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Original Issue

Indoor Adventure

Too cold to venture outside? Hit the couch and bask in the warm rays of your TV screen as you check out the cream of the winter video game crop

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Activision, $49.99) Remember in The Blues Brothers when Belushi and Aykroyd are careering their car through a mall and amid all the mayhem Belushi observes, "This place has everything"? Hawk's latest has everything--and all done remarkably well. PS4 puts you in a series of clever settings, and in each one the game gives you challenges that, once met, unlock further levels. The graphics are amazing, and there are enough levels and fresh tricks to keep you busy until, well, PS5 comes out. Grade: A+

BMX XXX (AKA Acclaim, $49.99) "There are many tawdry challenges to face," warns/boasts the BMX XXX manual, which features more double entendres than "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld. Complete enough challenges--for instance, deliver five hookers to a hotel in two minutes--and you get to see some video goodies. (The PS2 version has no nudity; the Xbox and GameCube versions do.) The bike action is good, but discussing the finer points of BMX XXX is like parsing the plot of Porky's. Grade: D; if you loved Porky's, A

Jet X2O (Sony, $39.95) If there's one undersung genre of video game, it's the personal watercraft game, which taps into not only the player's need for speed but also his or her creativity. In Jet X20 you race other riders, doing tricks as you navigate through an Atlantis-like water city and a volcano. The better your tricks, the better your Jet Ski performs. I like X20 better than Infograme's Splashdown, but for some users it's a moot point: X20 is available only for PlayStation 2, not for Xbox. Still, if you have a PS2, get X20, O.K.? Grade: A

TransWorld Snowboarding (Infogrames, $49.99) "If you land hard enough to bleed, you messed up," advises a pop-up screen while TransWorld is loading. There's lots of the red stuff in this fast-paced, fairly realistic game, which offers plenty of tricks to master and tons of terrain to explore. The only problem I had with it is that the riders seem a bit stiff, like Shawn Bradley after a long nap. But TransWorld makes up for it by offering several modes, such as halfpipe and "straight jump," in which you get monster air over a short course. Grade: B+