First things first. If you enjoyed 21st Century's previous two pinball games, Dreams and Fantasies, you will rejoice in the latest incarnation, Illusions. And if you were one of the pub-playing pinball machine doubters who felt that the first two simply couldn't cut it when compared to the real thing, chances are, Illusions will find you a tad more responsive toward its computerised compadre. Simulated pinball though, will never beat the real thing, simply because of the sheer physical nature of the machine game, where you can slide and bash it to shift the balls around. And as yet, no computer game has really captured the feel of metallic ball movement.
But this, of course, is not the issue. We are here to assess a computer pinball game; a game that expands on its predecessors by some significant margin, mainly through the introduction of multiball, a feature whereby up to three balls rattle across the screen if you can display the necessary flipper dexterity to release them. A hi-res full screen mode automatically comes on when the multiball is accessed so you can see all three balls. Clever eh?
There are three tables this time instead of Dreams' and Fantasies' four, the excuse being that the fourth table didn't come up to scratch so was scrapped. Not a very good excuse really, and the one major downside to the exercise. It's a bagatelle Law 'n' Justice is a sophisticated, futuristic cops 'n' robbers affair - one instance involves you attempting to apprehend the charmingly-monikered Johnny Crack, while others see you rounding up escaped felons, crushing riots, de-activating bombs and, more obviously, ensnaring Max Speed and his fabulous hovercraft. Of course, this is all brought about in a pinball context, namely riding ramps and hitting various flashing lights. Law 'n' Justice also has a video mode where, using the flippers, you shoot shady figures dashing across the score panel. And it makes for a cracking table.
Babewatch is not perhaps the most ideologically sound name for a table but it's backed by a Beach Boys-esque track (which you are at liberty to extinguish) and features include a casino, a muscle-pumping gym and Babehunt, where you attempt to chat up women by hitting keys on the Amiga in your bedroom. Extreme Sports involves sky and cliff diving, bungee jumping and a bit of off-piste together with top-screen animations which reflect the activities.
Pinball Illusions is the best Amiga pinball game to date, but don't expect a radical departure from Dreams or Fantasies; just a couple more balls and one less table.
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