Game: "Ski Or Die!"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Simulation
Published by: Electronic Arts

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 12/15/2008

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Dec 15th, 2008, 09:47 PM
I remember the snowball fight, it was pretty fun back then.
Dec 15th, 2008, 09:57 PM
I quite enjoyed Skate or Die back in the day, but never knew this existed. To the emulator!
Dec 15th, 2008, 10:27 PM
Skate or Die was totally better.
Pickled Patriarch
Dec 16th, 2008, 02:33 AM
But 720° was better than Skate or Die, for it had killer bees that chased you. Killer bees are something that really should be introduced into winter sports games if you ask me.
drifting in the void
Dec 16th, 2008, 04:15 AM
Played this all the time on the Amiga when I was a kid, loved the halfpipe and the innertube events.
Last of the Time Lords
Dec 16th, 2008, 12:53 PM
I played Skate or Die all the time, but I've never even heard of this one until now.
Turrican't. :(
Dec 17th, 2008, 11:32 AM
AWESOME music in this game...
Forum Virgin
Dec 17th, 2008, 06:20 PM
I must have put over 100 hours into this game way back when ):
Dec 17th, 2008, 11:29 PM
I can't believe I didn't know about this game considering I must have logged 1000 hours of skate or die back in the day. Thanks for mentioning it boogie!
Retardedly Handsome
Dec 18th, 2008, 09:48 AM
This game is a waste of time. Just stick to playing skate or die. There is a good reason why many of you have not heard of the game before.

I can't believe that Rog would even consider putting 720 above skate or die. Not even close. Thats like saying back to the future is great because it has skatboarding and bees and we all know how fun that game is....
Dec 19th, 2008, 10:45 AM
I'd rather see a polar bear jumping out of one of the snow covered forests there to try to grab you and destroy your aspiring desire to best your opponent.
Turrican't. :(
Dec 21st, 2008, 10:19 AM
720° was novel because it pushed the Gauntlet hardware in ways that it was thought impossible (something about how the pits and walls were rendered, something something scanline bla bla bla I don't give a fuck and neither you do you). But if you play it, either on MAME, Midway Arcade Treasures, or the actual cabinet, you'll see that it's nothing more than a quarter-sucking arcade experience, while Skate Or Die is the embryo for what would come to be known as Thrasher: Skate and Destroy, the tadpole that would grown into the fully-evolved Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series.

So while I DO respect 720°'s place in history, you're being blinded by nostalgia if you consider it better than it's successors. It's like claiming that a Macintosh Classic is better than a quad-core modern day desktop PC. It has it's place in history, but are you REALLY expecting to do anything useful in today's world with it?

On the other hand, the Mac doesn't use Vista... ¬_¬