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Review by Adam Newman, M.D.

Hey - does anyone remember the game "Shufflepuck Café"??? I LOVED that game. Played it in black and white on my old Mac Plus. It was addictive and challenging. In fact, I still have the floppy even though the game doesn't run anymore on current systems. It was with much excitement that I volunteered to review this new iteration of Air Hockey. I'm sad to report, however, that in the 8-10 years since Shufflepuck Café, the authors here haven't done very much.

The pain started when I installed the Hockey app. No problems. Until I double-clicked. That's when the game window was filled with a psychedelic graphic that I couldn't decipher. On a hunch, I quit and changed my screen colors to 256. Then it ran fine. The others games on the CD are similarly limited. Your screen MUST be in 256 color mode.

So things didn't start well. Now I could at least see the graphics as they were meant to be seen. In a word - yawn. The sounds, although present during gameplay, were similarly unimpressive. Nothing bad, mind you, but neither was anything particularly noteworthy.

Once you decide to begin a new game, you can play a one-on-one game with a computer opponent in a single game, you can play a "best of" series (ie 2 of 3, 3 of 5, 5 of 7), or you can participate in a 4 round, round-robin tournament. In any of these, you can choose the skill level of your opponent(s).

Multiplayer play over a LAN (local area network) is supposedly available, but a note in the manual on the installation page notes that this is currently NOT available on the Macintosh platform and that they are working on implementing this feature. This little treat combined with the fact that the manual discusses windoze/pc issues before the Mac issues certainly doesn't give the Mac game player a warm cozy feeling.

Gameplay itself is straightforward and increasingly challenging with more difficult opponents, but to be honest, I got bored very quickly. The game simply just didn't keep my interest and I WANTED to like it.

Macintosh gamers are a very discriminating bunch. Just because we don't have as many games as the windoze platform, doesn't mean we want more mediocre games just so we can say we have them. I get an overall feel that the Mac side of these games was put together as an afterthought.

I wish I had more to say. The bottom line is that your Macintosh gaming money is better spent elsewhere.

Pros
Cons
Classic Game
Repetitive gameplay gets boring quickly
Appropriate music and sound, but it can get repetitive
Uninspired Graphics and Sound
Can be played on a 68K Mac!
Feels like a port, sounds like a port, looks like a port - it's a port.

 
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