One puck, and only two competitors. One is the computer, and the other is, of course, you. You get a chance to match your skills at this Air Hockey style game, over 'Cantina Band' inspired music. Deflect the puck around the walled area using your bat, trying to knock it into your opponent's goal.
There are several competitors, from which some of them definitely cheat, so be prepared to be laughed at. However, you can cheat as well, as you can resize your stick to fill the whole table width, or add one in the middle, and see who breaks glass first. There are single plays or the tournament where you play opponents in order of difficulty. The winner is the one who reaches 15 glassbreaks first.
When I was 12 years old, my father's neighbor had bought an Apple II. Back then, I was not very impressed by the monochrome (and puny) display the thing had and I seriously mistrusted the mouse, because I was used to nice 16 colors, joysticks and big TV's from my own C64. He had a little game on the thing however, which I was particularly fond of. It was called "Shufflepuck Café". If you have to summarize this game in one sentence it would be "Air hockey against aliens!". Thank heavens it was released on other platforms as well (such as Atari, Amiga and of course, DOS) because Apple II's are hard to come by these days.
What's the deal in "Shufflepuck Café?" Well, there's this café filled with a bunch of weird aliens (it might even be located in Mos Eisley on Tatooine, but this information is not available). All they do is hang around and compete against each other in the game called Shufflepuck. This is sort of like those air-hockey tables you might know from arcade halls. Both players have a paddle and use this to direct a puck all over the place. The puck is more or less floating on the table due to a thin layer of air that's being blown over the surface (hence the 'air' in air-hockey).
In Shufflepuck Café you have to become the champion by beating the current one, a greasy pig called Biff Raunch. From the startup screen you simply click on your desired opponent to start a match against them. First one to score 15 points by making his of her opponent miss the puck, wins the game. Watch out though, 'cause some aliens tend to cheat a bit. Each one has a certain amount of talent and some even have special tricks with which they might surprise you...
The graphics are nice enough. The 16 color EGA is better then the monochrome ones from the old Apple II I rembemer, but not as pretty as those on the Amiga. Nevertheless, your opponents are a colorful bunch. The sound is limited to speaker bleeps, which is adequate for this type of game. The gameplay can get a little tedious, because it takes quite some time to earn fifteen points, even against the weaker opponents. The fast games are pretty tense though and you'll find yourself playing 'just one more game' quite often. All in all, it's a definite 4.
Can't help myself - I just love this game. Overall this is not a very overwhelming concept. Just the possibility to play this Pong-like game (you might have seen those tables in your local gaming hall) against several computer opponents. You can even play a tournament. Now all this wouldn't be that fantastic if it weren't for those different characters you play against. They don't just look different and are slower/faster. No, they all got their weak points. It seems like you can get some while just trying to play mostly on the right (or left) side because they can't see the puck very good there. It's just a theory, but in years of playing this on my Amiga I got quite some experience and it really seems like Eneg is pretty good on the left side (his right side), but is more likely to make mistakes if you give him some fast ones on the right side (his left...).
The game can get quite addictive and playing this with the mouse is quite "realistic". It's a nice fun-game you shouldn't miss. The reactions of the opponents are funny to watch as well. Although it's only EGA - still not bad (Amiga was better of course).
A great classic air hockey game, probably better known on the Amiga and Macintosh. The game principle is simple: it's futuristic air-hockey controlled with the mouse. What I like most about it is the obvious love that has gone into the design of the setting and the various opponents. Each opponent really has his/her own style of play to which you can adjust your strategies to win. Very nice. However, as usual the PC conversion is lacking a bit in terms of atmosphere as graphics and music are not quite up to the Amiga standards - but still a fun game. Highly recommended, especially to air hockey fans.
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