Fans of the silver ball have now had ample opportunity to experience a great number of pinball simulations on the PC. Many of the games use wacky ideas, a bad physics model and are not terribly exciting. The phrase "the ball is wild" has been used to describe real pinball and it's been incredibly difficult for designers to replicate that action on a computer. Developers have used all sorts of bizarre features in an attempt to liven up simulations -- features that could never be duplicated in the arcade. Usually, they've only alienated true fans looking for a great pinball game, making them wary of the genre in general.
Take heart, pinball fans! Pro Pinball: The Web, while it may not hit the super jackpot, takes great strides in the right direction. Empire Interactive has developed a truly viable pinball simulation rather than a bizarre hybrid with silly trappings that heretofore have passed as cyber pinball games. Pro Pinball: The Web is straight up pinball, realistic in most every aspect and, while it isn't the most perfect table ever devised, the dedication poured into creating a realistic simulation is obvious.
As a stand-alone table, the game is actually just slightly above average. Although a lot of work was put into the design, it still isn't close to the top-notch design of today's best real pinball tables and, in fact, its fairly generic looks detract from the overall experience. The layout, on the other hand, is decently structured and none of the ramps are too difficult to hit. The table is of average difficulty with multi-ball action fairly easy to initiate and the different modes create just the right amount of challenge. The best thing about the table is its sharp look at high resolution, though you need a high-end computer to run the game in its highest graphical modes.
Without doubt, the game's most outstanding feature is its superb physics model. While a truly accurate replication of "wild" pinball movement may yet be in the distant future, Pro Pinball: The Web contains the most accurate ball physics to date. The ball feels weighty and connected to the table in just the right way while possessing accurate amounts of backspin and exhibiting the same strange quirks seen on actual tables. The only minor quibble is that the ball occasionally is a bit too bouncy but certainly not to extremes.
For gamers who feel that only one table and no special effects make for a bad pinball game, Pro Pinball: The Web won't change your mind. This game will be appreciated by true pinball die-hards and in that regard it delivers very nicely. But, more importantly, it also shows promise for the future of the Pro Pinball series -- a series that could become the hallmark of computer pinball gaming for years to come if the designs continue to improve.
Graphics: Although there's only one table, it looks extremely sharp with crisp and clean graphics that appear amazingly real when set at the highest resolution (high-end computer recommended).
Sound: Music is of average quality but the score is bolstered by the wide variety of sounds heard as you activate various switches and modes.
Enjoyment: While the table is a touch bland, the physics make up for it to a certain degree, making it feel very realistic. It isn't the best pinball game ever made but at the time of release is certainly the best computer pinball game constructed. It certainly gives fans hope that even better games are yet to come, especially if the Pro Pinball series flourishes.
Replay Value: If you love pinball, you'll get plenty of gameplay from The Web due to its accurate physics and realistic action. Trying to set high scores is always an option for replay.
In this pinball simulation, you play on a table called "The Web". With the help of three flippers, you must send the ball into the various openings, trapdoors, and ramps. You can gain various bonuses (such as several balls to knock at the same time) if you play particularly well. Some of the targets activate special missions when you hit them with a ball. Those missions vary from aiming at specific targets to playing mini-games, such as shooting asteroids. After you have completed five missions, you'll be able to face the Dark Queen, the off-screen antagonist of the game.
Unlike many other pinball games, "The Web" aims for realistic simulation of pinball. The game implements real table physics, and doesn't feature any unrealistic gadgets or living enemies.
People who downloaded Pro Pinball: The Web have also downloaded:
Pro Pinball: Big Race USA, Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, Pure Pinball, Addiction Pinball, Pinball Fantasies, Pinball Illusions, Microsoft Pinball Arcade
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