SKATE OR DIE 2 / Ultra (Konami) / NES

It's really a shame that Skate or Die 2's controls are so janky and level design is so subpar, because it otherwise had the elements to be a real winner. Seemingly inspired heavily by the Bill And Ted movies, Skate or Die 2 breaks from the annoying collection of irritating "events" of the previous game to bring you a 4-level adventure game with an ongoing plot that begins with your character accidentaly squishing the Mayor's dog.

The first level has you skating the length of some random street, preparing for a showdown with the Mayor's wife. To raise your power, you pick up dirty tacos and fries laying on the street, and trade them to Rodney and Lester (making a return from the first game) who sell you better boards and new moves, respectively. You also collect paint clips, M-80s and rotten eggs, which are used as weapons against the random dogs and skate punks that hassle you.

One button is assigned to jump, and the other is used in conjunction with holding a direction on the pad to perform whatever skate move you've assigned to them. This gets a bit clunky as it means you can't really control your direction of movement while using that button, so for example if you want to fire a weapon, you have to either continue rolling forward while you do it or come to a dead stop first. Your character also falls over instantly upon making even incidental contact with any solid object at all, making navigating a chore.

The showdown with the Mayor's wife, funny (and un-NES-like with her torso exploding when you pump her full of paint) though it is, is exemplary of how halfassed the game's design seemingly is. She just stands in one place and endlessly rolls and tosses stuff along a horizontal line, and if you simply park slightly above that line and unload with your paint gun, you beat her with no resistance whatsoever.

This leads you on to a fairly short and easy level running deliveries in a shopping mall, but then the game finishes up with two of the most irritating levels ever seen in gaming. The third is a beach level that has so many obnoxious respawning enemies and obstacles it's almost unplayable given the stiff controls, and then the final level is a long and crappy maze.

Much more interesting is "halfpipe mode", which controls a lot better and offers up a little more fun. In this mode you simply build momentum to get as much lift off the pipe as you can, and do various tricks in the air.

It seemed that Skate or Die 2's designers were content with just being cute and clever, and throwing in a lot of digitized voice samples, thinking that alone would sell the game and cover for the generally halfassed design and gameplay. It may have worked at the time, but the game really does not stand up now.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video