The first game in series to introduce career mode. Player had to complete all of 9 levels in the game. While 6 of them contain 5 goals each, the other 3 are competition levels that require player to get the medal. Each new completed goal would spawn one of the events: new level unlocked, skater stat points incremented or new deck unlocked. By getting three gold medals player was awarded with a special FMV. Completing all of the 30 tasks would unlock Officer Dick. There is no legal way to unlock Private Carrera.
The approach to the career mode in THPS2 remains the same though few changes were introduced. Now task levels contained 10 goals, while competition levels remain untouched. Each goal level contained a special competion task that would be awarded only if level was cleared completely. The money system was introduced, so now player was allowed to buy stats and decks manually. This time by completeing the carrer mode with each skater, player was awarded with a secret player or a cheat code. This time Private Carrera can be unlocked by finding all the gaps in the game.
The career mode in THPS3 remains more or less untouched except the completion task was removed, leaving 9 goals per level. This time skater is required to collect decks and stat points that are spawned around the level.
Though this mode is still called Career, it was totally revamped. Practically, it is the same Story Mode that would appear later in THUG with only difference that it completely lacks the story itself. Now player was allowed to freely skate around the level, choosing the certain task by interacting with NPCs. It would usually spawn timer which is not necessarily set at 2 minutes now, but may vary between tasks. The time given is only valid for the current goal. Unlike the previous games, player is required to pass carrer mode only once to unlock everything, though total number of goals is 190 now and their difficulty was increased. Most of the secret stuff is bought by cash, which made its return in this game.
PS1 version of the game follows this schema except, due to technical limitations, colorful tokens were used instead of NPCs.
There are several typical goals that may vary from level to level.
- Score goals - require skater to achieve certain score. Usually divided on High Score, Pro Score and Sick Score.
- Collect SKATE letters - require skaters to collect 5 letters floating around the level.
- Collect COMBO letters - similiar to the goal above, this time all the letters should be obtained in a single combo.
- Collect 5 objects - this may vary between levels, for example 5 tables in School or 5 ring bells in School 2. Some goals may reduce this number to 3.
- Perform a trick over gap - requires skater to perform specific trick given at exact gap place. For example Tailslide the Venice ledge in Venice or Bluntslide the awning in Philadelphia.
- Find hidden tape - get a VHS tape that is usually located in places that are tricky to access. In THPSHD VHS tape was replaced with DVD.
- Get 100% goals and cash - only appear in THPS2 and PS1 version of THPS4.