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Galactic Pinball

Ever since pinball machines showed up in arcades, they were a huge hit. Keeping a little ball away from a pit by smacking it in the air sounds entertaining enough, right?

Well, when video games rolled around, pinball machines may have seemed dated technologically, but they certainly were not forgotten. Why not combine the two wonders to solve world crisis everywhere? Or, at least waste a good few minutes.


visuals

How much can you really get out of a pinball machine as far as graphics go? Well, they sure got a lot more than I expected. You get four boards that are all 3D-- in that they have pipes above and below the board where you can shoot your ball for more points. As far as all the other "normal stuff," it looks good too. The flippers, the moving targets that give extra points-- it all looks fine. Your ball is called a puck, though, and it resembles an Altoid more than not.

Yet ultimately, the backgrounds are the best part. Across the back, behind the clear board, there are multiple layers of stars, galaxies, and whatnot. It’s the same as the main menu: there’s a ring of planets (with multiple layers), with stars behind them, and the words "Galactic Pinball" in front of them. It really looks good.


audio

Each of the four boards-- Colony, UFO, Alien, and Cosmic-- all have their own music. My favorite one, Colony, has an added track, which adds to the effect at hand (I’ll get into that in a second).

You get only reasonable sound effects, but that’s not to say they're bad. Like your ball hitting a bumper, will just be a "ding"-- but classic pinball stuff nonetheless.

The only other bits of audio worth noting are the voice samples in the beginning. When you turn the game on, you'll hear, "Welcome to Space world, let’s go!" It sounds good, but not as good as Red Alarm’s.


gameplay

Okay, when I first played, I chose the UFO board. I hit the ball, and then I died. It was kind of annoying, because no matter which way I seemed to hit the damn thing, it always went down the same side-- completely out of my control.

So I played the other three boards, and ended up finding a favorite in Colony. In this particular board, there are multiple targets to shoot the ball at, and a little radar on the left that displays the location of comets, as well as a colony.

While playing, the comets slowly get closer to the colony. As alluded to above, when the comets get really close, the music gets more intense. When they arrive, the ball floats into the air, and comets begin to shoot out of the "drain" (the hole between the flippers". Somehow, your ball can fire bullets at this point, so it’s your job to shoot them. Believe it or not, this touch is great!

The board also has a few other cool features. For example, I spelled RESCUE by shooting a ball repeatedly into a hole, and a small ship came out of another hole. It flew around the board, and when my ball would get close, it’d capture it, and have it orbit the ship. While this was happening, you could choose when to launch the ball from the ship as it continued to fly around the arena. This little bonus actually sticks around after your first ship-aided ball launch, to boot.


multiplayer

N/A


overall

Easily the best Pinball game I’ve ever played. The replay value isn’t too incredibly high, but it’s still there. There’s no two player mode, just the standard pinball (though you could compete trying to get higher scores). This isn’t really a memorable game, but it’s not boring. If you want a pinball game for VB, this is your best shot.


final score

6.5/10