Review by Majin Lou

"Once again, Tony Hawk is da man!!"

Ahh, the joys of a Tony Hawk game! In case you haven't noticed, this is the 4th installment of the most popular skateboarding game franchise, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. I bet a lot of people are wondering, ''How the heck can Tony Hawk's games keep people coming back to play them after four installments?'' Well, the geniuses at Neversoft have found it within themselves to keep this series fresh, the gameplay awesome, the graphics crisp, and the fun factor up high! They have brought new levels, which as a person can tell when first playing, have gotten bigger in size, which is a very good thing indeed. They have also brought back Bob Burnquist, the Brazilian skater who wasn't able to make it into Tony Hawk 3 because he was in the not-so-successful skateboarding game that Konami made awhile back. Also included are new moves, special tricks, and flatland tricks. Now that I hopefully have some people's attentions, here are my own personal reviews of what makes up this game: Graphics, sound, gameplay, replayability, fun factor, and final verdict.

Graphics: 9/10
The first thing many people notice and often put first in if they'll buy a game is the graphics of the game. The graphics in this game are very crisp indeed. The levels are well detailed. Not only are the levels detailed, the in-game graphics look authentic, as well as pleasing to the eye. These graphics definitely have improved since Tony Hawk 3. The color and style of the graphics in each level make it feel like you could be there in real life. Also, many things can be knocked and moved around like before, which just makes this game even more authentic. For the most part, the skaters in this version look like their real selves, although improvement can still be made in this area.

Sound: 8/10
Maybe not to many people I know, but to me, the sound is just as important as the graphics are in a game. This game does not disappoint in terms of sound. Neversoft has definitely made the skate sounds more authentic. It now sounds like you are actually skating over gravel! The sounds now actually reflect what the character is skating on. Also, it seems as if Neversoft has finally added realistic screams when a character bails, which were missing from Tony Hawk 3. Although I've heard a lot of people complain about not liking the soundtrack too much, I believe the soundtrack presented well fits the game. There are a decent amount of rap and rock songs, and most songs seem to fit the personality of this game well. From AC/DC's ''TNT'' to Run-DMC's ''My Adidas'', the songs go very well with this game.

Gameplay: 10/10
Now, this is the kind of gameplay I like! The controls are easy to learn, so newbies to the realm of Tony Hawk won't take too long learning the basic controls. This game offers plenty of missions and things to do, and the controls only enhance doing them. This game isn't about rehashed gameplay at all. New moves, new levels, and new tricks not only enhance the gameplay, but make it much more fun. First off, the season mode is more open, which allows for more exploration and such, as well as not feeling too rushed. New techniques such as the spine transfer are actually very useful, and makes me wonder how earlier installments would have played with these new moves. The new levels are very big and offer tons of stuff to do. And, if the normal levels ever become boring, there is the create-a-park feature included, as well as being able to download parks while playing online. Also, some of the new flatland tricks are sweet to perform in succession if you can master them. Finally, there are many new special tricks to behold. While some are funny or downright weird, many enhance the game and definitely bring thrills to this game.

Replayability: 10/10
For a skateboarding game, one would think there wouldn't be that much depth. Well, for those that think that, there is an almost unfathomable amount of replayability in this game. Just finishing the career mode alone will take plenty of time off of your hands. Then, there is free-skating for points, playing multiplayer with a close friend, creating a skater or park to use, and finally, the vast world of playing online. Honestly, with the amount of gameplay this game offers, as well as its popularity, I wonder if there will ever be a point that this game can't be released on a weekday or non-holiday (which I believe the Dragon Quest games in Japan have a law requiring those games only to be released on certain days because kids were cutting school and stuff to buy and play these games).
I believe that this will be the game that causes Sony's Network Adaptor to be bought by many households, just so that they can play Tony Hawk 4 online.

Fun Factor: 10/10
Only the most fun of games can bring me back playing so much in the past few days. With its awesome combo of nice graphics, excellent sounds, smooth gameplay, and high replayability, this game is very hard to put down and stop playing. Just last night, I played career mode for about 3 hours and got to bed very late, proving how hard it is to put this game down. Not only do I believe that this game is better than the previous installment, I believe it is the best skateboarding game ever. If you know someone who is a skateboard game nut, or just likes to play fun games, this is definitely a game to consider getting the person.

Final Verdict: 9/10
While this game is very excellent, I don't believe any game can be perfect. My only, albeit, small gripe is the lack of stuff you can use to customize your created skater. Anyway, this game if very fun, and well worth the 50 dollars that will be spent on it. Even if this game was 70 dollars, I would still buy it because it is extremely fun. The combination of excellent graphics, high-quality sounds, vast gameplay, and very high replayability make this a very fun game worth the time, effort, and money. Now, will you please excuse me? I have a game that needs playing.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/26/02, Updated 10/26/02

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