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Overlooked: Pinball Fantasies - The Atari Times

Overlooked: Pinball Fantasies

Don't forget other great games
by Randy Femrite

August 1, 2000
Blowing up helicopters and stepping on tanks, zapping the mutants and saving your ranks. Rifling through aliens and killing their Queen, blasting the face huggers before they make you scream. Death and destruction is pretty much a common occurrence for the Jaguar gamer with many quality action type shooters to choose from. Yet, sometimes do you ever feel the need to sit down and just mellow out with your Jag? Take a break from all the Doom and destruction? Stop the violence so to speak?

When you purchased the Jag CD unit you were introduced to the hypnotic effects of the VLM and the serenity of Myst. The Jaguar library offers a host of games along these same lines aimed at showing you how relaxing and entertaining your 64-Bit Multimedia Game System can be. You might not find these games on anyone's Top Ten list but they go have a niche in your collection.

I think it's safe to say everyone reading this has played a pinball machine in their youth, no doubt some still do. For me pinball was the spring board to the video game machine and thus the addiction began. Not that pinball isn't addictive, just a little difficult to play in your home, unless you have Pinball Fantasies for the Atari Jaguar. With four very different tables to choose from, realistic gameplay and more colors than a Disney movie this title provides many visual as well as audible treats.

The first table, Partyland, puts you inside an amusement park. You can shoot ducks, eat ice cream, ride a roller coaster, try your luck at the arcade or practice your skill shot pretty much everything you can do at an amusement park. Wanna party? Shoot the loop for a "P", eat some snacks for an "A", ride the cyclone to get an "R", enjoy a sky ride for "T" and finally PUKE for a "Y". Suddenly it's Happy Hour.

The second table, Speed Devils, places you in a race car with many things to do, your overall goal of course is to win the race. Along the way you can make pit stops, upgrade your car, shift gears, increase your speedometer and go off-road racing all the while acquiring bonuses and multiplying your score.

The third table, Billion Dollar Game show, allows you to win many prizes including a TV, a boat, a trip, an airplane, a house and, you guessed it, "a new car."

The fourth and final table, Stones 'N' Bones, puts you in a haunted house type environment. You'll find bats, ghosts, devils and demons, mummies and even the Grim Reaper. One thing I like about this table is the number of flippers, not more but less, two instead of three. When I was growing up we didn't have the multi-flipper, multi-ball, multi-level movie theme based three balls for a quarter rip-offs seen today. The art of playing pinball lie in two flippers and the type of "English" one could inflict on the machine before the dreaded "TILT". This can be done also in Pinball Fantasies with the use of your "A" button.

Technically I should rate each game individually to grade them on such things as visuals, sound, control and gameplay. However the truth is they all excel in each of these categories. That's the beauty of Pinball Fantasies the best table is going to be your favorite table. So go ahead and put your Gattling gun down for a spell and take in some of the 16.7 million colors your Jaguar has to offer. Maybe your batteries could use a little recharging and this title is just the ticket!

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