Skidmarks logo Gamer Gold

Burn rubber, slam down the accelerator, and skid like you've never skidded before in Acid Software's amazing little racer.

Yet another car racing game, but hey it's got a comedy title and it's one of the most playable and addictive little numbers I've ever laid my hands on. I don't know about you, but I absolutely lurve racing games. They bring out my competitive human spirit which is a bit of a dangerous thing to do. I unfortunately turn into a dribbling psychopath who will take on everyone in the whole world and try and beat them into submission.

The only slight problem is that if I lose I get these really bad feelings of intense hate and have to go and lie down in a darkened room until I'm calm once more. Call it bad sportsmanship, but I can't help myself.

This always happens when I'm playing a racer. Why? I don't know, but my psychiatrist told me to keep taking the pills and stay well away from them. Then out of the blue, Skidmarks happened (oh dear).

My whole attitude changed literally overnight and it's all thanks to those wonderful people at Acid Software who have created the cure to my problem. If I win I'm happy, but now if I lose I'm still happy and it's all because Skidmarks is so much fun, I can forget about my loss instantly because no sooner have I finished one game then I've started the next race-up.

There is one snog in all this, and that is that I'm completely addicted to it now and I'm having real trouble trying to turn my computer off. You're damn lucky that you've got this review to read, and it's only because I left Skidmarks at home and wasn't able to play it in the office.

Skidmarks, if you haven't guessed from the screenshots on the page, is a four-way scrolling isometric race-'em-up from hell. To come up with new ideas for a racer must be incredibly difficult, but Acid software have created a little beaut of a game that really does shine against its competitors. Overdrive by Team 17 is perhaps the only rival that comes close to being as good as Skidmarks.

The idea behind the game isn't that original and neither is it that interesting, but by golly it works. The objective is to race around 12 tracks against three other competitors (either human or computer-controlled), and thus try to win the race.

You receive points for the position you finish in - the higher the position the higher the points and the racer with the most points after completing the 12 tracks is the champion. Before you start, you must select your car from four. You must decide between a Porsche, Camaro, Monster Truck or Dirt Buggy and which particular shade of paint you want your motor in. I can heartily recommend the jade or the light purple!

The number of different cars you can have will depend on the amount of memory in your computer and whether you are using the enhanced AGA cars. The AGA cars are slightly more detailed than the bog-standard ones - as an example, the AGA cars have numbers on them. Not that useful I know, but often it's these little touches that turn good piece of software into a excellent one.

Another nice touch while we're on the subject is that when the cars go around the track they leave skidmarks behind them, and the track eventually becomes chewed up.

There are three modes of play in Skidmarks: Practice, Match race and Championship. Practice lets the individual palyer race the tracks without any competitions. Match race is for competing in one-off races on any track, while championship lets the player or players participate in a six-track series competing for points.

As with most racing games, it's more satisfying competing against a friend rather than your computer and Skidmarks is no different. By linking up two Amigas with a stanard null modem cable you can have a four-player race!

The two-player option is a bit restrictive though because the screen halves and unfortunately you see less track, but plenty of practice will put that right.

One of the best features of Skidmarks which I've failed to point out until now is the standard of the graphics. To say that they are excellent is quite an understatement. There are 800 frames of animation for each car, all of which have been lovingly ray-traced. The tracks are just as good and are well-designed and no matter how long you play it for don't get tedious.

The graphics and sound are amazing, but what really makes Skidmarks stand out from the rest is the fact that it is so playable. With the playability being so good this in-turn makes it one of the most addictive little racers you can buy.

With more track disks on the way from Acid Software you're almost guaranteed you'll never get bored. I could go on for hours praising this game, but I really only need to say two words. Buy it.

Skidmarks logo Amiga Format Gold

Skidmarks! Strange name for a game, bring to mind images of a long, dark coloured streak of... rubber on a road surface. What did you expect me to say? A poop mark in the pants? Never, we here at AF avoid toilet humour like we avoid going down the pub and drinking brain-numbing quantities of alcohol. And pinball.

The name of this four-way scrolling isometric view race-and-chase game comes from the fact that, as you speed around the track, you leave a fine set of tyre marks. As the game progresses, the track gets more and more chewed up, and the great thing is, when you come to start the next race on the same course, the track retains its distressed condition from the previous race.

If you have not played this game on Issue 51's Coverdisk yet, then you have not lived. As viewed from overhead racing games go, this is the yin to Micro Machines' yang. Whereas that game was massive fun in a cute, cuddly cartoon fashion, this is roadkill. If Skidmarks was a cartoon, it would be the Itchy and Scratchy show.

Subscribers will recall that the girls of the AF team love Micro Machines like they love strawberries dipped in champagne. It made them scream when they went round corners. It made them giggle and squirm too, a wonderful sight to behold. Non subscribers will wonder what the hell I am on about. We will be back to the Skidmarks review after this message...

