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Electronic Arts
1989
Arcade: Action
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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18
Matt Bielby
Chris Bourne

I'm a sausage. There I was, thinking There's something a wee bit odd about the controls on this one matey,' and I was playing in the ridiculously silly 'goofy foot' mode all along. What an embarrassment, eh?

Perhaps I'd better explain. Skate Or Die is a skateboard sim, and whilst you're groovin' along on your wheels you can execute your moves using two different sets of controls - the 'regular foot' option which means the board goes more or less the way it's meant to, or the 'goofy' one that makes it all a bit more wibbly. This oddity apart, you'll find that this is actually very much along the lines of last year's 720'.

You start in Rodney's skate shop where you sign in. Then it's off to the town square where you must choose the event you wish to take part in. Do this by skating down the right path. But beware you don't always end up playing the 'deadly' downhill race which is very easy to select if you're not paying attention.

You have a choice between playing the events in a set order, or going to whichever you prefer and plugging away at that. I've outlined the various events in the box to the side, so I won't go into too much more details here, except to say that unlike its rivals this seems to rely more on a sort of violent 'knock the other guy over' gameplay than on executing neat tricks all the time. Should you not have a pal at hand, you can always play the machine which provides three villains - Poseur Pete (he's easy to beat), Aggro Eddie who's a pretty tough customer and shop owner Rodney's little lad, Lester, who's one mean mutha.

And that's basically it really, except to point out Skate Or Die's particular strengths, the biggest of which is the colour - certainly. when compared to the monochrome 720' - it's a riot of seasonal brightness.

A rather addictive and very playable game then, as these things tend to be, even if it adds nothing to what 720' and the bonza roller-skate game Skate Crazy have done before.

Competent and absorbing new skate sim, but no better than 720' and not as good as Skate Crazy.

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THE EVENTS

THE DOWNHILL RACE

This is a basic speed trial, though there are bonuses to be earned for taking the trickier routes - down the tunnel, through the openings and closing gates and so on. Jumps, ducks and sliding turns can be executed, but take some practice. You can play in either 'regular' or 'goofy' foot modes, which is the difference between having approximate control over the board and, erm, having approximately no control over the board.

THE FREESTYLE RAMP

Complete trick jumps for points. You make ten passes executing tricks all over the place.

THE HIGH JUMP

Build up speed over a number of runs to make an extra high leap without becoming a cropper. In the YS offices we were all shouting, "I've got six feet ten inches!," "That's nothing I've got eight feet" Fnar fnar.

THE DOWNHILL JAM

A back streets free-for-all race across various obstacles with an opponent who you have to punch, kick or knock over, and who will stop at nothing to similarly get rid of you. probably the highlight of the game, though I found myself strangely out of control of the character at times.

THE POOL JOUST

Knock an opponent off his board taking turns using a sort of paddock stick. You get to take on one of your three opponents, of which 'Lester' is by far the toughest.