Skate or Die was one of those games that just about everyone owned, or knew someone that owned back in the heyday of the NES. It's a true classic. While not the most well-rounded game, it can take up hours of your time after you learn the basic controls, it magnetically draws you in and keeps you hooked.
Just about every Skate or Die player will tell you, the "real" game is all in the ramp. While the game is split up into several different games, the ramp is the only worthwhile mode of play, and so this review will focus primarily on that. There is a practice mode and a competitive mode for each of the games, the only difference with competitive mode is that your score is kept up with and up to 8 people can play (taking turns, sharing the same controller) and the computer will tell you which person goes next (you have to register your name).
What sucks about the ramp is, you are only allowed 10 "passes", or trips from one side of the halfpipe to the other, whether you're practicing or not. This interrupts gameplay and keeps you from getting on a roll. Pressing different button and D-pad combinations while on the lip of the ramp is how you pull off different tricks, and the more elaborate and harder-to-pull-off the trick is, the more points you get, generally. Also, on the left side of the ramp is a roll-in, which you CAN'T roll in off of (which never made any sense to me), and stands as the only kind of obstacle on the ramp, if you do a trick over the roll-in your points are doubled!
The real goal of the ramp, IMO, is beating your high score. It takes a lot of effort to put together a run that will net you a lot of points (my current high score is around 21,000, can anyone beat that?). This is a good game to play with 2 players, it lets the competitiveness really heat up.
As for the other games, they're OK I guess. Nothing fancy, I usually get bored after 2-3 minutes and go back to the ramp, I've honestly never played the other games that much. It would be better if Konami focused all of thier attention towards the halfpipe, and not bothered with the wasted space of the other games. Thinking of how much better the ramp could have been hinders the games overall score considerably. But, all things aside, Skate or Die is still a great game, if only for the ramp section. I can't wait to get my hands on Skate or Die 2...
Good graphics, fair amount of detail
They're nothing special
Okay music and SFX
I never really notice it being there
One of the first skateboarding games, and still the best
Great gameplay on the ramp, really keeps you playing
All the other games are hum-drum
Replay Value 7
You'll want to beat your high scores
It can start to feel boring at times