Subscribers to Amiga Format get a special newsletter - Backstage - every month, giving them inside information what is going down in the AF offices. Recently in Backstage, Sue and Jules shared with us their fave game of 1993. They both chose Micro Machines.

Thank you, and now... where was I? Oh yes. The guys mentioned Micro Machines too, but we enjoy Skidmarks a whole lot more. It makes us scream things that we could never print here for fear of WH Smith removing all the copies of this issue from the shelves.

Use your imagination, you are hurtling along a mud-covered, tree-lined forest track, the corner is approaching fast, you pre-turn and slide into maximum oversteer. You look like you are about to pull the curve of your life, Carlos Saintz would be impressed, when out of nowhere, 'The Boy' Bradly barrels into view, hits you a vicious side swipe, the outcome of which is that he gets accelerated into first place and you end up tootling along in the wrong direction at six miles per hour (scale speed). C'mon! What would you scream?

Grunge computing
Did any of you read that feature on Grunge Golf in Details magazine recently? No, do not blame you, awful magazine, for yuppie-from-hell would-be-male models. And it has nothing to do with this review either. But Skidmarks is a bit of a grunge computer game. It brings out those primal competitive urges, better than running around in woods naked and bunging on big drums.

You get the concept of the game I am sure. You line up on a track with three other cars, you try to go around the track in the correct direction as quickly as possible until you cross the finishing line a predetermined number of times. It is a far from revolutionary concept, but one which Skidmarks takes to near perfection. Throw in the obvious options, choice of different vehicles, a dazzling array of car colour choices, choice of control methods, choice of different computer opposition teams and a choice of 12 tracks, and you end up with a sentence with far too many occurrences of the word choice.

And there is more; two-player mode via split screen, or two-player mode via null modem, giving full screen view to each player. Four players can play modem-linked, each using a split screen view. And you can dial someone up and play over the phone lines too.

Free updates
In keeping with Acid Software's commitment to PD and shareware innovation, the Skidmarks program disk is not copy protected. The car and track disks are, of course. So Acid can place revised and improved versions of the game in the Public Domain, so that the people with car and track disks, only availably by buying the full game, will be able to play the revised versions.

If you ever have the good fortune to get stuck in a pub with the guys from Acid Software, conversation will doubtlessly come around to the subject of computer game playability. These guys take their recreational computer software very seriously indeed, and they have more than a few harsh words to say for many of the so-called, self-styled computer games of today. But when they deliver games of this quality, with this degree of sheer, unrivalled playability, they have room to talk.

I would sum up Skidmarks by saying it is fast, furious and fun, only this phrase has been banned from the pages of Amiga Format due to overuse. But for once it would be particularly apposite. One thing is for sure though, this is a party game, if you are going to play it (and you should) play it against a friend. If you are old enough, drink beer too.

And if you are going to a friend's house to drink Skidmarks and play beer, take a taxi. Those radical driving manoeuvres you perfect on screen are fuel injected certain-deaths when practised on real roads.

Gib Gas, ich wil spass!

Skidmarks logo

Hier treten zwei neue Autorasereien (Burning Rubber & Skidmarks) gegeneinander an, die zunächst nicht sonderlich vielversprechend aussahen, sich aber bald als sehr spritzig entpuppten. Sollte das die Wiederentdeckung der Spielbarkeit sein?

Noch vor dem Start erschrickt man schon über die popeligen Screenshots auf der Packung, fortgeschrittene Byte-Mechaniker kriegen den nächsten Schock, wenn sie feststellen, daß Acid Software das Game größenteils in Basic geschrieben hat.Aber schließlich stammt auch das verwendete "Blitz Basic 2" aus derselben neuseeländischen Programmierecke - wer sollte sich also besser mit dieser Sprache auskennen?

Zu sehen sind die zwölf Strecken schräg von oben, wobei die Perspektive schon etwas zu steil ist, als daß man noch guten Gewissens von einer isometrischen 3D-Ansicht sprechen könnte. Der Bodenbelag besteht meist aus Asphalt oder Erde, ansonsten gibt es Sprungschanzen, Einbahnstraßen, Kreuzungen und vor allem Kurven in allen Verschlingungen.

Damit der Name der Rose auch seine Berechtigung hat, hinterlassen die Vehikel tatsächlich Brems-, Schleif- und Schleuderspuren auf dem Kurs. Gescrollt wird der komplette PAL-Overscan-Bildschirm, und das selbst dann noch perfekt, wenn man auf dem gesplitteten Zwei-Raser-Screen (bzw. vier per Modem) unterwegs ist. Im übrigen sind vier Schwierigkeitsgrade, die Spielmodi Practice, Match Race und Championship sowie acht Computerteams und vier verschiedene Autotypen im Angebot.

