The first version of Skyroads was originally called “Kosmonaut”. Although it is available for free from Bluemoon’s web site (see below), it is far less known and played around the world.
It has the same basic 3D road mechanics as the later, much more known game “Skyroads”, although differences exist. For starts – it is much less forgiving: crashing is far easier, and in fact you are not allowed to jump on top of anything. You can jump, but only over obstacles, not on top of them.
Like Skyroads, “Kosmonaut” uses some predefined tile colors for special effects, but the colors and the effects are different. For example, there are tiles that will restore only fuel, or only oxygen, and there is even a tile that will diminish your jump power mid-level (in “Skyroads” this is achieved by varying levels of gravity, but the gravity is fixed for the entire level).
The game consists of two files:
The game itself (this is actually the only file you need to run the program)
The data file for high scores and level codes. This file is created when the game is first run. Deleting this file will cause the loss of all high scores and will again only allow you to start from roads 1 or 2.
The game contains 26 different roads, when each road is split into two parts. If you pass the first part, and die while in the second part, you will restart at the second part, and will not have to go through the first part again.
When you first run the game, you can only start from Road 1 or Road 2. As you pass Road 2, you continue to Road 3, and it becomes available for you to start from at the main menu, the next time you run the game. After Road 3, Road 4 becomes available and so on.
Making All Roads Available
As you progress, the roads on the game get tougher and tougher. If you want to be able to play all the roads, and to start on any road you want, without having to pass the roads before it, you need to hack the HISCORES.SKY file. The hacking itself is very simple and involves only one byte: the first byte of the file. Byte number 1 (offset 0x00) contains the highest road available for the user. The actual number of the road is the value of the byte minus 165. So, if you want to access all 26 roads, simply change the value of the first byte in the file from whatever to ‘191‘ Decimal or ‘BF‘ Hexadecimal. It doesn’t matter which road you have reached before and what highscores you have set, as this alteration affects only the roads available.
About High Scores
When you start the game (doesn’t matter which road), you have 0 points. You get more points for driving further. The more speed you have, the faster the score rises, so eventually for the same distance you always get the same number of points.
Since all the roads have exactly the same length, you get an equal number of points for completing a whole road: 748. If you die in the middle of the road, you restart it and your score is reset to what it was before you started that road (the number always divides by 748). However, the game does keep track of your farthest progress, so, for exmaple, if you gained 100 points on your first try, then died and gained only 70 on the second one, when you press ESC to return to the main menu, you will get 100 on your highscore.
As you see, the highest score you can get on this game (without hacking ofcourse, as hacking might enable you to do so) is 19448. The only way to get it (again, without hacking) is to play from road 1 and pass all 26 roads at once, without quitting and starting from any road other than 1. However, if you actually do this, the game will display “Starmaster” as your score, instead of the normal road number and score.
Overall, because of much more primitive EGA graphics, annoying PC speaker sound, no music, and increased difficulty – this game is far less fun to play than “Skyroads”, although fans of the latter will probably want to spend some time on
it, if only for the challenge of completion. From personal experience, however, I know that once you complete all roads, there is very little replay value. The game seems to be missing the special thing that makes you want to play again and again – something which “Skyroads” is famous for. It is very interesting to see how the creators of “Kosmonaut” managed to improve the formula in every way, in order to create the masterpiece that is “Skyroads”.
http://www.bluemoon.ee/bluemoon/index.html – Bluemoon Interactive main page
http://www.bluemoon.ee/history/kosmonaut/index.html – Kosmonaut page
http://www.bluemoon.ee/history/skyroads/index.html – Skyroads / Skyroads XMAS