Up high on my list of favorite Commodore C64 games is Skate or Die by Electronic Arts which was released in 1987. I used to play this a lot with friends way back when and would often load it in conjuction with other multi-event games (Californian Games, Summer, Winter and World games by Epyx) to form one huge sporting competition. Even today it still plays really well, and thanks to the disk version, hardly any load times.
Players can compete in the event individually or sequentially with up to eight players all competing for the title of best skater. The first event ‘freestyle’ is probably my most favorite as you try to rack up the points performing as many tricks on the halfpipe ramp as you can within ten passes. Extra speed can be gained by pressing the fire button as you skate over the two shaded areas of the ramp which is a must if you want to get enough height to pull of 108o or more rotation.
Only 325 points after 5 passes, I need more practice!
Next is the highjump which again is on the halfpipe ramp. Simply hammering furiously at the left and right keys will build up your speed and get you the best jump height. For extra flair, tap the fire button to perform a skateboard grab.
Jam is the name of the next event which see you race against your opponent down a back alley street navigating or jumping over obstacles as you jockey for the lead position. Get close to you opponent and you can give him a good kick which, is rather unsporting, but loads of fun! This event is full of humurous aniamation such as when you fall into an uncovered manhole, or skating through a chainlink fence see your character getting sliced and diced. For extra panache, jump on to the bonnet of the police car at the end of the race.
The next event is another of my favorites as you race the downhill circuit as fast as you can, again navigate obstacles and ramps. There’s a couple of different routes that you can take but i always like to hit this large ramp to gain speed. Like the Jam event, this level is full of great little animations should you get things wrong.
The last event is rather a bizarre one, but probably the most fun when played with a friend. Skating inside an empty swimming pool the the object is knock your opponent over with a jousting pole. It’s very surreal but it’s a hilariously game of cat and mouse…on skateboards!
Come ‘ere Pete, I’ve got something for you!
..and of course, I can’t write about Skate or Die without mention of that incredible loading tune by the legendary SID chip musician Rob Hubbard. The first time I heard it i couldn’t believe my trusty breadbin C64 was capable of such things.