Amiga Power


Sliders

Author: Matt Bielby
Publisher: Palace
Machine: Amiga 500

 
Published in Amiga Power #5

Sliders

Oh dear, oh dear, I tried to like this, I really did. It's another of those slightly odd puzzler/future sports-type games that crop up from time to time - often, but not always, from French publishers - and tend to get at best a lukewarm reception, at worst a right slagging, in the pages of Amiga Power. It's a real pain - the publishers tend to think we've really got it in for them, the programmers are likely to get a bit upset, but what can we say? A crap game is a crap game is a crap game. And here's another one.

But just because a game itself is crap doesn't mean its component parts are. Indeed, Sliders has a lot going for it. Take the graphics, for instance - a bit characterless, perhaps, but they're clean and clear in a vaguely futuristic blueish sort of a way. The look, and some of the feel of the game, is that of the early Amiga effort Marble Madness - the one where you had to roll a ball around a trap-filled landscape, looking for the way out.

Graphically they're pretty much the same, but this is a far more impressive effort scrolling-wise, with the balls here literally zooming up and down the courses at pinball-like speeds, and the screen keeping up with their progress, no problem at all. Indeed, in the horizontally split screen two player mode it becomes positively remarkable, with the same action kept tabs on from different viewpoints with no discrenable lack of zip.

All this comes to naught though when you take a look at the game. It just doesn't work. You control one coloured ball, your opponent (either computer of human) the other and, and it's your job to zoom off from your goal, try and collect the little puck thingie you'll find somewhere in the landscape, and then herd it towards the other goal. Of course, he (or it) is trying to do the same to you, and so the game quickly becomes hectic, yes, but all but uncontrollable also, as the two balls and the puck bounce and zoom around the chequerboard play area. It all works on magnetism, you see - either attracting the ball to you and 'running' with it, or reversing the polarity and 'kicking' it away from you - giving the game an uncanny resemblance to a one-a-side Kick Off 2.

This has its upside - speed and a high degree of two-player ability - and its downside, chiefly the old Kick Off problem of lack of controllability, made far worse here because with only three moving objects on screen, a mere twelve small courses to explore and none of the emotional tug of computer football, Sliders finds it very hard to hold the interest.

It's true you've given the ability to change everything about the game, from maximum speed of the balls to power of magnetic attraction - so it is possible to manipulate it into a form you find possible to manipulate it into a form you find possible to play - but it's unlikely it'll hold your interest long enough for you to be bothered to do it. The few people who reckon they actually have some degree of control over Kick Off 2 - rather than just enjoying it for its speed and pinball nature - may find they get something out of this. We don't.

So, Sliders joins Stormball, Disk and the like in the ranks of not-very-playable and really not-very-interesting future sports simulations. That it's a better game - particularly technically - than any other recent contenders doesn't really count for very much I'm afraid. If you haven't already got it yet, but Speedball II instead. If you have, then why not go for the not-too-dissimilar Projectyle - now on budget - and save yourself fifteen quid? Or what about Spindizzy Worlds? That contains many of the same features. The point is, there are a lot of better ways to blow £25.

The Bottom Line

Fast and perfectly well programmed two player ball game set on Marble Madness-type landscape. Competent, but repetitive, uninspiring and far many likely to prove all but uncontrollable. Only funny in two player mode, where you're both likely to be as bad as each other.

Matt Bielby

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