Psycho Pinball by Philips Media/Codemasters (DOS CD-ROM)
Psycho Pinball Box Art

Reviewed: 10/1996

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

search AltaVista

Psycho, Trick Or Treat, Abyss, Wild West

Multi-table package with four themes. Scrolling 2D planview in high and low resolution. Up to 4 players, 1, 3 or 5 balls per game, selectable difficulty level and ball speed, multiball plays, configurable keys except for plunger, left, right and upward nudge, records top 5 highscores. Dot-matrix display with ample animation and several video modes with games of skill. Comparable to Pinball Fantasies in style (though richer in features) and borrowing the concept of linked tables, entertainment software newcomer Philips tries to join the recent computer pinball craze with a game where one table (Psycho) serves as the base to reach the other three tables: If you hit certain targets you are taken to the corresponding table where you play one ball and return to the Psycho table when you lose it. In addition, the other three tables can be played individually. The choice of themes does not introduce much of a novelty - carnival, horror, underwater and cowboys have all been done before. The ball physics are about average, acceptable but not refined or realistic, and the sound and sound effects are standard fare too (actually, the thud of the ball bouncing off table walls is downright annoying), throw in some video animations for good measure. The Abyss features a volcano that occasionally shakes the table, reminiscent of the real-life Earthshaker machine. Speaking of shaking, the left and right nudges are too powerful while the upward nudge doesn't seem to do much. This is the first game I encounter that has a difficulty option, meaning you can actually determine which targets should be lit already when you start (e.g. in normal mode the extra ball is lit right away). Other parameters are ball speed, tilt sensitivity and number of balls. All this goes to the same highscore table though it does indicate the number of balls and the difficulty setting - yet, I just don't believe this is the way to do it. Last but not least, this game would greatly benefit from a non-scrolling display, particularly for the short-lived, desperate multiball plays with barely half the table visible. Absolutely unfit as a simulation, Psycho Pinball can provide fun and entertainment as I have heard from several people who like this game. Personally, I don't care much for it mainly because the game lacks "soul". A hodgepodge of already used ideas aimed at the broadest audience possible at a time when it is safe to release pinball games.

Where Found: Philips Media mail order, 10/1996

Released/Copyright: 1995, Codemasters Ltd.