Empire Interactive, a major contender in the simulated pinball market after the release of Pro Pinball: The Web, follows up with Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, featuring a host of new features and a more in-depth storyline. The already exquisite physics model is greatly improved, as is nearly every other aspect. Pinball fans that love the feel of a flipper button in their fingers should have a blast with this new effort.
The impressive design of Pro Pinball: Timeshock! eschews the gimmicks and impossible tricks used by most other computer pinball series and simulates actual gameplay as closely as possible. While not an easy task, the designers have replicated the wild nature of pinball by infusing it with the strange properties of friction and gravity as applied to the silver ball. The search for computer pinball realism is paying dividends.
Pinball fans will undoubtedly be impressed with the extensive scope and design of the rules. Casual gamers may be put off by the availability of only one table but hardcore fans will rank it with the classics of modern pinball such as Twilight Zone and The Addams Family. The wide array of play modes and number of missions offered is astounding and the depth makes most other simulated pinball games seem dull by comparison.
During gameplay, you must power up your time machine, search through time, capture the crystals, light up drop targets for bonuses, shoot for multi-ball and fight through a video mode. The exciting culmination of the adventure occurs as you head to the Dawn of Time in a mind-boggling six-ball mode that leaves you reeling. And, the aforementioned action is just a portion of available activities on this table.
The designers have gone the extra mile to make certain the game is a "simulation" rather than a conglomeration of phony pinball tactics. Nearly anything possible with a real pinball table is replicated here, short of disassembly and cleaning. Not only are the graphics options, table views and sound options seemingly limitless, you can also access the audits of the game and change nearly every minor facet of play. It's a great "fiddle factor" for those who enjoy this aspect.
The table's appearance is superb and depicts the faces of Mt. Rushmore hovering over a busy play field. If anything, it might be a touch too busy with the myriad of visuals built into the table that occasionally make it difficult to see what's happening. Beware, though, that a high-end computer is needed to enjoy the game at its highest resolution (1600x1200!) -- at least a Pentium II. The sound features a terrific electronic soundtrack and different effects for nearly every switch you hit.
Although there may be pinball games on the market better suited for those who doesn't know a jet bumper from a ramp from a drop shot, Pro Pinball: Timeshock! is a hardcore pinball players dream. While nothing can beat the real thing, this entry in the Pro Pinball series will definitely sate those who can't afford to buy or continuously feed a real pinball machine.
Graphics: While there's only one table, it is without doubt the best looking one to grace a computer screen to date (c.1997). The level of detail is absolutely astounding and on the highest graphics mode it looks very much like the real thing.
Sound: The soundtrack is excellent with some pounding tunes that fit the frantic play perfectly. The sound effects are dead on, producing a huge variety of different noises and effects for the various shots and switches.
Enjoyment: The rules list is deep and complex and perfectly complements the visual and aural surroundings. The game is simply a pinball player's best option for pure fun and realism on any computer or system. If you love pinball, this is a must
Replay Value: The table will keep fans captivated for hours thanks to its deep rule set and attractive design. In conjunction with the audit menu, the numbers of different ways you can play this single table are almost limitless.
The follow-up to The Web features a single but a very complex table. You have a 3D view of the table, with 4 different viewpoints. Your ultimate point-scoring goal is to travel through time by collecting crystals. The game takes in Roman, Prehistoric and Futuristic settings, as well as the present-day world.
There is a lot of secret stuff to discover. Many videos are shown in the dot matrix display above the table. The developers also included a preview mode, that lets you zoom into special areas of the table.
People who downloaded Pro Pinball: Timeshock! have also downloaded:
Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, Pro Pinball: The Web, Pro Pinball: Big Race USA, Pure Pinball, Pinball Illusions, Full Tilt! Pinball, Microsoft Pinball Arcade, 3-D Ultra Pinball
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