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Slalom (NES) artwork

Slalom (NES) review


"Slalom is a perfect example of the types of games that dominated many people's time nearly two decades ago. Simple concept with little-to-no logic or design was all the rage. It was the NES that began the era of many well-designed and very entertaining games. But, as with every system, the NES wasn't without its weak points. And that's what brings me to review the game of Slalom, undeniably one of the NES' weak points. "



Slalom is a perfect example of the types of games that dominated many people's time nearly two decades ago. Simple concept with little-to-no logic or design was all the rage. It was the NES that began the era of many well-designed and very entertaining games. But, as with every system, the NES wasn't without its weak points. And that's what brings me to review the game of Slalom, undeniably one of the NES' weak points.

The purpose of Slalom is as simple as it gets. No, you don't have to save the world from an evil villain. No, you don't have to rescue a princess from a castle. You just have to do one thing -- ski. Not a complicated concept, wouldn't you agree? Your skiing mission is presented in the form of three courses to choose from and master, as well as a two-player option to take turns with a friend of yours should you decide to torment them with this game.

The game takes place along a number of zig-zagging paths, depending on which course you choose. As you ski the slopes, the view this game presents will have you facing the back of your skier, having the path in front of him. Your job will be to move along the winding trail as quickly as possible while avoiding the many obstacles, such as trees, snowmen, and sleders that somehow manage to sled uphill instead of downhill (This game defies the law of gravity). And in doing all this, you have to get to the finish line of each path before your precious time runs out.

In addition to the concept being simple, the controls are simple as well. A or B makes you jump. The control pad makes you move left, move right, move forward, or slow down. Anyone who doesn't master these in under five minutes should seek professional help. But anyway, even though the controls are simple, they aren't necessarily good. It can be very difficult at times to move your skier out of the way of an upcoming obstacle, and sometimes the controls will go out on you altogether. It's not exactly a pleasant experience when your half-way through the game and find you can't control your character anymore.

This is when I hoped to find some relief, in the graphics, but I found out I was hoping for too much. The only parts of the game that actually look good are the bushes/trees and mountains in the far distance ahead of you. Everything else literally looks like Atari graphics. The path to travel is nothing but a big white rectangle that narrows as it stretches farther ahead. To the side of the path, the ''snow'' is just a big gray blotch with a few white, sparkling specks added to make it seem like snow. I also find it weird (and funny) the way your player sticks his butt up in your face when he skis; does he really have to bend down so far? Also, when the skier wins a race, I can't tell whether he's laughing or crying. I just have to assume it's a laugh.

So, just to keep this review rollin' allong, I am at another loss as we check out the music. The songs are nothing but plain little ditties with absolutely no pizzazz behind them. I did find it interesting that a quiet little song plays in the background while you're skiing, something you don't hear in many sports games, especially on the NES. But the fact that there is music during the sport is the only thing interesting about it -- not the boring music itself.

Unfortunately, even the sound effects are as lackluster as the music is. I guess there's not much to put into a skiing game anyway. In fact, all there really is, is a scraping sound when you slow down and the lighting-fast blip-blip-blip when you hit an obstacle. But the hitting-an-obstacle sound can drive a person insane after hearing it a few times. Now that I think about it, they should even use the sound in animal lab tests. Yeah, it'd be perfect!

But getting back to the actual review, the next examination is in the challenge, the one item that can drive a person away from a game forever. Luckily, the challenge in this game really isn't that bad. The easiest mountain course can be half-finished after playing the game for only a day for the first time. But then again, the hardest mountain to ski can take a little practice and effort to get through. But once you master the controls and feel of the game, it's all downhill from there (No pun intended).

Yet, even though simple games can many times equal fun, this game fails to reach that high point. It could be the slippery controls that mess it up, but I think it's more the repetitiveness and the insane paths included inside. Maybe it's even the lack of gravitational laws. The reason for the lack of entertainment is hard to single out, but I can confidently say that this game just isn't all that much fun.

It saddens me to give this game the score I am giving it, because it could have really had some potential. The simple concept was great, but the game becomes so dull and repetitive that it finds its way to the shelf in no time. Had many of the ''features'' been added upon and improved, a great game could have commenced. I really believe that. But instead, I find it a game hardly ever heard of, and with good reason. Oh well, you can't have everything.

-----

Gameplay (6/10): Interesting and simple game design. Still needed work, though.
Control (4/10): Slippery and even missing controls can keep you from enjoying it much.
Graphics (3/10): Besides the mountains in the distance, everything is so plain and ugly.
Music (3/10): A few little ditties that are missing some good pizzazz.
Sound (2/10): The sound effects are few and most are very annoying.
Challenge (5/10): A moderate challenge is offered in the game. Maybe even a little too easy.
Replay (3/10): There's not much to keep you playing this game again and again.

Overall (4/10): A definite lackluster production with unused potential.

Rating: 4/10

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Community review by royalranger (Date unavailable)

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