Balls have always held a strange fascination for computer-
The game is, the retroactive school of game justification argue, a future sport, played by humans cybernetically, directly in to some megalithic ether net. In reality it's a ball game of attraction. You control a large coloured sphere, that roams a rectangular grid. Also making its presence felt is your opponent's sphere of, a puck and a few terrain-
Use the force
The aim is to magnetically drag or shoot a pack across your opponent's goal area. Controlling the magnetic force with the fire-button, you simply have to shepherd the puck to the small coloured square that the other sphere started in. After you have scored a goal you're whisked back to your end and the whole show starts again.
It's simple to play: joystick commands following logical lines and with an obvious objective. What makes life difficult are the manifold ways each of the 12 pitches are set up. Some are littered with ice that robs spheres of control, on-way tiles that foce balls in specific directions and slopes that sap speed.
The tougher, later pitches even have trampolines to send pucks and players sailing into the air, often way over the goals.
The way each pitch, player and puck will behave are offered as options before the game is played. Everything from ball speed to gravity can be affected, which makes it a useful utility for first time Sliders. These modifiers may eve be applied to a single player, giving them a particular advantage or handicap. And while initially amusing, it is a little pointless.
All sport games are best in two-player mode, as beating a human opponent is far more satisfying than whipping a computer-
Two players jostling, running and shooting is Sliders at its best. When you just play in the one-player mode, though, there is something that is sadly lacking. There's no personified opponent and victory feels strangely hollow.
There is graphic style but no real glory. The screens scroll smoothly, slopes and special tiles are easily visible, but there's nothing breathtaking or even inspired. Sliders is functional, but not flashy, doing little to try and draw you in. Even goals are only faintly lavished with sound effects, which is just a quiet Marilyn Monroe sound sample.
Sliders doesn't really offer enough, despite a huge list of options. It has no visual magic and only 12 different playing fields to explore. Played by two people it becomes a frantic race for puck control, a race only interrupted by insane geography. Play it alone and the interest quickly flags.