One of the main reasons I love collecting Game Boy games is that it gives me an excuse to relive my youth. Truly, many of the games that are highest on my wishlist aren't what you would consider classics. And in some cases they might not even be considered great games. But when you're young and your only source of games is what happens to be in stock the at the toy store the day your parents decide to get you a new one, you learn to love an ordinarily overlooked game because you can either spend some serious time with it, or just do your homework instead.
One such title that fits into this description is the 1990 Konami release Skate Or Die: Bad 'N Rad
. This is a title I played the hell out of in my pre-teens based mostly on the merits of the NES Skate Or Die
titles, along with the promise of an experience that would be equally bad AND rad -- two very enticing words to adolescents of the the 1990's.
This Game Boy sequel bares very little resemblance to the first NES game. The original game focused more on open-ended skating and the ultimate goal of becoming a skateboarding champion. Or at least shutting up that mohawked jerk at the skate shop. Bad 'N Rad
on the other hand plays out like an adventure game. On a skateboard. You must skate through each level and dodge lots of spikes, rats, thugs, and for some reason people in life rafts with tridents.
Similarly to what Konami did with their Game Boy Contra
games, they decided to split up the levels in Bad 'N Rad
between sidescrolling levels and overhead levels. This seemingly offers a challenge to gamers that are better than one or the other, which ultimately probably helped make the game last a bit longer. Unfortunately the other thing that made the game last so long was the extreme cheapness of the obstacles! You might land in water and get hit by it twice. Or a rat might run at you from a two pixel buffer zone between you and the end of the screen. And there are a lot of spikes in the town this skater lives in. But none of this really stops the game from being fun. It instead calls for a certain blend of eye-hand coordination along with level memorization which is somewhat similar to the approach that Konami took with their early Castlevania
Like most of Konami's early releases for Game Boy, they put an awful lot of detail into the graphical details as well as the music. In fact, the music in this game is certainly on par with the original NES release. The sound effects are few, but good when they do pop up. Most importantly the gameplay is stellar. Left and right will make your skater coast appropriately with enough control over speed; A jumps and B crouches which is a great touch when you use it to go through large pipes and other interesting tricks.
Later Konami released a Game Boy sequel titled Tour De Thrash
which I never got the chance to play. And though I won't try to say that Bad 'N Rad
is a completely unheralded classic, it's certainly classic to my own gaming memories. And it's definitely worth picking up if you happen upon it.