Skate or Die 2 - The Search for Double Trouble

Submitted by b on Wed, 09/26/2018 - 09:33

Skate or Die 2 is one of those games that is probably mostly remembered because of one major thing, in this case its title screen music, and then kind of forgotten about the rest of the time.

And this game does have a pretty rockin' theme song, as you can tell in the video above. The NES screeching out the words, "SKATE! OR! DIE!" with its ridiculous (even for 1990) guitar riff was pretty impressive, as were the stupidly-long cutscenes between the levels.

And the first level dumps you right into the action. You have to skate the city streets, picking up tacos, fries, tapes, and CDs to use as currency to trade for skateboards (which make you skate faster) and extra tricks (which let you do more than just stand, jump, and shoot your paintball gun).

The first level, is either really easy, or really hard, depending on how you want to complete it. You can go straight for the Mayor's Wife and kill her off (no, really) in retaliation for her convincing the Mayor to ban skateboarding because you killed her dog while riding on your skateboard, or you can collect a bunch of the collectibles, trade them for skateboards and tricks and then go kill the Mayor's Wife (protip: you want to do the latter because if you don't, you're going to have a hard time completing the next couple of levels).

The second level has you making deliveries in a crowded mall with very strict time limits.

The third level has you trying to collect blueprints that have been scattered by the wind (due to that old comedy trope involving someone turning on an oscillating fan in front of a stack of Important Papers(tm)).

The fourth level has you going through an absolutely enormous warehouse to retrieve a construction permit and the main character's girlfriend, and making the bad guy cry by shooting him in the face a lot. Once that's all done, you can build the titular ramp and skate on it to your heart's content. Or you could have saved yourself some time and just do that from the beginning by hitting 'Select' instead of 'Start' at the title screen.

And you read that correctly, the game only has four levels, which seems like a small number, but that's only because it is a small number. But the levels are extremely difficult, mostly because your guy is glued to his skateboard and can't walk anywhere like a normal person so you can't do something complicated like walking up or down without also moving left or right because that's how skateboards work. Oh, and you only have one life, so when you run out of health, that's it, you're done and have to start the level over.

But, say you don't run out of health immediately because you got stun-locked in a corner with a barking dog, and you do finish the first three levels. Level four will be an unwelcome surprise. The warehouse you have to explore is easily longer and more complicated than the rest of the game combined, by a huge amount. It's easily twice as long as the rest of the game (maybe less if you collected everything on Level one).

Level four is so insanely complex and convoluted that I used a Game Genie to give myself infinite health and still gave up trying to find my way out of it after an hour (I probably should have used a map, but Kid Me rarely bothered with such things), and instead spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the ramp worked.

I never really figured out the controls for doing tricks on the ramp very well because they're pretty opaque, and I didn't have a manual at the time, so I was stuck just trying to figure it out as I went along, and failing spectacularly. I've since read the manual and it turns out that the reason I had mixed results was because the ramp controls are so obtuse that if you didn't have the manual you were going to have a hard time.

Skate Or Die 2 is one of those games that is pretty difficult, and it more fun than I'm letting on. Even though it only has four levels, they're tough enough that while you can get pretty good and pretty fast at beating them, if never really feels unfair. Plus, it's kind of worth it to hear all the voice samples that Electronic Arts managed to cram into the game (which is probably the real reason why the game only has four levels).