Review: Death Skid Marks

Platform: Steam      Should I get it: Probably. Why not?

death_skid_marks_8

Upon booting this game, I was immediately warned by the Federal Bureau of Mullets that the use of drugs was probably not a good idea in real life, even if they raised my stats in this game. Ah Nostalgia.

And that’s kind of the the theme of the game.

Death Skid Marks is a heavy metal influenced top view driving game, the sort of thing we haven’t seen since GTA 1&2 or maybe even Spy Hunter.

You play Mark Skids, a mullet wearing moron dumb enough to wear black leather in the burning desert, who wants to get to a concert of his favorite band (the awesomeness of the band depends on the difficulty level). Along the way, you’ll pick up hitchhikers, arm them with a variety of dangerous weapons, and kill absolutely anyone who gets in your way – which is pretty much everyone.

In my first play through, I picked up a guy in a horse mask, a bear (not the animal kind) and a probe obsessed alien. I hacked apart expats of Vin Diesel, Barney,  Chuck Norris, the Westborough Baptist Church, and a bunch of white supremacists. I picked up a variety of jobs, earning cash for killing enemies in specific ways or blowing up cars or surviving levels, and used them to upgrade my car, buy new gear, or raise their stats with drugs. Eventually, my melee focused vehicle ran up into something I couldn’t handle – a car with a weird low sort of roll cage that effectively made it immune to melee weapons. I didn’t have the power to push it off the road, and eventually the thing killed me. I learned to add some ranged weapons and upgrade steering.

The game has random procedural generation, which leads to some hilariously unfair moments (I once got hit by a boxing glove into a concrete divider, which instantly killed me) though sometimes its unfair for the computer (Picking up a premium machine cannon, for instance). Eventually, I managed to win a game after picking up a “Doom Saw” and a bunch of premium assault rifles.

Thankfully, like most Roguelikes, there is decent replayability here. The game offers a number of bonus modes including an arcade function, increasingly hard modes, endurance modes, and a bunch of unlock-able vehicles. I think they end boss could use a little work (unless I’ve just been very unlucky, he’s the only non-random element in the game, and I think multiple end bosses might help a bit). I certainly won’t be unlocking every option, but I’ll probably be playing this game a bit more.

Theme: The game is coarse, crude and immature and it knows it, marketing itself towards “Mature gamers with immature minds.” It is by no means politically correct. The characters are caricatures, and ugly ones at that.  The game certainly has a lot of problematic elements, but it doesn’t spend too much time on any of them that I was really upset by them.  Still, your mileage may vary, and you aren’t going to see any positive portrayals of any aspect of humanity in this game.

Graphics: Fairly simplistic, with an ugly, coarse art style. It has a certain primitive appeal. The game tries to keep the screen relatively clear of clutter (it needs to, given the fact you can only see stuff on the road a few cars lengths infront of you).

Tips:
Hire anyone till you have 4 people, and give them all jobs. The best jobs are ones that give you money for killing crew or blowing up a vehicle.

An all melee party is very hard to run, but if you do, make sure you have REALLY good wheels on your vehicle so you can deal with a vehicle with rambars.

Early on, gambles like Russian Roulette or experimentation are almost always worth it.

Buy a medikit and wrench fairly early.

You generally want to hit enemy cars in the same spot to kill them. Just damaging every area is pointless. Alternatively, you can just kill all the crew.

When in doubt, hit them on the driver’s side. They’ll have less people to hit you there.

The geek brother’s super weapons are hilariously overpowered, particularly if you manage to upgrade them.

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