Skate or Die!
Summer's here, and it's time to take it to the ramp. The sun's hot, but you're only a skateboard ride away from a cool breeze. But what if the weather turns bad, and you still want to skate? No problem — Skate or Die: Tour de Thrash is the next best thing. The game's designers obviously studied up on this free-form sport before adapting it to the Game Boy. The results are realistic and a heckuva a lot of fun.
Tour de Thrash lets you choose between two types of skateboarding. There's the traditional stunt ramp, with points awarded for the flashy execution of tricky moves. Or you can go speed-racing through the giant sewer pipes of eight famous cities.
Each event demands different skills. The Retro-Rocket Ramp offers the most free-form style of competition — you decide which moves you want to try, and in what order you'll try them. All moves require careful manipulation of the controls as you work the directional pad and the A and B buttons in a variety of combinations.
The other event, the Stale Fish Tour, is far more structured and pressured—but it's also more fun. Racing against a strict deadline, you must travel the entire length of a city sewer pipe in the shortest possible time. To make things worse, each pipe contains a number of barriers you have to jump. It's easy to clear some of the barriers, but others don't leave you much room. And there's no map of the pipe, so you can't anticipate which obstacles lie ahead — they just appear. During moments of panic, this game could be called Jump or Die, because those become your only choices.
You begin the Stale Fish Tour in Los Angeles, which serves as an easy introduction. But the challenges get progressively wilder and more difficult as you move on to other cities. How else can you explain a tour that makes stops in such diverse places as Las Vegas, Nevada, and Chernobyl, USSR?
Skate or Die: Tour de Thrash emphasizes action, not strategy. It's a hand-eye workout with its own sense of style and excitement. When you come out of a wicked curve and shoot through a hole in a concrete board-trap, Tour de Thrash makes you feel like you're there — way out there.
- Manufacturer: Ultra
- Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System
By now, virtually every computerist is familiar with Electronic Arts' Skate or Die. This unique game, released way back in 1986 for the Commodore 64, has since then become a computer classic. And not only that, after all these years of being translated onto almost every computer system there is, Skate or Die is still considered to be a hit even by today's standards. Now, Ultra has brought this computer-entertainment favorite to NES players.
Skate or Die consists of five skateboarding events; the first two are ramp challenges. In one, you must move your skateboarder back and forth on a U-shaped ramp to perform stunts like hand plants and midair flips. The more tricks and stunts you do on this event - and the wilder they are - the more points you're awarded. On the other ramp challenge, you must build up enough momentum so that your skateboarder can fly up the right side of the ramp. The higher he soars, the higher your total score will be.
The next two events are downhill races. The first is a solo run through a city park littered with obstacles, ramps and tunnels. The goal is to make it to the finish line in the shortest time possible. Bonus points are earned for riding your skateboarder up the ramps and through the tunnels. The second course is a head-to-head race against either a friend or the computer. It's a mad dash to the finish as you move your skateboarder through a back alley. To gain a lead, kicking and punching your opponent off his or her board is allowed. But don't get too carried away or you'll run into a garbage dumpster, fall in an open manhole or, if you accidentally skate through one, get diced up by a chain-link fence.
The fifth screen is the most demanding and competitive - the pool joust. You and another player skate up and down the inside of a drained swimming pool. One of you starts out with a bopper stick, and that person tries to knock the other off his or her board, while the "bopperless" skateboarder tries to avoid being whacked. If, after three attempts, you fail to "de-board" your opponent, he or she gets to have a hand at swinging the bopper. Three computerized opponents are available to choose from should you not have a friend to joust against. A word of caution, though: watch out for Bionic Lester. His advice to all potential challengers is the title of the game - "skate or die!"
You can practice the skateboarding courses individually or together, one at a time, in a tournament. Once you feel you're ready, sign your name up at the skate shop and compete in all events or just the one of your choice. In Skate or Die, a lot of flexibility in game selection is available to the player.
Ultra has faithfully reproduced Skate or Die from the computers to the NES. All the screens and features from the Electronic Arts original are here (with the exception of the skateboard color/design selection menu).
One fault is apparent: your skateboarder's response to your controls is somewhat sluggish and unresponsive at times. But this might not be fair since I'm making a direct comparison to the computer version. The controls are indeed workable once you get used to them.
