a beat-em-up from the arcades, then provide a replica on the Playstation and you
have a successful game and with the availability of the steering wheel, the same
can be said of any racing game.
Pub transitions are a different
kettle of fish, if a fruit machine was made into a video game it would
inevitably fail because the main thrill of the gamble has been removed. Darts
is a definite non starter due to the fact that the entire game is dependant on
the human touch and skillful aiming, so if this was placed in the hands of a
computer, the challenge would become inconsequential. Pool has been attempted a
number of times and I suppose can be classed as reasonably successful but I
would still prefer to use the cash price of a video game for 112 games of real
pool in my local (approx conversion).
That leaves pinball, a game that
companies have invested a great amount of time and resources to perfect an
actual simulation, with some claiming relative success while others have failed
miserably. So can pinball work in a video game format? Virgin Interactive
claim to have painstakingly recreated Tilt to perform in the manner of a real
pinball table. Lets see.
is a game that frequents both arcades and pubs where it is usually tucked away
in a dark corner due to the size of the table. It was immensely popular in the
50's, 60's and 70's and has recently acclaimed a mini revival. The object of
the game is to launch an oversize metal ballbearing around a sloping table that
contains colorful backdrops, a number of rebounding obstacles, usually a couple
of ramps and two flippers which are used to flip the ball back into play.
Playstation has received a mixture of Pinball games over the last twelve months,
I suppose you could say there has been a good, a not too bad and an ugly.
Pro Pinball-The Web, presently sits at the top of the table, with it's graphical
supremacy and quality gameplay, although it lacked lastability due to the fact
that there was only one table to play, but what do you want, quality or
quantity? Well, both actually. Ocean's True Pinball was OK with it's selection
of four tables, three viewing angles and a number of suitable tunes to
accompany the action. EA's Extreme Pinball was awful, with many minor flaws in
the gameplay and the graphical content, and the unbelievable problem that
incurred when the silver ball crossed the silver backgrounds, made me wonder if
this game was ever tested before release.
The best pinball video game
that I have played is Codemasters Psycho Pinball on the Megadrive, with its 2D
top view, crisp and colorful graphics, suitable music, four tables and many
sub-games. It seems clear that programming the 3D view is creating the major
problem for developers, as a stroll around the arcades and pubs will quickly
show which pinball games play the best and prove most popular. All we want is
something that feels right and is challenging, but fun to play, just take a look
are two views on offer in Tilt, a 2D top scrolling version which is playable on
all of the tables and a 3D table view that has been the bug bear of all previous
pinball games, but we will go into this later.
Let's start with the
backgrounds. There are six different table tops in Tilt, covering a wide
variety of themes. First up is Roadking USA which has roads for ramps, subways
to cut through and plenty of flashing lights but the background tends to look
rather clustered and non descript. Next is Fun Fair which features the best
graphics seen on a pinball table to date. It is bright, colorful and spacious
and includes every detail associated with all the fun of the fair from
merry-go-rounds to the big wheel. The Monster has a backdrop of Frankenstein
with his monster strapped down and plugged into an electrified table. Gangster
has a 30's style look to it but is another of the over clustered tables that
makes special shots a little difficult to spot immediately. Star Quest is a
spacious table with a background of dark blue space and twinkling stars and has
spaceships, asteroids and docking bays as its theme. Finally we have Myst and
Majic, once again a cluttered backdrop with just too much going with its
Right, lets get straight to the point. Until someone
invents a screen that has an upright rectangular form, pinball table shape, then
I do not believe that a pinball game will work in 3D. Virgin have selected the
best possible angle to show off these games but the problem remains that unless
the table is void of features then it will always appear clustered, but you need
the features to make the game entertaining. It's a no win situation. The only
tables that work in 3D are the Fun Fair and Star Quest, because they only have a
loop at the top of the screen whereas the other tables have skill shots, bumpers
and generally every important aspect of a pinball game shoved up to the top of
the screen where the 3D effect renders them unplayable. Switch them onto 2D
scrolling and you have six varied and entertaining games, point made.
game is interrupted by a FMV when a ball is locked but thankfully it can be
Tilt lacks in 3D effects is more than made up for with its sounds and effects.
