Pinball Revolution by GT Select/GT Interactive Europe/Pin-Ball Games (Win95/98)
Pinball Revolution Box Art

Reviewed: 02/2000

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

GT Germany

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Roswell Pinball, The Avengers Pinball

European discount double gamepack featuring two tables created by the British company Pin-Ball Games Ltd. The Avengers is modelled after the 1960's cult TV series and the goal is to solve murders. Roswell is a take on the alleged 1947 UFO crash in New Mexico, USA. Separate CD-ROM for each game. Non-scrolling 3D view at resolutions of 640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768 in either 8, 16 or 24-bit color depth but not all possible combinations are available. Desired resolutions have to be selected at install time and are comprised of separate sets of files. Additional hard disk install choices are intro and in-game video. Installation also asks for a choice of one of five languages. This choice is only for the install process and the language has to be selected again upon game start and only a few prompts are affected by it. 5 balls per game, up to 4 players, top 10 scores recorded with last player name memorized. Extra balls awarded in score intervals (250M, 500M, 1B etc.). Flipper keys and 3-way nudges configurable - supporting joysticks/gamepads as well - with option to turn visual tilt effect on or off (Roswell default is on, Avengers off, no permanent setting). Additional options for brightness and sound volume. Manuals on CD-ROM in Adobe Acrobat format. Decent graphics with nicely rendered 3D objects and light effects. Roswell actually looks quite stunning while Avengers looks somewhat coarse and edgy with regard to the playfield imagery and even at 16-bit color depth the transition between progressing colors is not very smooth. The unattractive dotmatrix display as well as the table dynamics have a Hyper 3-D feel to them, much improved but possibly based on the same engine, similar to Star Trek Pinball. Good sound effects complementing the themes well especially Avengers with its voice overs from the series. Avengers also features the actual TV show's opening as a video sequence while Roswell uses a fictional, computer generated intro. Somewhat awkward menu system with four tiers: Language selection, gallery and game selection (listing the installed Pin-Ball Games tables), main menu with gallery and resolution/color settings, options menu (number of players, key setup, volume/brightness) for final game start. To exit, one has to quit individually through the latter three screens.
On-table moving objects like a ghost ball that merges with the pinball when hit and off-table interference from umbrellas, shooting guns and rocket launchers may offend the purist. So do the skillshots which are quick video modes prior to the actual ball launch followed by a pop-up plunger window. Ball physics are extremely exaggerated and geared towards action players. Both tables are too much like "shooting galleries" offering mostly ramps, ramps and more ramps. Avengers also has a set of unrealistically high-powered jet bumpers and relies heavily on table and video modes. Most are standard fare but there is a unique one that makes you correctly name hat styles. Some video modes have intermittent problems recognizing keystrokes.
Balls move unnaturally fast and easily defy gravity when it comes to rolling over ramps. However, both tables are playable and allow basic flipper techniques. Center drains are hard to defend but can generally be avoided with strategic play and highly tilt-tolerant nudges which require several bumps to be (almost too) effective. Avengers more so than Roswell has the annoyance of the "death bounce drain": The slingshots are offset to the side so that inlane rail is exposed to rebounding balls. Instead of falling into the cradle of the flippers they often just bounce off the rail and arch over the flipper into the center drain. If this is supposed to add to the challenge, I find it a pretty lame excuse. Roswell has an annoying feature all by itself: the Hangar 18 targets, a bank of drop targets in a half-circle with a single feeding lane and their own flipper. The idea is to avoid the exit lane until all targets are scored but it gets to the point where the challenge is to make the exit lane rather than score all the targets...
Avengers and Roswell are really two individual games rather than two tables in one package and would deserve separate reviews and ratings. But since this is a review of "Pinball Revolution" I treat them as one. As poor as the ball physics are in both, The Avengers is really the highlight of the package being much more detailed and richer than Roswell (as I understand it, Avengers was the more recent and also last effort by Pin-Ball Games). Avengers is fun - even addictive - as you switch between John Steed and Emma Peel and solve a string of murders and there are so many things to discover. Both games also sport a totally logical set of rules where feature completions add up to modes and modes add up to "WIZARD" counts which - if repeated - count towards the ultimate pinball god score and surprise.
My rating of 3 out of 6 is the average of 4 for Avengers and 2 for Roswell.

Where Found: Media Markt, Switzerland, 12/1999

Released/Copyright: 1998, Pin-Ball Games Ltd.