Game: "Ski Or Die!"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published by: Electronic Arts
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Review: When you’re talking about skateboarding becoming a viable video game sport, you’ve got to talk about Skate or Die! But what about when winter comes ‘round? When the snow starts to fall, that’s when you must make yet another life-threatening decision: Ski or Die!
The basic setup is the same: start out in a shop, go outside to practice or compete in the five events, individually or all at once. You even get to see Rodney and Lester, the radical NPCs from Skate or Die, in a few brief cameos. Better still, a lot of the same controls have also carried over from Skate or Die. Heck even the same kind of catchy music from Skate or Die has made it into Ski or Die.
The controls are a bit finicky in some of the events, particularly in the Downhill Run. The event places out a lot like “Race” from Skate or Die, with the exception that you can’t jump whenever you like. There are places that you’ll need to jump, but you’ll be forced to time your button press at just the right moment to get any kind of jump out of your skier. Otherwise, all you’ll get is an embarrassing fall, followed by the shame of being placed on the easier path.
For its final event, Skate or Die featured a joust, which was still somewhat relevant because you jousted while skateboarding. Conversely, Ski or Die’s final event is a snowball fight. Not a ski-by tossing of snowballs, just you in a little fort besieged by bloodthirsty children. No skiing at all, apart from the skiers in the background (hitting them will earn you a penalty, unless the skier happens to be a penguin or chainsaw-wielding rabbit). It’s one of only two non-skiing events, and coincidentally, the easiest of the events.
The most entertaining event, however, has to be the Innertube Thrash. Again, not really skiing, but it’s so much fun you won’t care. Two men hop in innertubes and tube down a winding path, trying to get ahead of each other while avoiding certain death by way of the perilous cliffs. Adding to the competition, you also have the opportunity to deflate your opponent’s innertube by stabbing it repeatedly with a fork, dart, or pen knife, depending on what you can pick up along the way. Sure, you can compete with your friends indirectly in halfpipe and downhill run, but only the thrash makes it personal.
And speaking of friends, that’s really the only way to play this game. You can play solo, but again, as with Skate or Die, the computer player is only competition on one event, and there is no way to “win” the game. The only kind of victory you can get in the game is either defeating your own personal best, or edging out another person, whose disappointment at losing will be yours to savor. The correct choice should be obvious.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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