Sunday 19 September 2021

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Tapwave Zodiac review)

Developer: Semi Logic Entertainments
Publisher: Activision
Released: 2004

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is an extreme sports title that also saw release on the Game Boy Advance (2002).

It features seven locations, 14 pro skaters and 190 goals, and unlike previous games players are free to explore the levels with no time limit. Some of the opening goals task you with executing certain tricks, the problem being that there's no explanation (including in the menu trick list) of how to actually perform them! On the whole, the goals are uninspired, as unlike the console versions that feature playful missions you're instead tasked with a mountain of mundane fetch quests; the fact that there's multiple C-O-M-B-O goals per location is also very lazy. The locales are barely distinguishable from each other too and there's little in the way of scenic or landmark attractions to make them stand out. While the graphics sport a better resolution than the Game Boy Advance version, not enough care went into polishing the experience for the Tapwave Zodiac. For example, the options menu allows you to amend the button layout to mirror the home console original (in terms of tricks), but unfortunately Spine Transfers are automatically adapted (and can't be customised) meaning you need to hit both the left and right face buttons simultaneously! And then there's the controls which are simply awful if you're used to the accuracy of a d-pad (something the Zodiac lacks) and half the time you'll accidentally hit the middle thumbstick button when attempting a manual. Linked to this (and perhaps the biggest annoyance) is that your character moves too fast and will often pinball into objects, or overshoot a half-pipe after you've desperately tried to line up straight-on for a grab trick; everything is too sensitive and unreliable for a game that requires absolute precision.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 might look much better than the Game Boy Advance version, but the control set-up here is awkward to say the least (due to hardware and software quirks). Couple this with the lazy world design and utterly uninspired goal objectives and it's hard to recommend this port to anyone but hardcore THPS fans.

Random trivia: Activision also planned to release MTX Mototrax on the Tapwave Zodiac, but unfortunately it was cancelled.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Find a Review