"There are simply not enough hours in the day...."

You know I swore up and down that Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 would be the last game in the series that I would ever play.

Why?

Because in my mind I was the greatest. I blew my friends out. I crushed every high score, busted every trick, unlocked everything in the game without the use of a code and grinded every rail.

Then I got online. The first day I got smashed by somebody who scored 30 million without breaking a sweat. He casually skated on and I was left holding my board in my hands. Was he cheating or not? Not sure. 30 million was a lot. Not really fair but ok. I practiced day in and day out, until I could rack in a respectable 9 million points.
It took me forever and I swore that I would always make sure that I had better things to do than sit in the house and try to get 10 million points on a skateboarding game.
That was it for me.

Then Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 came out. I saw it in the window of EB. It was calling me. I could not resist. I bought it and popped in the PS2 first thing when I got home from work.

I didn't even take my coat off first.

I watched the opening FMV video with the same slack-jawed awe as I had from the previous 3 THPS. I created my skater quickly, taking advantage of the multitude of accessories, clothes, and skate gear. More clothing options have been added, bringing total number of clothing and gear combinations close to infinity.

Then I hopped in a quick game. The set up is a little different this time around. Instead of simply having 2 minutes to complete a set of goals, you are in a constant state of Free Skate until you skate up to somebody on the street and they will give you a mission or task to do.

Being the old pro I am I quickly opened up the next couple of levels. Before long it hit me like a sack of skateboard wheels that this isn't THPS of old. The levels are enormous and the range of tasks to complete is varied and eclectic. Tasks now range from the old tried and true grab the S-K-A-T-E letters to freeing a rampaging elephant to spray painting monkeys, to racing a giant shopping cart.

Tasks are a lot more difficult this time around in the later levels. Grab the letters C-O-M-B-O and do it in one single combo trick. Ok no problem. Now set your board on fire and skate 400mph and try grabbing C-O-M-B-O in one single combo trick. Now we gotta problem. (I'm exaggerating but you get the idea)

As with the revert last year, the new tricks this year includes Spine Transfers, which is essentially jumping over the lip of the pipe or bowl to the other side, and skitchin. Skitchin was made famous in Back to the Future when Marty McFly would grab on to the back of a car and go for a ride. Manual tricks are also updated, allowing you to combo in and out of manual tricks all day long.

As with the other THPS games, the music in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 is quite up to par with the rest of the games in the series giving a good solid mix of rock and rap.

The graphics of THPS4 are crisp and clean with virtually no pop up in immense levels. Some tears in the seams pop up from time to time causing the framerate to skip. It can be annoying, however, it can be overlooked seeing as how the rest of the game is rock solid. However it does happen enough to strip a point.

Then we get to the online component.

This game is never as fun playing by yourself than it is when you have somebody to play with. Neversoft knows this, so they bumped up to number of online players from 4 to 8.

The trick attack, tag, king of the hill, and graffiti game options are all still there, but now they have company. Combo Mambo, a game where the highest scoring combo wins, Goal Attack, where the goals from the levels are carried over to the online play and a race ensues to see who can finish the objectives first, and Point attack, where the host sets a score and players race to see who can achieve the score first. Players can join teams (if the team option is turned on by the host).

You can expect the same level of quality from the previous 3 games to be carried over to the 4th. Music and sound effects are spot on. Control is rock solid. Fun factor is off the charts. With the Sony Network Adapter replayablily is infinite.

There goes my social life.... Again....


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/06/02, Updated 11/06/02


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