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by Erik Sebellin

March 2001, Pen Computing 38


You've had beer and pretzels playing it--now you can, err, take it with you! Available in a color or grayscale version, Billiards is darn good fun. Two players can go head to head, or one player can take on an artificially intelligent (AI) opponent. You can also watch two AI's play against one another, though this isn't terribly interesting. AI opponents vary in intelligence from amateur to "kiss your butt goodbye" professional, and even the amateur opponent can give you a run for your money the first time.

Controlling the pool cue is very easy and quite intuitive, considering the overhead view you have to play from. You have the option of rotating the cue clockwise or counter-clockwise, up and down, and can even control where you want to hit the cue ball. Finally, a gauge that goes from 0 to 100 allows you to control the amount of force you want to apply when you strike. Billiard's offers eight and nine ball pool and even a variation called "Pyramid" where all the balls are white. If you're ever stuck on a long ride somewhere and have a friend along to drive, Billiard's should make for a great way to kill time. US$15

Knight Move

Knight Move mixes warfare, money management, and card playing, all into one attractive little bundle. Knight Move starts out with a grid of 12 boxes that are like territories, or like streets in Monopoly. If you land on empty territories, you have the option to buy them. If you land on this game's version of GO, you collect 300 "manas" (dollars) and gain a special card. You're also up against an enemy player with the same goal you have-buying up territory. If you land on your opponent's territory, you can pay a toll or-get this-fight for it! Yes! You've been wanting to do it in Monopoly for quite some time. Well, here it is. Combat is carried out by selecting those special cards and pitting them against one another. The cards all represent a magical creature, item, or weapon, and all have specific values attached to one another, such as "Attack" and "Defend." The strategy lies in the fact that you won't know what cards your enemy has, so you have to strike a balance between your resources and his own. With shockingly good graphics and a solid premise, Knight Move is one of the best games for the Palm platform, hands down. US$24.95

Biplane Ace

Ever wonder what it was like to shoot the Red Baron out of the sky back in the First World War? Well, here's your chance to find out. Available in color or grayscale, this game puts you in your very own bi-plane. Played from an overhead perspective, you're presented with a beautifully drawn landscape with a nice layer of clouds floating about.

When the dog fighting begins, you'll use the Pilot's address and calendar buttons to turn clockwise or counter-clockwise, the up and down buttons to speed up or slow down and, finally, the memo pad and to-do list buttons to fire. Several successive hits on your opponent are enough to blow him out of the sky. When next you meet, the opponent is harder to hit and is hard to shake off your tail. Though exiting from the left side of the screen and reappearing on the opposite side can be a bit confusing at first, it makes for an excellent tactical challenge.

Beautiful graphics - particularly rolling cloud cover--and sounds for firing, being hit and blowing up are all present. BiPlane Ace is a great game to help burn the hours, and should not be overlooked because of its simplicity. US$7.95

[Editor's Note: I'm addicted -sab] -Erik Sebellin

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