Skirmish (Go-Dax) Review | Electron User - Everygamegoing

Electron User

By Godax

Published in Electron User 5.08

Imagine a world in which you sit astride a giant ostrich and engage in medieval-style jousting contents with opponents riding giant buzzards. This is the setting for Joust, Atari's smash arcade hit.

It sets itself apart from most other games by taking the idea of a two player game one stage further - you play not only against another human player, but also against a number of other computer opponents. Thus half a dozen combatants can be on the screen at once.

Now we have Skirmish, a superb conversion of this arcade favourite. Once loaded, three landing stages are displayed and you are invited to start the game.


I found that the player sprites look rather messy because of the crammed-in detail. Aside from this minor point, Skirmish faithfully re-creates all the addictive qualities of the original.

The controls are simple: Left, right and flap. The last control causes your bird to flap its wings once. Press it repeatedly to hover and faster still to gain height.

Skirmish features three different types of computer controlled rider - the bounders, wearing armour, are fairly easy to defeat, the Hunters are more cunning and the Shadow Lords are almost impossible to dismount.


To win a joust you must fly into an opposing player making your lance is higher than his. A vanquished human opponent loses a life and reappears somewhere else on the screen.

However, a computer opponent falls off his mount and turns into an egg, while his riderless buzzard flies off into the distance. You must grab the egg quickly or it will hatch, spawning a rider of the next grade.

If your lance is lower than your opponent's, you will die and your bird will fly mournfully away. You soon learn to fly to the top of the screen as quickly as possible, but even this commanding position is by no means safe.


When all the computer controlled riders have been defeated the next wave stage begins. Later stages add even more nasties: The lava troll that stalks along the bottom of the screen ready to grab any foolhardy contestant who comes too close. And the indestructible pterodactyl that flies backwards and forwards until the wave has ended. The pterodactyl can appear on earlier waves if you take too long to dispose of your opponents - give it lots of air space.

Skirmish provides all the useful features that make all the difference to any good game: Pause/restart, sound on/off and quit game are all included. I can recommend it wholeheartedly - and it's even better if you have a Slogger Turbo board fitted.

It is one of the most playable games I have seen this year and will certainly lead to many late nights. To quote the loading commentary: Prepare to joust, buzzard bait.

Martin Reed

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