Combining the vehicle mechanics of a hovertank with the strategy elements of a puzzler, Slamscape is a game that can best be described as "eclectic." In fact, the gameplay is so unusual that I'm not sure the publisher even knows what this game is all about. For example, in the online manual, you will find this entry under the heading "Game Goals in Plain English":
"In each Region, there are four glittering Orb-Ids. Blast, jump, smash, and shoot into anything and everything to somehow find and then touch the Orb-Id to set it free from the Regeneral so it can go back to the Orbhead in the center of the Region."
"Plain English." Right. What this essentially means is that each level in Slamscape is populated with a wide assortment of everyday items gone bad - like teddy bears with steel claws and ferris wheels with cannons. While the lesser denizens are more of an annoyance than anything else, the larger (and seemingly unstoppable) creations require more brainpower than firepower. Fortunately, each of these boss "puzzles" has an Achilles heel, and it is your job to find the trick necessary to defeat it. Some merely require excellent timing, while others require you to employ the residents of each land to do some of the work for you. Once all four boss "puzzles" on a level have been solved, you move on to the next world.
Unfortunately, this exciting and innovative premise is spoiled by the game's poor play mechanics. In particular, the "Slamjet" is almost impossible to control. Just a quick tap on the joystick will send the hovercar careening about the playing field. Since Slamscape simulates inertia, steering becomes a nightmare of rotating and thrusting to control your momentum. To make matters worse, you are constantly being rammed by other objects - which starts the whole process over again. Adding to the frustration, the frame rate randomly dives into the single digits. If you happen to be spinning around when this happens, the resulting slide show can leave you totally disoriented on the generic levels.
Speaking of frame rates, be warned that you will need plenty of computing horsepower to drive the visuals at a decent rate. A Pentium-90 with a 2 MB VRAM video card is the bare minimum. Oddly enough, even with this hefty requirement, the visuals served up in Slamscape are composed of pedestrian polygons on a bland, two-dimensional playing field - hardly the cutting-edge graphics one would expect. In conclusion, Slamscape is a great concept, poorly executed. Encumbered by sloppy controls, substandard graphics, and annoying sound effects, Slamscape is best left on the shelf.