Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 - GameCube

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Also for: PS2, Power Mac, Xbox, PlayStation
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Sport: Skateboard
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Neversoft Soft. Co.: Neversoft
Publishers: Activision (GB/US)
Released: 15 Nov 2002 (GB)
28 Oct 2002 (US)
Ratings: 15+
Accessories: Memory Card


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If ever a game needed an introduction, then that game is not Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. One of the game series that epitomises the Playstation generation, removing some of the 'geek factor' which has long surrounded the games industry, Tony Hawk is now a household name. Chances are you'll know what it's all about.

If you don't, then Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is a skateboard game. It was the first noteworthy title of its kind and is still widely considered the best. Amidst the mass of modes and options that have long since been associated with the series, the premise is fundamentally simple: Skate your way through various environments, score points with big tricks and combos, thus unlocking new areas, skaters, and boards. An elementary concept but it's only a skating game after all. What makes the game is the fact that it is utterly compelling, due to its natural physics, intuitive control system and wealth of performable tricks that can be strung together. This is what made the first game such a hit, what led to its sequels and, ultimately, what is responsible for this fourth instalment.

New to the series is number four's approach to the Career mode. This lets you choose from 190 progressively harder goals to take on. Once you've conquered the pro-specific challenges, all new pro goals are unlocked. Alternatively, you can challenge pros to beat their best tricks, enter into a competition, or simply go for a free ride.

An evolving level design means that each of the areas change, depending on the specific skater's goals and accomplishments. Enter a competition and extra ramps or rails appear. Players can toggle different skate elements on and off (quarterpipes, benches, and kickers) to change up lines.

Players must make their way through the game as an amateur and then conquer a Pro Challenge - based upon the skater's personal history - to unlock the more difficult professional world. For the more hardcore Tony Hawker - and that's likely to be the majority of the buying demographic - a set of Pro Goals is included, really putting your skills to the test.

As you'd expect, this is the same old Tony Hawk, but revised, updated and, at the end of the day, more akin to what we were led to expect from Pro Skater 3. Fans of the series will undoubtedly be buying this title, and rightly so. Newcomers will find it a wheely (ha!) good place to start.