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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Preview By: Nick Arvites
Developer:  Neversoft
Publisher:  Activision
Genre:  Extreme Sports
Est. Release:  October 29, 2002
Posted:  10-2-02

I recently had the opportunity to play a hands-on demo of Tony Hawk 4, the latest installment in the extreme sports series, on the PS2. While the demo really did not showcase the other characters or stages available, it did allow you to skate around an urban area with Tony Hawk and see the newer features in the game.

Apparently, the makers of Tony Hawk took a few pages out of Aggressive Inline’s book. People walk around the stages and some assign you tasks. Also added are spine transfers. If you’re wondering what that is, you go off a double-sided ramp and come down on the other side. The biggest plus to the game is the elimination of the time. Apparently, the timer is removed from this installment of the game. Hopefully the timer remains out because it only served to make the game annoying due to the stop-go feel.

The controls are the same. Veterans of the other Tony Hawk games should feel right at home playing this one.

The levels are massive. The Oil Rig stage from the Xbox version of Tony Hawk 3 was the beginning. The stage size of the level on the demo was the size of an average Aggressive Inline stage. There are tons of things to interact with and tons of opportunities to perform tricks.

The game also looks better and runs smoother than the last installment in the series. It does not seem to be a complete redraw, yet it is touched up to continue to move with the age of the system.

Thankfully the team responsible for the Tony Hawk games noticed they were slipping (in the minds of not-so-humble critics like myself as noted in my review of Aggressive Inline) and decided to implement some changes to keep the series from becoming a monotonous bore-fest. The apparent (and hopefully permenant) elimination of timed runs is a great step forward and only improve the addictive gameplay. Hopefully the game turns out as great as it is in the demo phase.

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