphical innovation there is very little to separate this instalment to the previous one, but then again THPS3 was graphically accomplished anyway and this title doesn't suffer any from having PS2 quality graphics. Although saying that there are some tiny framerate issues in some places, though this really doesn't detract from the overall gameplay at all.

Sound

One of the major selling points of the Tony Hawks series was the soundtracks and THPS4 is no exception. With tracks from bands like System of a Down, Sex Pistols, NWA, Iron Maiden and AC/DC Tony Hawks is building on a rich tradition of metal, punk and Hip-Hop. Hopefully there should be something in there for everyone's taste.

Value

In two player, the game is just as good as it ever was, with old favourite graffiti making a welcome return, and after you master the revert-manual combo system games can go on for a long time, and never loose their appeal. There is also the fabled level creator which is just as advanced as it need to be to make interesting and challenging levels that do not make you tear your hair out in frustration.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

All in all this is a fine addition to the THPS lineage, although it does ramp up the difficulty quite considerably on the previous incarnations. This really shouldn't be seen as a bad thing however as you will get more enjoyment and lifespan out of this title than ever before.

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12.01.2003

2

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Developer

Neversoft

Publisher

Activision

Genre

Sport

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

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We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

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