Skate Crazy

Author: Matt Bielby
Publisher: Gremlin
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Computer & Video Games #82

Skate Crazy

Skate Crazy is perhaps the world's first roller skating game. You play yer average street cred skate kid, zooming through what amounts to two games in one: a multi-dimensional scrolling thing where impressing the judges with your rad jumping is the order of the day, and a horizontally scrolling obstacle race. There are four levels of each, so you can either play one all the way through, or you can skip about playing rounds alternately - if you can stand the multi-loading!

Sound and graphics are very good throughout, with large well defined sprites and colourful backdrops backed up by a suitable jaunty tune. Especially nice is the way the impression of skating is conveyed. When you pass over sand you crunch to a stop, oil sends you spinning out of control, and you can easily slip back down a hill if you don't have the momentum to make the crest.

Of the four city scapes, the multi-directionally scrolling skate park is the section most similar to that earlier skateboarding game, 720 Degrees. You as the skater have to negotiate a series of flashing gates within a time limit, while at the same time adding points by kicking over cans, picking up litter and doing free style jumps which are marked by a panel of judges rather like in ice skating.

Skate Crazy

It's not as easy as all that though, because not only do you have to contend with bouncing balls, lethal frisbees and a whole bundle of obstacles from oil slicks to tyres, but you also have to contend with the initial difficulty of the controls. Jumping is achieved by releasing and pressing down the fire button, and managing to land the right way round after a mid air pirouette can be tricky to say the least.

One nice thing about this section of the game is that if you fail to qualify for the next round you are given another chance in a large car park where you simply have to collect a number of pieces of litter within a time limit.

Even better, though, is the horizontally scrolling section which utilises yet another control method again. Here you race along ducking some obstacles, jumping others against an almost impossibly tight time limit. The skating action is rather cleverly reproduced by the fact that you have to move the joystick back and forth to move, each movement represented on screen by a push of the skater's legs. Again, collecting litter is of importance, giving you the wherewithall to purchase pads, clothes, skates, etc, which improves your performance.

Jumping is achieved by pushing the fire button, while pushing the joystick up throws some of your collected litter. The result is that you often find yourself chucking everything you've collected by mistake, though if it should hit one of those birds or other creatures that spell doom for your sketer, it isn't a total waste.

An enjoyable, varied game that still looks perfectly good alongside such other fine skating games as Skate Or Die.

Matt Bielby

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