Down at the skate park the other day I was really impressing the betties with some kickturns, handplants and ollies. Yep, even If I say so myself, my skating is bio! And if you haven't any idea what I'm on about, then maybe Skate Or Die is for you, teaching you hip skateboarding lingo while you compete in five gruelling events.
You start off in a road junction where you pick a multiloaded event to compete by skating down a street, and it's not as easy as it sounds. In the Freestyle event there's a large U-shaped ramp - you have ten passes to pull such rad stunts as Rail Slides, Rock 'n' Rolls and Footplants. Stunts are chosen by moving your joystick in two grey-coloured 'pump zones ' and timing is vital. The U-shaped ramp is also used for the High Jump, you have five passes to score a maximum height by pressing fire at the top of your jumps, building up momentum.
A completely different sort of event is the Downhill Race, here you have a tilted, overhead view of your skater as he zooms down a smoothly-scrolling obstacle course. There's one and a half minutes to jump over, duck under and dodge around all the objects in your path. Or if you'd prefer a bit more violence there's the much tougher Downhill Jam where you race through city backstreets in competition with another skater, controlled either by the computer or another player. If the other guy looks about to overtake you can punch and kick him!
Yet more violence crops up in the Pool Joust where you confront either a friend or one of three computer opponents. The rules are simple: two guys enter the empty pool, and one has five passes to try to knock over his opponent, using a buffing stick (oo-er). The first person to win three bouts is declared the winner - a tough event, but too simple to make you persevere.
Skate Or Die is an interesting collection of games, most of which are quite playable and enjoyable but none of which really stand out. If you're a skateboarding freak this is good value for money, and even it you're not there is some quite compelling gameplay, but it's not a game I'll be returning to that often.
MARK ... 67%
'Skate Or Die isn't really much fun at all. The graphics are poorly drawn and badly coloured. Gameplay is limited, either whizzing about in the U-shaped ramp, zooming downhill or suffering the awful Pool Joust. Most of the events are reasonably enjoyable to get to grips with, but addictiveness is low - particularly if you haven't got a disk drive. As for the sound, well if you do actually find any, then congratulations to you - I couldn't! Skate Or Die is unattractive, unaddictive and uninspiring.'
MIKE … 41%
Poor graphics, no sound and unexciting gameplay won't impress the betties.
Boffing sticks at the ready in the Pool Joust section.
The contestant comes to grips with the Downhill Section.
Never mind the betties, you'd better impress the judges with your bio skating.