Pinball Fantasies by 21st Century/Digital Illusions/FrontLine Design (DOS)
Pinball Fantasies Box Art

Reviewed: 09/1996

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

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Multi-table package with four themes. Scrolling 2D planview in both low (320x240) and high (360x350) VGA resolutions. This game is the second in the Digital Illusions/FrontLine Design trilogy of Pinball Dreams, Fantasies and Illusions and also ranks in between the two. It's more sophisticated than Dreams but does not yet have the resolution (non-scrolling 800x600), sound and physics of its successor. It's another conversion of a former Commodore Amiga design. The tables with fairly innovative themes sport quite a number of features including many target combinations and ramps but essentially are very similar (e.g. each table cycles through a set of bonuses at even ramp shot increments and three of the tables have an upper, third flipper positioned for a ramp). Keys are not configurable but there are several game parameters such as table angle, scroll speed, color/mono, number of balls (3- or 5-ball play which writes to the same highscore table). Beating the current highscore awards an extra ball. Uses a dot-matrix score display employed for some animation too. I found that the scrolling produces an annoying flicker in low-res mode but is quite acceptable in high-res. Physics are not very realistic which shows in ball acceleration and the lack of refined ball control with the flippers. Sound effects (including some simple speech) and background tracks are standard fare but show again how Amiga MOD files were superior to PC sound at the time. Fantasies was touted as ground-breaking at the time but is definitely becoming dated - comparable to Epic's Pinball Packs but superior to the Spidersoft products of the time. The game is supposed to run on as little as a 16Mhz 286 and comes on two floppy disks. If you are confined to an old machine, Pinball Fantasies can still entertain you. Copy protection scheme requires a word from the manual the first time it's run. Pinball Fantasies was re-released as Pinball Fantasies Deluxe which added the themes from Pinball Mania for a total of eight tables.