Der Schwachpunkt ist hier eindeutig die etwas triste, grüne oder braune Landschaftsgrafik, der man wenigstens ein paar Animationen spendieren hätte können. Die Wägelchen sind dafür ausgezeichnet animiert und sehen auf dem 1200er nochmals ein ganzes Stück besser aus - eine Extradisk für die AGA-Grafik liegt der Packung bereits bei. Allerdings können selbst auf Commos Wundermaschine höchstens zwei verschiedene Autotypen gleichzeitig antreten, was wohl an den stolzen 800 AGA-Animationen liegen dürfte.

Der Sound ist dagegen in jeder Hinsicht eine Granate: Wenn man die realistischen FX und den knallharten Metal-Track anständig aufdreht, gründen die Nachbarn glatt eine Bürgerinitiative.

Aber entscheidend ist letztlich das durch und durch geglückte Gameplay, das vor allem bei mehreren Teilnehmern schier endlosen Geschwindigkeitsrausch garantiert. Oder um es mit den Worten der witzig formulierten Anleitung zu sagen: Kauf mich, fahr mich, schrott mich, und dann auf ein neues!


Vom Erlebniswert her sind die beiden Konkurrenten grundverschieden: Der "verbrannte Gummi" spricht vor allem den einsamen Asphaltcowboy an, der sein Leben dem Kampf gegen die Uhr und unverständige Behördenvertreter gewidmet hat. Die "Bremspuren" wiederum entfalten ihre Reize erst so richtig in einem Kreis von Gleichgewinnten, denen fröhliche Rempeleien auf unwegsamen Untergrund über alles gehen. Entscheiden muß also der persönliche Geschmack, aber völlig falsch liegt man weder bei Skidmarks noch bei Burning Rubber.

Skidmarks logo

After Micro Machines, the return of old-style race games with tiny sprites goes on.

"This will be the most in depth review ever then, Steve" growled Stuart. Oops and Lordy Lordy, I got the hint though. The review should have been started on Friday, with all the grabs finished, at least. Yet here I am writing it up on Monday with all the grabs still to do and the text to finish. Why? Well I have got to confess that I spent the whole day and, er, more playing the game. It can supercharge my Hot Rod in a four-stroke power band of nitrous oxide compression. And if a game supercharge your Hot Rod you know it must be good, right kids?

With the kind of luck that makes this job easier, you will already have had a taster of the race action with the cover disk that we gave away with issue 30. If so, then it is no use me telling you about the fine animation of the cars or the intensity of the competition when you are racing against someone else (somewhat enhanced in the full game version, but more on that later).

And you will probably know by now about the different tactics that can be employed in order to win races, hamper your opponents or both. But then, you have not seen the whole game. So forgive me for going over any ground that has already been covered, but not everyone out there has been lucky enough to experience the demo disk (deviants).

The idea is simple. There are four cars racing against each other on any one of 12 supplied tracks. Incidentally, fact fans, six tracks are on one disk and the other six on another. Thank goodness, sister of hope and mother of charity, that you have a second drive, eh? Quack quack oops. Apparently more tracks are going to be released in the not-too-distant future.

The tracks scroll isometrically and the corners are generated using quadratic B-splines. Now, that sounds pretty painful to me, but apparently some people find that techno-jargon impressive, so good luck to them. I am joking of course.

Coupled with the handling of the cars, the Q-B-splines are actually a load of fun. You can opt to power into a curve/corner, spin yourself round in a 180 (or whatever angle) degree skid and power out again. Failing that, you can just decide to hug the inner camber and hope that the shortening of the distance is enough to gain you some yards' advantage over your opponents.

Everyone will find their own individualistic racing style (bumping and bashing everyone is a good one).

And yes, some people did have to 'Eat my Tonka

Like many racing games, there are three different types of competition you can indulge in: practice, one-off races and a championship. You should know the score on these sort of things by now.

Curiously, though, the championship kept crashing out on me at the end of the six-track quota. Very annoying. I am also knocking an unspecified number of points off (I am not saying how many just to make Acid Software sweat - it could be anything from 0-20) for some of the Amiga/disk mechanics that the game insists on implementing. Check them out in the Downers box; they are inhumanly intrusive.

I have left what I consider to be the best part of the game till now. Not only can you opt to race against an other human opponent with a split screen option, you can also connect with another Amiga via a null-modem link so that all four cars are human controlled. If that is not enough, you can also send text messages to the other machine in a sort of gamesmanship psyche-out activity. And yes, some people did have to 'Eat my Tonka' (programmed message through the use of set up Macro Hot Keys).

