Pro Pinball: Big Race USA is definitely the best pinball game to date (c.1999). Being so close to the real thing is impressive. Even the manual is set up similar to one you would receive if you were to purchase a full size pinball machine.
Options are numerous, something rare for a pinball game. Players can change many settings from flipper strength to table age. Table age may seem odd but if the table age is changed to reflect an older table that has seen a lot of action, the ball will roll differently. The most amazing feature is the ability to actually make changes to every item located inside of the table. You want to test the controlled game lamps? Maybe you have no reason to but just knowing that you can makes the whole experience that much more realistic.
Controls are all performed on the keyboard and are fully customizable. The default settings are perfectly fine and the flippers respond immediately. Pro Pinball: Big Race USA has a storyline in which you play as a taxi that is picking up passengers, driving across the country and, at times, running from the police. Performing combos, hitting particular ramps and making multiple U-turns can bring up a variety of situations.
Situations can be anything from shooting alien invaders to escaping from the mall. Everything is accomplished by making skill shots such as hitting the appropriate ramps when they are lit. Some events take place on the dot matrix display that features many videos throughout every game. One game that plays out on the dot matrix display has players controlling a taxi where they must ram cars off the road while trying to keep from crashing.
The action really heats up when multiple balls come into play. When the police car is lit up and you make the U-turn, the "Police Chase Frenzy" will begin and four more balls will be added. It is even possible to have as many as ten balls on the table at once.
What really adds to the game are all of the sound effects and voices. Sound effects are perfect and the music is great. However, the best sounds are definitely the voices. Nearly every action results in someone talking and all of the comments are easy to understand. Numerous voices are included so they never feel repetitive. Some of the voices imitate movie characters with similar voices and lines. The police car sounds like Darth Vader and has a few lines very close to his, one of them being "The sheriff is not as forgiving as I am." Another voice sounds like Forrest Gump and says "You drive like a box of chocolates."
Graphics are colorful, bright and very detailed. Everything in the machine looks like it is real. Moving parts and flashing lights are all over the table and the dot matrix display is impressive as well. Many small videos are played that represent the silver ball's actions. Two things missing are bumpers and targets that can be knocked down. Not including bumpers was actually a good thing because many times you are working against a time limit while trying to make a specific shot. Had bumpers been included, the ball would have likely been stuck at the top of the table when you need to make a skill shot. Some targets that could be knocked down would have been nice but they are not needed.
Pro Pinball: Big Race USA delivers a complete package. Pinball enthusiasts will love this game and even non-pinball fans will probably find something about the game they can really get into. Although there is only one table, it is still easy to get addicted. Internet play is even included for tournament play and ladder competition.
Graphics: Looks very much like a real pinball table.
Sound: Voices are excellent and blend into the game perfectly.
Enjoyment: It is almost like owning your very own pinball table.
Replay Value: Only having one table will lead to some repetitiveness but the overall gameplay will keep players coming back again and again.
People who downloaded Pro Pinball: Big Race USA have also downloaded:
Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, Pro Pinball: The Web, Pure Pinball, Microsoft Pinball Arcade, Pinball Illusions, Addiction Pinball, Extreme Pinball
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