The roller controller was another one of Coleco’s numerous expansions/peripherals intended to make their already graphically impressive console even more arcade perfect. The track ball was made popular in the early 80’s with the arcade hits Centipede & Missile Command and then a few years later with a couple of other early 80’s gems in Millipede, Crystal Castles & Slither. Slither on the surface looks like a Centipede clone in that your “character” which is basically a moving cannon, can blast upwards towards snakes that fill the desert backdrop and work their way horizontally and vertically around the screen. The snakes split into smaller snakes once hit and they will also create cactuses (instead of mushrooms) to impede your movement and shot. Instead of spiders and scorpions there are also dinosaurs bouncing around the screen to shoot at for extra points. Two major differences with Centipede that players will note is the cannon’s ability to shoot up and down and it can also move freely around the entire screen instead of just the very bottom. Slither has a lot of charm and it even includes a sped up version of Flight of the Bumblebee as its in game music. Overall it’s a fun game, if not quite as iconic as Centipede. Slither came bundled with the roller controller and it was a perfect audition for what the controller could do.
The roller controller itself plugs into the back of the Colecovision where the AC adapter would normally plug in. The AC adapter instead connects into the roller controller plug in a daisy chain fashion. You then plug the roller controller into both the main controller ports on the console and the controllers instead plug into the roller controller (to allow you to use the in game menu). Whew…..got that? Once you have it all set up, put it on a table and not your lap because the thing is massive. But damn if it doesn’t work like a charm. The roller controller is definitely worth the money as there aren’t many quality track-ball like controllers out there attempting to give you the same feel that the arcades can provide but what else would you expect from the Colecovision?
Currently in my collection:
Slither – game only B