Have you ever wanted to experience the thrill of free falling 125 mph or faster? Have you ever wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane just to see if that piece of cloth strapped to your back would open? Well, if you have, then you are in for a hoot of a time, gentle reader. On the tail end of summer, out comes Skydive! from Gonzo Games & Electronic Arts, a skydiving simulation that tries to make you scream all the way down. As a player you get to choose from six or seven exotic locations from around the world, then take to the sky participating in either accuracy landing, free flying or target courses. Each game offers a unique look into the different aspects of skydiving. Throw in the music from the soundtrack on the CD and you're one grooving speed bullet.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
We all have a pretty good idea of the sensation you will get when jumping out of a perfectly good airplane; it's that "OH SOOOOoooooooot" sensation. I'm sorry to say that you're not going to get that while bailing out the back of a plane in Skydive!, but Gonzo made a great effort at it. I did find that trying to maneuver in the air during free fall gave me an awkward feeling of having no control. Overall, I enjoyed trying to get close to the bull's eye in the accuracy jumping, but I just couldn't get into all those wacky and wild aerial moves.
In the set-up screen on the Main menu you have the option of changing your video to "low," "high" or "3D." I have a 3D card on my computer and for the life of me could not get the settings changed to anything other than the high setting, so I was forced to live with grainy graphics. The game designers did a good job spreading the jump locations around; on one jump you might be gazing at the ocean as you approach the Bermuda landing site or watching UFOs zip around the atmosphere while jumping at White Sands. I considered the graphics for the actual skydiver character to be very average. I don't understand why they wouldn't let players pick their jump suits and chute; that way everyone gets involved. If Gonzo Games decides to make another Skydive! they should contact Jane's to help them out with the graphics for the ground; they have awesome satellite photos.
The audio in the game is very basic. Your skydiver gives out a little whoop of joy as he exits the plane; you then hear the rush of the wind as you pick up speed from free falling and then the reassuring "pop" of your parachute opening. You also have your choice of music to listen to while playing, which ranges from hard rock all the way to classical.
Win 95/98, 200Mhz Pentium or faster, 32 MB RAM, 65 MB hard drive space, 4X CD-ROM drive, AGP video card
I really had a tough time with the manual. If you don't have Acrobat 4.0 on your computer, you must install it in order to read the player's manual on the CD. Why not just put the darn manual on some paper for us? I would much rather have a few pages of paper instead of having to install Acrobat 4.0.
I have to give Gonzo Games a B+ for its effort on Skydive! It's an idea that, to my knowledge, hasn't been done before. Next time around, hopefully they will give the graphics a little twist here or there and make it more challenging, but for US$19.99 this is a quick and easy playing game for the times you just can't sit in front of the computer for hours. On that note, gentle reader, I give Skydive! a score of 69/100.