Sometimes I amaze myself. I can race fast cars, destroy entire races of alien filth and outrun the world's top athletes (on a computer, of course) but can I rollerskate? Can I flip?
Gremlin's Skate Crazy had me completely flummoxed for ages. Now I can't profess to have ever been anything but a poor roller-skater in real life, so I'll freely admit that I found this game virtually impossible! Not only is there an unpleasantly realistic tendency to fall over at the slightest gust of wind or break in concentration, but you are forced to perform remarkably hair-raising feats merely in order to impress the judges lurking at the bottom of the screen. If the judges aren't suitably impressed by your spiralling jumping antics, then you simply won't progress to the next skate course.
You view the course in that funny angle that isn't quite plan view or side-on. Anyway, it seems to be about the best way to handle things, as the screen needs to scroll in all directions. Fantastic though it was, 720's forced perspective was a little restricting.
The graphics, while I'm on the subject, are better than 720' They're larger and more comical - you rub your head and scrape yourself off the ground after each tumble, and there are different frames of animation when you're slipping on oil or stuck in sand too.
I found that spins - performed by twisting the joystick around in a circle were tricky to complete, but that's probably down to my poor dexterity and SU'S decrepit joystick.
The main aim of the first part, is to race around the course - indicated by arrows on the floor - dodging obstacles and jumping jumps. You've got to weigh up the advantages of simply racing around in as quick a time as possible, thus taking less risks and not losing any credibility points, or trying lots of bold manoeuvres and taking more time.
One of the most satisfying is jumping in the air off a ramp, spinning through 180 degrees and landing backwards. Unfortunately, this reverses your controls, and you'd have to be nothing short of a genius to retain your balance. If you manage to make your way successfully through the four courses, you'll be taken to Level 2, which is a side-on, skatey jumps affair, with lots of features. It's kind of Monty on Wheels.
Skate Crazy is definitely a classy product. The two levels give it enough variety and the gameplay itself is really rather good. If you've got 720', you'd have to look quite carefully before buying, but if you're in search of a wheely game that isn't as wildly unrealistic as a race-car prog., you should get your skates on and get it. (That's it. You're fired - G.T)
Innovative skating affair. Nice graphics, reasonable depth and a sense of humour.