Amstrad Action


Skate Wars

Author: James Leach
Publisher: Ubisoft
Machine: Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

 
Published in Amstrad Action #61

Skate Wars

In the steel drome, two evil cyborg mutants face each other. The arc lights glint off their armour-plated bodies. Between their steel skates is a ball bearing... the size of a football. Skate Wars is not just a game. The (misshapen) lives of the players are at stake.

The bout starts. The silver player, Remistar, slams into his opponent, Mandrax. Both are sent flying. Mandrax is up first, and gets to the ball. He slides across to the enemy goal. He is hit from behind with sickening force, but manages to slam the ball in before he meets the steel wall. It's a goal!

What they are playing is a sort of football on ice. There are no rules, and the play can get as violent and physical as you want it to be. Each team has three players and a goalkeeper. Only one player per team is in the rink at any one time, so it's one-on-one combat for possession of the ball. You have three-dimensional control of your player, who can also kick, using the fire button. Kicking is not just reserved for the ball. You must bump and barge your opponent to get to his goal, frequently knocking him off his feet. He does the same to you. Slam the ball past the armoured keeper into the steel chute, and your already hysterical supporters go berserk.

Skate Wars

Five goals gets you to the next level. Here the rink has obstacles to bounce off, rather like a bar-billiards table. It is very satisfying to slam your opponent's face into one of these, and watch him collapse onto the floor. So far, you'll have been playing to win. Later rounds introduce the struggle for your very survival. The rink has large rectangular holes in the floor. If your player falls, or is knocked dowm one of these, he dies.

If your remaining men survive they get to fight (rather than play) on a rink with touch-sensitive mines on it. These spiky objects kill you just as efficiently as the holes. Often during these later matches you end up fighting and kicking your opponent nearer and nearer to a mine or hole; the ball forgotten somewhere else on the rink...

Those who have seen it will certainly be thinking of the movie Rollerball. The idea is very similar, but without the large teams or mopeds. Even the idea that it starts off with just nasty fouls and ends up with complete on-rink armageddon is mirrored. The futuristic cyber style of the game is certainly reminiscent of the film. You can play against the computer or another player. The computer sometimes lacks the killer instinct that makes us humans so superior when it comes to inflicting destruction, so it is usually possible to win by playing dirty. By far the most enjoyable scenario is when you play against another human.

Skate Wars

The distinctly aggrieved feeling you get when your friend (enemy?) has just knocked you down to get the ball back right outside his goal can only be matched by the feeling of savage elation you get when you smash him into a

Second Opinion

Excellent graphics, and oodles of playability. Not much variety on successive levels added to the sheer fun factor makes up for all that. A great little game.

First Day Target Score

Kill your first opponent.

Verdict

Graphics 83%
Nice and fierce.

Sonics 61%
Bit of a let-down.

Grab Factor 88%
Super fun, as only wanton violence can be!

Staying Power 74%
Play it when you're in a violent mood.

Overall 80%
Nicely-styled game of GBH and ball-bearings.

James Leach

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