Fox Interactive, $30. Requirements: PowerPC 603e or better, 16MB RAM, System 7.5 or higher, 4xCD-ROM. For more information, visit Fox Interactive at http://www.foxinteractive.com.

Review by Adam Newman

I LOVE PINBALL. And although I enjoy the pure gameplay of the older (read: 1970's and early 1980's) machines {n.b. I'm 33 years old…so I'd like to think not SO old that I recall the pinball tables of the 1950's, but old enough to compare the modern machines for you young wippersnappers out there}, I really do think that modern electronics has done wonders for pinball. Complex ball combinations, multi-levels, multi-balls, ramps - all good.

The promise of this package offers 4 (count 'em 4!) table layouts - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Predator, and The Fly. Doesn't that just sound tremendous??? In theory, it is. In practice, it somehow just seems to fall short. For a long time, Macintosh pinball was dominated by the producer, Littlewing. Their tables were elegant and the physics very convincing. Fox Interactive has increased the visual appeal of Mac pinball with this product, but somehow gameplay has suffered.

Starting the game is as easy as choosing your table and number of players. Although the four tables are distinct from one another by their movie theme, gameplay itself seemed quite repetitive. I suppose that's no surprise since the same engine governs all four tables. You can choose from among 3 skill levels - novice, regular, and arcade. In addition, you can remap the key assignments to suit your keyboard layout of choice.

During gameplay, movie clips are played from the various themes. Combination ballplay triggers animations all over the table, target combinations trigger jackpots, and the artwork is continuously morphing around the screen. The flippers are responsive and gameplay was quite smooth on my system. I'm sure it's even smoother on a stock G3. You can nudge the table from the sides and bottom, and of course, tilt if you nudge too much.

The Macintosh gaming community continues to evolve with the success of the iMac and G3. With that success comes some games that somehow fall short. Although the promise of Sci-Fi Pinball was huge, the gameplay became monotonous very quickly. The physics, although accurate, still felt "not quite right". On some level, this package feels like a port.

I've gone back to play again to see if it was just my first impressions that were off. Unfortunately, I stick to those opinions. I got VERY excited to review this game, but sadly got tired of it equally quickly.

 
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