A mention has to go to the drawing of the cars. Apparently there are around 200 frames constituting each different car. Translated into gamer speak, this means that no matter what over-the-top driving style you adopt, the car you are driving will exhibit itself in the proper 3D-ish perspective.

For example, you could opt to drive at a ridiculous speed over one of the many jumps featured in several of the tracks, spin round in mid-air, smash into your opponent and then skid into the side of the track. Throughout the whole manoeuvre the car looks like a little Matchbox model. And just think, kids, there are four types to race, and Acid are going to bring out more. Hip Hip...

The AGA cars are even better; not only do you get the proper perspectives, you also get those atmosphere-inducing nice touches like big throbbing engine blocks, rip-roaring growly exhaust pipes, non-personal identification numbers etc. And, as a tantalising teaser, Acid hint at the ability to custom-create your very own type of car with later disk releases. Me for one, I can hardly wait.

So there it is. I would love to be able to say 'Go out and buy this', but the reservations I have about the disk accessing and the crashing out are far too extreme. Aside from that, it really is a fun little game to indulge your racing fantasies.

Skidmarks logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Acid Software are looking to create the kind of reputation Team 17 had since Project X After Blitz Basic comes one of the best top-view racers ever. Tony Dillon has been looking forward to Skidmarks for ages. (Stop sniggering at the back!).

Blitz Basic 2 is a bit of a marvel, all things concerned. Just look at Defender or Zombie Apocalypse and you will see that you do not need to be a machine code programmer to create some rather stunning results. This is exactly what Acid Software aim, and one look at Skidmarks should be enough to silence even the most ardent cynic. Skidmarks is for car racing games what Kick Off was to football - the start of a new age.

Coming from the multiplayer school of games like Super Sprint and Micro Machines, Skidmarks takes the top-view racing scenario and kicks it into the Nineties with a style and flair that you just do not usually see in games these days. The basis is quite a simple one - take four cars and a winding track, and let up to four players race against one other, all fighting for the best times, sometimes just fighting to stay on the track.

Opening the box for the first time, you are presented with the main game disk, an AGA car disk for the A1200/A4000 (let us see AMOS do that!) and two track disks, the titles of which show off the programmer's music taste a little too obviously (Pearl Jam's 'Even Flow' and Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing in The Name Of'). By having the tracks, six to a disk, on separate disks, Acid are paving the way for bigger and better tracks as time goes on.

After loading, you can choose to link two machines, set up your function key messages (when two machines are linked, you can send messages back and forth), choose the number of players, set the difficulty level, select your car out of a list of four, choose the computer team to play against and finally get into the game. After you have chosen which of the tracks to race on, of course!

The controls work in the same way as most games of this ilk. The fire button accelerates and the left and right buttons steer your car. Pulling back brakes, but who ever uses that? From this point on, everything gets different. You have probably noticed from the screen shots on this page that the game is viewed isometrically rather than straight top-view, which has given Acid a lot of scope to play with a more three dimensional track. Corners are banked, which affect the way your car steers, and rough areas of straights and jumps mean you lose control when your car is in the air.

Keeping it under control is a real skill, and that is one of the secrets to what makes the game so damn playable. I have not been able to put it down yet, and I doubt I will for quite a while.

One thing that I would love to be able to show you, but cannot, is the realism of the graphics. Okay, the might look a little pokey on still screenshots, but when you see everything moving you can see why it took so long to do the graphics. Each car is made up of 800 sprites (32 rotations with five elevations and five pitches), all rendered in Imagine 2, all light sourced and totally believable. All that is lacking are the turning wheels, but who is being picky?

Skidmarks is one of the most instantly playable games I have ever played, along with one of the best two player games ever released on the Amiga. Okay, so it won't take too long before you can beat the computer opponents on all tracks, but who cannot beat the computer teams in Sensible Soccer? The strength here lies in the electric atmosphere generated by a good two or four player game against opponents of equal skill. The manual suggests you should spill beer on the lap of your enemy to give yourself an advantage, and you can see why after a few games.

Skidmarks is a landmark in computer games, and if future Blitz Basic games are as good as this one, we are going to see the Amiga and CD32 become the games machines of the next decade.


Acid Software are a New Zealand-based software house and are still in the middle of setting up a full distribution deal in the UK. If you are finding it a little hard to find a copy of this superb game, then you will be happy to know that you can order a copy directly from Acid by sending a cheque or postal order (no cash) to: Acid Software, PO Box 3172, London NW3. The cost? A measly £25.99.


Skidmarks might seem like a bit of an odd name for a racing game, schoolboy humour aside, but it does have a good reason. When you start a track, the road is clean and smooth, but once you start skidding round corners, you notice that your car leaves a long trail of disturbed dust. It is such a small bonus, but it adds to the realism of the game no end. I have never seen an effect like it, and it just shows Acid Software's commitment to creating the best games yet seen.