IN THE future man will live on Mars, drink Guinness and sit in front of the holo-
This is a ruthless variant of that old favourite, American Football. In the future, however, the game is so violent and generally hazardous to life that it is exclusively played by robots.
This is a bit of a bonus really because at the end of a match the losing team gets disintegrated - it would be a bit of a bind for the home team to have to traipse off to the cemetery after a particularly humiliating defeat.
To begin with, one of the six teams of psychotic robots must be selected, two are in the practice league, the other four are pros. The practice league has only the basic plays available; the pro teams are allowed to be a bit more specialist, leaning towards either running or passing plays.
The rules are not quite the same as American football. The team on the offensive must usually cover a full fifty yards with the ball to get a "first down".
Added to that there is the problem of the ball. It's highly explosive. After five plays it becomes critical and detonates, destroying any player who was too close, unless the full distance is completed, in which case the ball will be defused and play starts again with a new bomb.
There is a conversion attempt after a touchdown is scored, but there is no kicking the ball. It may be run in or passed, with more points for the footwork than aeronautics, but beware - the ball is automatically set to critical.
Each play is selected on a menu system, with choices made by the joystick. There is a timeout on this selection process which will only leave a little time to construct your overall strategy - is this more like the real thing?
I don't know, I've never coached a squad of seven sworn to serve the god of mindless destruction.
The offensive plays are restricted to a choice of four running or four passing plays, chosen randomly from the list. This can be a bit annoying when you have a particularly strategy in mind - but there's no time to whine and mope about, choose quickly before the timer runs out.
Your bank balance will increase depending on how brilliantly you are playing. A few TDs (that's the abbreviation for Touchdown, not Irish MPs) will pay for a replacement player when they start going wonky.
This is a conversion of the arcade game, and little has been lost in the process - too little perhaps. In the arcade fast action is needed to keep people feeding money in.
In your own home there is nobody peering over your shoulder, smoking a roll-up and rattling the chains on his/her biking jacket (well, if there is they must be related to you). It is a bit of a disappointment that you are only allowed to complete one game, win or lose.
They may be more arcade than strategy, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, and at least it is faithful to the original coin-op.