The musical selection is absolutely superb with each table accompanied by a
fitting soundtrack, perfect. Rockin' road music for Roadking, 30's style jazz
tunes for Gangster, a slow moody sound that you could easily spacewalk to backs
Star Quest and a medieval soundtrack of horns and trumpets for Myst and Majik.
A special mention for the Fun fair with it's excellent 'merry-go-round'
fairground tunes and The Monster with it's haunting 'Adams Family' type
The sound effects have been so well thought out
with each theme surrounded by accurate noises. When launching your ball in the
Roadking game you hear the sound of a car ignition, then the screaming tyres as
your ball takes off. On losing your ball the sound of a car hitting the breaks,
skidding and then crashing accompanies the action. The Fun Fair is jam packed
with fun sounds from the crashing of cymbals as your ball is launched to the
mocking giggles as your ball disappears down the hole. In fact all of the sound
effects are superb within each game apart from Myst and Majik where the sound of
the ball crashing against the bumpers appears to be the noise of a multiple car
crash, strange one that.
one thing that Tilt offers you is variation with the selection of six tables,
each sporting a different theme and an individual gameplay.
A fast and furious game to
begin with where the gentle launching of the ball should result in a skill
bonus. Control of the ball is imperative in Roadking as wild flipping will only
result in an early exit while aiming for the subway will lock your ball for the
multiball feature. The wide ramps are not too difficult to hit but beware as
the ball will return at lightening speed. Definately a game for the quick
thinkers. Out of the six games, I found this table the most difficult to get
going on because of the pace.
table has been designed to ease novice gamers into pinball. A fairly strong
launch is required to reach the loop where there is an extra flipper to flip the
ball around the ball lock loop. Multiballs are awarded for ten loops. An
accurate shot is required to enter the ghost train where bonus points and
features are awarded. The upper part of the table has an inner game and to
enter you must light up the letters FUN, once inside control of the ball with
the small flippers should boost your score. This table was most enjoyable due
to the excellent sound effects and music although the ball spent most of the
time going round and round the main loop.
gentle launch will see your ball fall into one of the three holes for a skill
bonus. This game features many ramps but keep an eye out for the guillotine
where a bonus is awarded for entering. Monster is one of the more skillful
games where control of the ball, rather than just thrashing at it, will reap
many points. I found the special targets difficult to find in Monster, as one
of the unusual things about Tilt is there are no tips given to reveal bonus
shots, therefore you will have to stumble upon the special targets to access the
tricky skill shot that requires an element of luck as well as control as the
skill shot will change on each launch, so you would be as well to gently send
the ball up the opening ramp to have a sneaky look before your initial launch.
Created in the style of Williams / Bally machines, Gangster could be your
quickest game unless you remain in control of the ball. The bonus ramp is set
in the centre of the table and is not too difficult to reach.
The ball is launched straight
into a bonus tunnel that offers a multiball every fourth entry. Shooting into
the spaceship offers special bonus tasks while docking the ball in the bay
provides a random award. There are plenty of opportunities to increase your
score, too many if you ask me. The manual states that this table is pitched for
the beginners, your telling me. I scored well over 1,500,000,000 on my first
ball and as an extra ball is awarded for every 150,000,000 I had ten extra balls
to use up before I was onto my second ball. After two hours I reached
7,000,000,000 and over twenty balls to play, so I quit the game.
MYST AND MAJIK
For experts only this
medieval game should test the best pinball wizards out there. A fast moving
game that will prove difficult to master and the cluttered backdrop will only
add to the challenge. The random bonus shot is quite tricky and the side ramps
will take some accurate shooting.
There you go, Tilt offers clear
graphics, six tables, an excellent music selection, lots of sub-games and two
you would like to own a pinball game for your Playstation then look no further
than Tilt. No other game features six tables with each requiring a different
style of play, but forget about the 3D option and the two tables I found it a
quite frustrating view. Apart from this, Tilt is as good as your going to get.
challenge in all pinball games remains to beat the best score and with six
tables to select Tilt should hold your attention for many weeks. The lack of
instructions for the multiple or bonus shots was slightly frustrating but this
can only add to the lastability.