Graphics: 3.5
Sound: 2.5
Control: 3
Depth: 3
Overall: 3


By: Rare LTD
Published By: Nintendo
Released: 1986

Slalom is one of the earlier games for the NES. While a bit on the simple side, it's still one of my sentimental favorites for the system. Based on an arcade game with controls that mimic real skis and poles, the home version makes due with the gamepad. Left and right steer, up and down control your speed, and either button jumps. Pressing up when airborne off of a mogul yields extra trick points and pressing down during a stumble can help your skier avoid a time consuming spill. And let's be clear, time is the enemy. If you strip out the skiing theme, this is a time-based racing game at heart. If you run out of it before crossing the finish line, it's game over.

The faux 3D graphics are simple, crisp and colorful. There is a fine sense of speed and some nice perspective shifts during turns on the course. Some runs are at least thematically realistic with slalom flags, fir trees and other opponents. Others are more whimsical, adding kids on sleds as moving obstacles and rows of snowmen blocking your way.

There are three sets of slopes in ascending difficulty, but I stick with the Snowy Hill beginner courses. Slalom is fun in short sessions, and it stands out by not being yet another car racing game. I just wish there was a continue system in place. Once you lose a race it's all the way back to the qualifying run for you.

- Ben Langberg