Despite some minor flaws, Ultra's rendition of Skate or Die for the NES stands on its own - and is just as great as the computer original. No other skateboarding game for the NES compares to this classic. There's an old saying, "once a classic, always a classic". Ultra's Skate or Die makes an old saying like this sound new.
There's a new skater in town -- you! So whacked-out Rodney Recloose and his gang of skateboard fiends are hot to check out your stuff. Here's the original NES skateboarding game that started it all, Skate or Die, a true classic from Konami/Ultra.
A Rad lnfested World
You learn all the rad moves as you tackle five skateboard events -- the Downhill Race, the Jam, the High Jump, the Joust, and the Freestyle. Beat Rodney's boys and you etch your name onto the Trophy Screen.
The Downhill Race is a test of timing and speed as you jump ramps, duck through pipes, and put the moves on other obstacles in a wild, vertically scrolling slalom. Skate fast as hell!
- If you go for the left side ramp in the Downhill Race, duck into the pipe to build up style points and shave precious seconds oil your time.
- Leap the grates tor 500 points.
- If you skate the Downhill's right side, jump the first barrier and duck under the second barrier for big points.
The Jam is a vertically-scrolling bump and run jaunt through a messy back alley where you thrash it out with one of Rodney's gangsters.
Just alter the first wire fence in the Jam scoot over to the tar left. There's a time-saving path through the building you can't see. Ride a line to the left of the can.
In the High Jump, you go vertical off a monster ramp; he who defies gravity the longest wins.
In the High Jump press A at the top of your jump for a few extra inches.
In the Joust, you and a berserk wheelhead rock and roll across Rodney's empty swimming pool trying to knock each other off your boards.
On offense during the Joust, make a tight figure 8 pattern that intercepts your opponent's path. Stay alert when the stick changes hands, sometimes you can score a quick hit.
The Freestyle pumps up your creative juices as you hit the ramp to choreograph a slick program of Rail Slides, Hand Plants, Ollies and Aerials.
- In the Freestyle, the longer you bold a Hand Plant the more paints you score. But don't hold one too long.
- When you do Ollies in the Freestyle, press A at least twice In the Pump Zone, press the directional pad forward (in relation to the direction I you're skating) to jump, then hit Backward to stop the turn in mid-air tor a solid landing.
Rolling Right Along
Up to eight people can play at once (taking turns, of course). Also, you can use Goofy Foot, where right becomes left and up becomes down. It's a great handicap for good skaters.
If you're nuts about skateboarding, this is the game for you. The Downhill, the Freestyle, the Jam, and the Joust will really grab you. The High Jump's a bit monotonous, but four out of five ain't bad.
Hardcore thrashers always brag about being able to skate anything. Alright, Skate or Die!
It's a rad-infested world. It's a place where a three-foot plank on wheels is the basic mode of transportation, and sweet-and-sour burritos are considered health food. It's a place where you Skate or Die. Now available in Nintendo and PC-compatible versions, Skate or Die has five events to tax your ramp-riding talents in unique ways. The events include downhill racing, pool jousting, high jumping, the freestyle, and the alley jam. The sooner you learn how to finesse a footplant, rev a rail slide, and arc an aerial, the better your chances will be.
The downhill race requires speed and agility on the board in a solo race against the clock. The more obstacles you clear — over, under, through, or around — the better your score.
The pool joust is a pool party gone haywire. Offensively, your goal is to punish your opponent with a boffing stick. When weaponless, scramble to stay alive. The first jouster with three knockdowns wins.
Freestyle is where you can show your flair in the air. Each competitor gets ten passes on the ramp. It's skateboarding sans the scars, so air it out. The harder stunts reap higher scores.
To succeed in the high jump, go fast. That's all you need to know. Because of its simplicity, this event is probably the least appealing. Finally, combine everything you learned in the first four events to be the first to the finish in the alley jam. Try to smash tin cans, garbage cans, and your opponent without sacrificing speed. Race a friend, an enemy, or Bionic Lester.
The PC version of Skate or Die has fresh, clear graphics — far superior to the Nintendo version. However, the Nintendo game offers greater maneuverability, both in the air and on the concrete.