We're a little tired of twitch games trying to bill themselves as strategy-oriented. Silicon Warrior's strategy component (one-third, according to Epyx's on-the-box rating system) is pretty laughable at best, since electronic tic-tac-toe - even SW's five-square, 3-D layout variation - is unlikely to get anybody's brain churning. Lest you miss a worthwhile item, though, ignore the box and plunk down your money on this one as an action game only. What you'll find is a great reflex contest and a solid piece of design: good colors, wonderful sounds, good animation (the C64 version ought to be even better) and a really well-conceived array of variations, including true simultaneous multiple-player capability.

The SW rulebook scenario, which concerns some sort of battle in Silicon Valley in 2084, is meaningless. The basic bit is to move your cowl-draped warrior around the game's five-by-five playfield grid, coloring in each rectangle as he goes, until five of them in a line are all one color. Movement takes only the simplest four-direction joystick skills, but pretty nice timing since the warrior doesn't just blink over to the new square - he teleports, going through a dematerialize-rematerialize cycle that puts him out of your control for a good second or two after you tap the joystick. Try to move onto a square where another player's warrior is materializing and you're not only blocked, but have to rematerialize before you can try moving again.

Above the basic blocking game are six levels that let you add in various combinations of the three other play options: black holes (a sort of semi-random dumping feature), laser fire (which lets you send opponents to temporary detention pens if you hit them often enough) and shields (to protect yourself against their laser fire). There are also three speeds, and some nicely smart-but-not-too-smart computer-player controls. If you get tired, try setting all four players to computer control fast and just sit back and enjoy while the neon colors blaze and the "move-completed" signal tones ring out in chords and runs like futuristic elevator music.