Pull on your skates, put on your shades, jam on your cap and get down to the local multi-storey car park where your prowess on eight wheels is put to the test in the 'Car Park Challenge'.
As a skater who wants to prove his def-ness and improve his street cred, the player grooves his way around one level of the car park which has been turned into a multi-directionally scrolling arena for the gladiators of roller racing. The skater has cans to kick over, litter to collect and obstacles to avoid in the shape of cones, ramps, sand, bouncing balls, flying frisbees, mazes of tyres and rocks, and even other skaters. Finishing each level is a battle against time to negotiate a series of gates in a set order, the next gate being signified by a row of dots which flash between its flags.
To complete each round successfully, though, suitably impressive stunts and tricks are carried out to appease a set of four judges. These each have a card which they periodically display at the bottom of the screen, notifying the player of his progress.
When the player's energetic jumping skills have gained enough points to qualify, he skates through the finishing gate and has his performance rated. Failing to qualify forces the player to skate around the car park against the clock, picking up a set number of pieces of litter.
Beating a level allows the player to skate to the level's exit ramp, from where he chooses to move up to the next level or leave the car park and move onto the next part of the game, 'The Skate Crazy Championship Course'.
This section of the game is a race against time over four horizontally scrolling cityscapes of platforms and ramps, with the player building up speed on his skates using a paced joystick waggling movement. Ground level obstacles and gaps in the floor are crossed with leaps of controllable strength and items at head height are avoided by judicious ducking. Birds and other creatures also spell doom for the heroic skater, unless he is able to avoid them or throw things at them.
Points are scored in this section by picking up extra skating paraphernalia, such as pads, clothes, skates and litter.
Though it isn't quite as brilliantly animated, well presented or varied as EA's Skate Or Die, this latest Gremlin offering is an addictive and enjoyable addition to the skate sim range.
Visually, it's very smart, even if the main character lacks in frames of animation: the snippets of parallax scrolling work very well, the backdrops are detailed and (usually) very pretty and the overall effect is cute and colourful.
In both sections, your character picks up a fair turn of speed, and jumping over predetermined or random obstacles or performing tricks for points is an immediate pull. The multi-load is nicely implemented into the game structure, since it simply means flipping the cassette with all current scores saved for the next level.
Once you've mastered the slightly unfriendly controls on the horizontally scrolling sections, there's plenty of skating action to be enjoyed.
Skate Crazy sports some very impressive graphics and sound - the backdrops are very colourful and the sprites are almost cartoon-quality.
The first section is very enjoyable, a sort of obstacle race over a multi-directionally scrolling backdrop. The going is pretty tricky at first, with a pleasantly frustrating control method, but perseverence reaps rewards, and it doesn't take long before the skater is zooming around under full control.
Unfortunately the second part, the horizontally scrolling dodging game, isn't no appealing due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay - it's good fun at first, but you end up doing the same moves over and over again.
Having said that, Skate Crazy is still worth a look if you're into whacky arcade games.
The best thing about this game is undoubtedly the very well drawn graphics and their implementation. The parallax scrolling in the second game is particularly effective and contributes to making this an impressive package.
I have to admit that I found the game slightly over-difficult, due to some pretty tight time limits in the first part and a tricky control method in the second. Building up sufficient speed to leap obstacles on the Championship Course is difficult because it's so easy to crash and interrupt the flow of my joystick waggling.
The ability to cavort around the car park challenge course amongst tyres, cones, and ramps is good fun though, and the combination of litter collecting and ramp jumping is nice and unusual.
The cassette multi-load wasn't half as tortuous as I feared and, on the whole, I think it would be worth a look if you're willing to part with a tenner this month.
Well presented on-screen but not many options to fiddle.
Colourful cartoon sprites and backdrops.
Bouncy Daglish title track and appropriate effects.
Enjoyable action from the outset.
Basically two different games, but could becomes ultimately repetitive.
A smart skate-about which is well worth a look.