Golden Logres by LittleWing (Win95/Mac, English, Internet Edition)
Golden Logres Box Art

10/1998, 11/1998

Rating: 5 of 6Rating: 5 of 6Rating: 5 of 6Rating: 5 of 6

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Camelot, Land's End, Fisher King

Concept package with three linked tables. In the tradition of Crystal Caliburn and Loony Labyrinth introducing a single, fixed 3D view at 640x480 or 800x600 resolution in 8-bit or 16-bit color filling a good third of the screen. 3-ball play, various multiballs, 3-way table nudges, configurable keys. Top 4 highscores recorded with option to export highscore contest file but no general recording of game stats like before. Score, progress and target hints displayed as text to the left and right of the table. While this looks a little tacky I don't see how it could have been solved better. Crisp, appealing graphics and fitting sound effects including speech. Great ball physics which make the game very playable though at times are not as steel ball-like as e.g. in Pro Pinball:Timeshock (though a direct comparison needs to be approached with caution as they are two quite different beasts). Sometimes it seems like certain drop targets don't drop even though they appear to be hit. Options to practice the two linked tables and to save an ongoing game, both forfeiting eligibility for the highscore contest. Mission briefing panels overlay the table stopping the game for a brief narration which is less intrusive than it sounds.
Golden Logres is based on the Arthurian legend again but takes everything further. By completing a repetitive sequence of targets you - being the only surviving knight from the Last Battle - revive the other 11 knights of the round table and send them on missions to restore the kingdom of King Arthur. Two of these mission take you to the two linked tables where sub-missions are to be completed and most of the points can be gained in multiball play after each one. All tables are very different from each other. Land's End has an '80s feel with ramps and speed while Fisher King has a more '70s feel with simpler features but harder defense requirements. The goal then is to return from these two tables for the ultimate, time-limited Fandango multiball at Camelot after which the game ends no matter how many extra balls are left. The table rules are the most well thought-out, structured and complex I have seen. There's a whole background story to accompany them. It's almost like playing an adventure game. Even the denotation of e.g. shields (kick-backs left) is RPG-like, using the "Shields +N" format. A drawback is that the missions have to be completed in sequence except on the linked tables where multiple knights have to complete one mission each. You can beat the complexity by studying the detailed manual and applying strategy. Once you understand the logistics, the game is fairly easy to play all the way through but the challenge lies in getting the most points with the least number of balls. I'm not completely happy that much of the scoring comes from outhole bonuses and jackpots rather than target hits as they occur. There are seemingly unlimited extra balls and kick-backs available. If you have the patience to opt for them you can skillfully build a lot of insurance on the base table and carry it over to the linked tables. While this is vital to a successful game it can also get somewhat tedious and much time is spent on completing drop-down target banks before anything exciting happens. Practice is needed for the extra tables, especially Fisher King which can hose your game as fast as you can reach level 9 in your favorite arcade shooter just to lose it all in level 10.
You might wonder why I praise Golden Logres when it kind of contradicts my pinball ethics geared towards the "ultimate simulation of a real-life pinball machine on a computer". Well, Golden Logres makes an alternate, computer-only pinball concept actually work without sacrificing pinball credibility, pays careful attention to detail and is so logical, motivating, challenging and playable that I simply love it. I first rated Golden Logres at 5 1/2 points wanting to put it slightly above Crystal Caliburn and Loony Labyrinth but with the novelty worn off and with regard to the overall scale I conclude that it is about equal and now demote it - without prejudice - to 5 points.
Right now, Golden Logres is available to the English audience only via download from the LittleWing Web site. Supposedly the version you download is the same as retail will be. As of this writing, the English contest hasn't been opened yet but the Japanese highscore page looks like some fierce competition.

Where Found: LittleWing online, 09/1998

Released/Copyright: 1998, LittleWing Co. Ltd.