This page offers a complete video walkthrough of all 60 levels of the original Skyroads and Skyroads: X-Mas Special.
For each level I provided a brief explanation of the general strategy and some points of interest, if any. I believe that this explanation, when combined with watching the videos can teach one how to beat every level consistently, better than just watching the videos, or just reading the instructions.
The videos presented here were recorded by me on the original, unmodified DOS versions of Skyroads and Skyroads: XMAS Special, which are available from the site of Bluemoon Interactive: http://www.bluemoon.ee.
The following tools were used for the recording:
- Record – TSR utility to capture bitmaps from DOS games
- Video For DOS – A DOS command-line video cross-compiler, which I used to convert sequences of bitmaps into .AVI format (available for download here: ftp://ftp.sac.sk/pub/sac/graph/vfd17.zip)
- VirtualDub – A utility to manipulate and re-encode videos of AVI format (available for free from official site –http://www.virtualdub.org/)
This walkthrough was prepared in 2004 (as far as I can judge based on the original dates on the videos). Back then there were no popular video hosting services such as YouTube, and I was thinking to find a general web hosting service for the videos and the page itself. For some reasons I cannot fully recall, the plan never came to fruition, and I forgot about it for a long time, until recently.
Now, with so many gameplay videos and walkthroughs available, some with full sound, is there any value to my recording? I am not certain, but since it’s already been available, I decided that the small effort of uploading the videos and linking to them here is worth it. There is more than one way to play, and maybe some players can find the strategies suggested here more suitable for them than some others.
As a bonus, I also present the walkthroughs of two little-known levels from an early (beta?) release of Skyroads (referred to as Cosmonaut 2), that did not make it into the final version.
Notes about special blocks/slabs
- Accelerate (light green): This block causes you to accelerate very fast once you’re on it, but if you jump while going over it, you will only gain one speed point per touch. This strategy works well if you don’t want to accelerate.
- Slowdown (dark green): Exactly opposite of the light green. The jumping rule also works here – loss of one speed point per touch. If you made a mistake and allowed yourself to be slowed down to a full stop, start jumping and accelerating, and you will break free. This works even when inside a tunnel, although with reduced effect.
Slippery (dark grey): Bad block! If you drive on it, you lose any steering controls, and simply continue in the direction you were going. That means that if you were driving straight as you came to a slippery block, you cannot steer or jump sideways until you leave it. If you were going sideways (or if you jump sideways onto such a block), you will continue moving in the direction you were going. Beware!
Supplies (light blue): The best in the game. It refills your fuel and oxygen to the maximum. In some levels it becomes an issue and these blocks have been strategically placed (or not placed) inside the levels to make some interesting puzzles.
Burning (light red): Touch it and you’re dead, as simple as that. It merely requires you to select a different path. Sometimes placed in tunnels where you cannot see them, forcing you to avoid driving inside the tunnel. Sometimes placed on top of tunnels to you to force you to drive inside the tunnel.
Notes about supplies
- The fuel and the oxygen are always refilled by the same blue block and are always refilled to the maximum, but they play a different role in the game. Fuel runs out as a function of the distance you drive ONLY. The speed at which you drive is not important. If you stop, you don’t waste fuel. Oxygen is the exact opposite of it. It runs out as function of time alone, forcing you to drive faster at some points. If you are in the middle of a tough level and suddenly need to go to the bathroom, make sure that you pause the game, because if you just stop and leave it at that, the oxygen will eventually run out.
- The rates at which the fuel and oxygen run out are not fixed – sometimes it takes more time/distance, sometimes less.
Notes about tunnels
- Many tunnels can be driven through, but some cannot. In some tunnels the designers placed burning red blocks or walls or just missing floors. In some cases you only notice these things after trying and failing, so be patient if it happens to you once or twice. Also, supply blocks are sometimes placed inside certain tunnels, hidden from the eye.
- If a tunnel cannot be driven through, sometimes you need to drive on top of it. Tunnels with rounded ceilings introduce an additional challenge to the game. To drive on top of such a tunnel, you must be perfectly aligned (well almost perfectly). Too much skewed to one side, and you will fall off. While it’s easy to align yourself to a tunnel that’s in the center of the road, it’s much harder to do when the tunnel is closer to one of the side, because of perspective changes. It is therefore advisable to avoid driving on top of such tunnels, whenever is possible. Luckily, for most of the game, it IS possible.
The physics of the game try to be realistic in the sense that when you land from a jump, your vehicle follows with a small residual jump that you have no control over. Normally it’s not bad, but if you do it just before a tunnel, there’s a risk that this residual jump will cause you to crash onto the tunnel instead of sliding into it. This is especially dangerous in conditions of low gravity, where jumps are higher than usual.
Notes about speed
Maintaining proper speed is crucial at some points of the game and I will mention it when I find it relevant. If I don’t mention it, it probably means that you can pretty much do this part at any speed, albeit you should choose it so it’s comfortable to you. Whenever I find it possible, I default to maximum speed for maximum fun!
The speed bar in the game is divided into 34 units, from full stop (0) to maximum (34). Usually one, two or five units won’t make a difference, so for convenience I will mention approximate suggested speed. In my book, full speed is 34 units, half speed is 17, quarter speed is 7 and similarly three quarters speed is 27. You may ask why quarter is 7 and not 8.5 as it should be. The answer is because it is exactly at this speed that the speed bar is aligned at exactly 90 degrees clockwise from 0 speed, and it’s an easier reference.
A certain thing that any player will notice after playing for a little while is that there are more ways to lose speed than slowing down or driving on top of a dark green slab. For example, if you graze the wall of a tunnel slightly as you are entering, you will be aligned for the tunnel at the expense of one speed unit. Also, if you drive along a wall and steer into it (holding the button down), you will lose speed very fast. Sometimes it can be used as a very efficient way of slowing down. It also works if you’re inside the tunnel and steer into one of it’s walls.
Another thing that some of the more experienced players will notice is that if you drive face first into a wall, you don’t necessarily crash. In fact, you only crash if your speed was above 10 units (3 over 1/4 speed). At any speed of up to and including 10, you will simply come to a full stop. This strategy can be used when driving through a road full of obstacles – don’t increase speed over 10 units and you greatly reduce the risk of crashing. Can be very crucial when need to jump atop a high block: ride straight into it, touch it, stop, then jump as you accelerate slightly, and you are guaranteed not to crash. I will sometimes refer to this low speed at which you cannot crash as safety speed.
Speaking of coming to a full stop, what some players don’t realize at first is that it’s possible to steer even without speed. In fact it can be very convenient at some points, when you need to align yourself to something (like a tunnel or a narrow path).
General notes about the walkthrough/videos
Many levels can be solved in more than one way – there are different paths to be taken. I present in my walkthrough the solution that was the most comfortable for me, and that I find the easiest to follow in order to succeed. I don’t guarantee that my solution is really the easiest or that it is the coolest or neatest, but I do guarantee that (with some very minor exceptions) that the solutions are based on a strategy and aren’t flukes. Small blunders aside, these solutions work every time.