I think it’s time that I get Flash Game OTW on track again, and to do so I’m going to look at a twist on the ultra-classic PC game known as SkiFree. Everyone that played with a PC in the 90’s is probably familiar with SkiFree, if you’re not familiar with the game then you should check out the official SkiFree webpage before continuing to read this, but please, come back. Since we’re in the hostile depths of winter, I thought it would be good to look at something with snow. What better way to do that than playing a skiing game, but this isn’t the SkiFree you remember; this is Ski Free or Die Hard!
A title that mixes a retro skiing game with a hint of the naming conventions from the Die Hard movies has to be cool, right? Well, you’d be correct if you said yes. Ski Free or Die Hard! Looks and plays similar to the classic game, but there are a few twists that make this game worthy of a play. Firstly, there is Ski Free mode, a mode that lets you freely ski down a mountain. You control your skier with the mouse; move left to ski left, right to ski right, up to slow down, and down to speed up. Of course, you can also jump over obstacles by left clicking. Your goal is to see how far you can make it down the mountain without crashing into other objects. Essentially, that is all you need to know about this mode; it’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s humorous.
Speaking of humor, this game is full of it. My favourite example is the invisible fridge, also known as Ninja Fridges, which appear out of nowhere. Now this failed to amuse some of the commenters over at Newgrounds, but the phrase “Ninja Fridged” makes me chuckle every time. This brings me to another point; this game isn’t mean to be a serious skiing game, just a quirky nod to an old friend.
The fun continues in the game’s sizable number of modes. Slalom sees you skiing down the mountain while hitting gates on the way down. Style Run awards you points for performing tricks, though I can only seem to do flips – be careful not to break your neck! Yeti Run will be glaringly obvious to fans of SkiFree, if not; I’ll let you discover the beast for yourself. Double Die ramps up the number of obstacles on the mountain. Sudden Death pits you against hundreds of invisible fridges; hit L on your keyboard for a neat surprise. Warning: Don’t hit L if flashing color sequences harm you in any way. Forest Fun is… you guessed it, a mountain full of nothing but trees. And lastly, there is Custom Run, a mode that lets you choose your obstacles to create your own little mountain of hell.
Ski Free or Die Hard! has the same simplistic visual appeal of its source, plus a retro loop that will either pleasure your eardrums, or make them bleed. Luckily for me, I enjoyed the loop, but now I also have it stuck in my head.
Overall, I really enjoyed spending thirty minutes with Ski Free or Die Hard! and will likely come back to it whenever I’m bored during the winter season.