Originally Published: 2013-06-06 00:00:00
Hey there Mao Mao Games dudes and dudettes! Let’s harken back to the 90s for some rad inline skate racing action! That’s right, this time Game On! Thursday is all about Skitchin’! for the Sega Genesis or MegaDrive for those of you elsewhere. Skitchin’ is a radical racing game by Electronic Arts back in the mid-90s. It uses their successful Road Rash engine and Road Rash formula and recycles it into a game all its own. Road Rash is a bit of a timeless game, it’s goofy motorcycle gang members, and that makes it relatable, unless motorcycles suddenly become extinct. Skitchin’ on the other hand is about a bunch of punk/thrasher rollerbladers with bad attitudes grabbing on the back of moving cars to illegally race across famous cities. I dunno about you but I don’t see many kids rollerblading anymore, so it will probably come across very cheesy today. It’s still fun and a nice twist from the tried and true Road Rash formula.
What makes Skitchin’ unique besides the somewhat cheesy radical attitude and style is the gameplay. This is where it counts, the game is MUCH more challenging than Road Rash in that you’re unable to keep up and pass traffic. Traffic is a major hazard to our dudes on rollerblades, cars can pass you and they will and if you’re in their way they won’t swerve and be good drivers, no they’ll just run you right over. In addition to cars going both ways, you’ll have construction signs, gravel, oil slicks, billboards, and all kinds of other things in your way. Take too much damage on your wheels from gravel for instance and you’re done. You’ll lose the race and have to spend your hard earned money on new wheels.
Hey Dude, wanna buy some rad skate gear from the back of my van?
So you may be thinking, ‘if we can’t move all that quickly and can’t pass traffic, this sounds like a boring game’. Wrong, unlike Road Rash there’s a good bit of strategy involved here in the form of Skitchin’. Whoa?! The name of the game is the core mechanic. That’s right, skitchin’ or grabbing on to a moving vehicle is your main form of speed to pass your foes and reach the finish line first. You can hold down the ‘A’ button and your character will crouch down and assume a positiong to grab a passing car. This is handy since cars pass you pretty easily. You also have a rear-view mirror so you can see them coming up behind you. Skitchin’ will take practice though as if you’re not in the sweet spot, your character will either get run over or you’ll just look stupid and not grab the car. While you’re happily riding along holding the bumper of your host car you are still susceptible to obstacles and other racers. You can still hit gravel and oil slicks and lose your grip. Additionally other racers can grab your host car and try and beat you off of it. With luck and the ‘C’ button you can beat them off first. With luck you’ll skitch your way to first place where you’ll go to the next city and be able to win money to grab new skate gear and be cheered on by the fans.
Overall the game is fun. There’s a 2 player mode where you can race a friend as well which makes the fun last even longer. If you have a Genesis and like Road Rash it’s very much worth checking out. You can snag a complete copy for maybe $10 on Amazon so there’s no price deterrant here.
Images borrowed from Sega-16 under non-profit fair use.