Eight Ball Deluxe by Amtex/P.A.S. Systems (DOS CD-ROM re-release by Softkey)
Eight Ball Deluxe Backglass Art

Reviewed: 01/1997

Rating: 3 of 6Rating: 3 of 6Rating: 3 of 6Rating: 3 of 6

Pinball Deluxe
Royal Flush

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Single-table package with a pool hall theme. Predecessor of Royal Flush and the first Amtex computer replica of an actual, classic coin-op machine. Eight Ball Deluxe was a pinball machine by Bally Midway in the early 1980's. Thus Amtex' first computer sim is of a more modern actual table than Royal Flush. The computer version reviewed here is version 2.0 which differs from version 1.0 in that it offers non-scrolling playfield resolutions of up to 1600x1200 (while the startup, menu and highscore table screens remain low-res) and requires EMS instead of XMS memory. The 2D planview is at its best at 800x600 where it no longer scrolls but expands to the full height of the screen. Naturally, 4 players are supported via the digital displays on the backglass, which is placed to the left and right of the centered playfield. The top 10 highscores are recorded and a validation code can be generated for the top score. Three table nudges (up, 45 degrees left and right) make table handling and ball saves realistic. Most keys are hardcoded but the left and right nudges can be specified via command line parameters, as well as some other start-up and graphics options. The main custom options are accessed from the graphical menu (a coffee shop scene) via the backglass hot spot. A simulated back box allows to change the pitch (table angle) and voltage (bumper strength). Another hot spot allows a magnet mode where the ball can be moved around the table with the mouse to try out the targets. The game defaults to 5 balls and I have not seen an option to change that. The ball and flipper physics are of proper simulation quality. The sound effects realistically capture the sound and speech synthesis of the time and convey a charming arcade feel. I can't much criticize the game for anything as its main purpose is to replicate an actual pinball machine and it does it well. If you don't like an older, slower pinball machine that mainly has a target bank, a few bumpers and rollover lanes, you probably don't like its computer equivalent either. But if you want to relive a bit of nostalgia on the home PC, you'd get enjoyment out of this. Eight Ball Deluxe is now re-released on CD-ROM by Softkey and comes together with Royal Flush and Tristan.

Released/Copyright: 1994, P.A.S. Systems and Amtex