Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble

The original Skate or Die! pretty opened and closed the book on 8-bit competitive skateboarding games. Yet, there was a sequel, a sequel that is only tenuously connected to its predecessor. Good enough, I’d say.

Skate or Die 2 does feature a half-pipe that you can do tricks on. You get three minutes or three lives to score as many points as possible, and if you do well enough CJ (one of the characters from the main game) will hang out of her window and cheer for you, doubling your points for a time. The best part of the mode? The hilariously bad ways your character can wipe out. You can miss your landing on a trick and fall through the bottom of the ramp, you can fall off the bottom of the screen into some bowling pins, etc.

The real meat and potatoes of this game, other than the theme song (with lyrics!), is the Adventure Mode. Adventure Mode tells a particularly convoluted story about a series of events that begins with you (our hero) riding your board down the sidewalk and being (quite easily) distracted by Icepick (the local loco), resulting in the squishing of the mayor’s wife’s dog, which causes the number one activity in the city of Elwood, skateboarding, to be outlawed (Major bummer, dude!).

What to do?

Inexplicably, the following sequence of events takes place: you defeat the mayor’s wife with your paintball gun, skating is somehow reinstated, you get a part time job delivering packages to stores in the local mall to pay for a new halfpipe, but the plans get accidentally blown out the window and on to the beach, you collect the plans, but the building permit and your love interest (CJ from the half-pipe) get stolen in the meantime, so you go to the requisite abandoned warehouse to confront Icepick, get back the permit, and rescue CJ. Oh, and Rodney and Lester from the first game (remember the tenuous connection to the first game?) will pop up every now and then to trade the tapes, CDs, tacos and bags of fries you collect in exchange for tricks and updated skateboards.

Amazingly, all of this takes place in four stages with cutscenes to fill in the missing information. And with only four stages, you’d assume that you could finish this game in an afternoon. And you’d be deluding yourself. This game is unforgivingly, brutally hard. Oh, and you only get one life to complete the game. I played this game for weeks and eventually managed to make it to the warehouse, but only just. I’d usually peter out somewhere around the beach level, either succumbing to the body-builders that explode when you hit them with paintballs or running out of time.

I did manage (with a Game Genie to give me unlimited life) to make it far enough into the warehouse to get the permit, but got so completely lost in the ridiculously complex maze that I gave up after a couple of hours. I can only assume that after the end of the game you get your ramp built and it turns out to be the halfpipe in the trick mode, making the game nice and circular.

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