Before the release of Pinball Dreams I had never before played on a pinball table but that was soon changed. 21st Century came along and filled a much needed gap in the software market by producing a realistic and addictive pinball game. Now we have the inevitable sequel also written by the top Swedish development team Digital Illusions. However, how can you improve on something that is near perfect already? The answer is 'easily' - looking at Pinball Fantasies. First of all, let me reassure you that all the playability and realism has remained from the original, so if you own that then you'll be able to load this up, play and enjoy it pretty well immediately.
The scoreboard at the top of the screen has grown so that it is now a fully operative dot matrix readout. It possesses excellent animations and easy-to-read text telling you the score and what features are active. Once again there are four tables implemented, each with their own characteristics and feel. In all, the tables are larger than those in Dreams, this time being approximately three screens high as opposed to two.
Table one is titled Party Land with a theme park backdrop. The features include roller coasters, skyrides and a duck shoot. The major difference you'll notice is the addition of an extra flipper halfway up the table. Using this allows you to reach otherwise impenetrable bonuses.
Speed Devils is the title of the second table and as you con tell from the title, it is fast. Thankfully though, the speed doesn't stop the table from being playable. Again this table is home to a third flipper which is situated in a sort of mini-table at the top.
Fans of The Generation Game and Strike it Lucky will feel right at home on the table titled The Billion Dollar Gameshow. This table looks excellent and has loads of superb features, including a ball lock allowing you to fire a second ball onto the table - good for the score!
The final table, which in my mind is also the best, is titled Stones and Bones. Basically this is Nightmare all over again. Once again based around ghouls and spectres in a graveyard, there is a kickback option here which will throw the ball back into play if it's enabled.
As before, you can tilt the table slightly by tapping the Spacebar. This is used to get you out of strife if you feel things are getting too much for you. Don't use the tilt too much, otherwise the flippers will become inoperative and you'll lose the ball - not a good idea. When all three balls have been lost it isn't Game Over straight away - you'll get the chance to win on extra go. If the second-to-last number in your score is the same as the random number that comes up, you'll be able to shoot and go for that high score again.
One of the best pinball games ever! 4 tables, amazing speed, more than one player modes, fantastic music and graphics... Later there were an A1200 and CD32 version, with AGA support and even more beautiful graphics.
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