Not many people remember Skitchin’. It was a late-era MegaDrive game from EA that came at a time when people were starting to gear up for new systems like the PlayStation or the Saturn, or at the very least the Road Rash formula wasn’t turning heads any more. It’s a shame, because it’s one of my favourite MegaDrive games and fans of Road Rash should really do themselves a favour by playing it.
It’s basically Road Rash, but you’re on rollerblades instead of motorbikes and you can get speed and points boosts by “hitching” onto the back of vehicles, like Marty McFly did with his skateboard in Back To The Future. Each level is a race against other Skitchers, and you can punch them out of the way or use the environment like oncoming cars or oil spills to inflict more damage on them. There’s also ramps, and when you’re launched in the air you can perform tricks to earn extra points, which then gives you more cash at the end of the level to upgrade your skating gear. The action is fast, the roads are that nice long winding path that games like the early Road Rash and Need For Speed games got so right, and it’s just absolutely dripping in early ’90s grunge aesthetic that I just adore.
Special mention must go to the soundtrack, by Jeff van Dyck, who got lots of crunchy guitar sounds out of the MegaDrive’s FM chip. You should go check out Assault Android Cactus, because he did the soundtrack to that and it’s one of my favourite new games ever, seriously it’s amazing but anyway.
Back when I was in AAA game development we got word that EA were interested in hearing from developers who wanted to revive one of their old games. I immediately started writing a next-generation Skitchin’ pitch, but everyone else in the office just wanted to remake Wing Commander. Philistines!