Game Over Online ~ Pro Pinball Big Race USA

GameOver Game Reviews - Pro Pinball Big Race USA (c) Empire Interactive, Reviewed by - mud / cyrus /

Game & Publisher Pro Pinball Big Race USA (c) Empire Interactive
System Requirements P100 8mb RAM 4xCD ROM
Overall Rating 94%
Date Published Sunday, November 1st, 1998 at 02:24 PM

Divider Left By: mud Divider Right

Finally, after tons of computer pinball failures someone has taken the time to really capture a game with the feel of real pinball. I won't need to head down to the arcade or the bowling alley anymore to play because I have the real thing right here on my Pentium II. Congratulations to Empire Interactive for such a stellar achievement in an otherwise dismal genre.

True color mode (video card willing) in 1024 X 768 is simply a marvel to view. From the lighting designs, to the taxi and ramps this is definitely a step up from anything I have seen in the past and the slow down is negligible even when you have more than three or four balls rolling around the screen at the same time. There is also an option to zoom into all parts of the table from the main menu to get a better look at some of the eye candy on the table itself. Another aspect I was pleased to see was the Dot Matrix looking animation area that is included in all the new machines that are produced. The animations didn't slow down the game play one bit and there is even a mode where you play knock the cars of into the ditch for points. I believe it was called video mode and it was definitely a nice touch.

I gave gameplay a 27 out of 30 only because I don't like the small size of the left and right top flippers that are very valuable to making the ramp combinations and loops possible. They should have been more easily seen with fewer obstructions blocking your view of them. For the most part the flippers are effectively pointless due to this glaring error. Other than that one minor quibble, the gameplay model is good enough to be used as a standard for other companies making computer pinball simulations. Maybe now they will not hastily release "junk", as was this case with several past releases.

Not only is the gameplay simply amazing, you also have access to the "secret" menu that the table maintenance employee can play around with to make the game either easier or harder depending on the skill level of the local players. All possible options are included ranging from the length of time your air bag will stay deployed when you hit a Magno Charger on the right ramp to the ability of the table to adjust the replay score according to how many people are beating the default. One interesting feature is the ability to change the table condition to "new" or "maintained" or the one that I never picked, "neglected." I could write 10 pages of text on just the complexity of the table customizations.

I chose to follow a slightly different route in this review and grade the physics on a ten point scale because of the absolute importance of this category in a pinball game. For once I could actually aim the ball after the necessary catch move where I wanted it to go. Not one time did I see the ball shoot back right even though I used the right flipper with the ball teetering on the very end, whereas in other titles this is a common occurrence. Another nice addition to Big Race is the true representation of the spin that a ball can develop when hit at certain angles. Many times I tried to catch the ball with my flipper only to have it spin off because of a bumper or wall that the ball had just caromed off. This is exactly how it happens with a real game. Kudos again to Empire for taking the time to implement a very true to life physics system.

Either you like pinball or you don't as there really is no in between as far as I am concerned. I happen to like a good game of pinball as much or more than these new voodoo2 hungry games that seem to be flooding the market this year. Pinball players should buy this game immediately! You won't be disappointed.

Sound in this game is amazing although maybe slightly too busy for some of the people out there. Keeping with the trend of the real tables this game employs a lot of music and loud sound effects throughout the game. Thankfully the option to turn the music off is there in case you get sick of that gangster Chicago type theme that plays incessantly throughout the course of the game.

If you want to save the gas and the time that it takes to go play a physical game of pinball then you will find that Pro Pinball Big Race USA is more than an acceptable replacement. This game has convinced me to check out the previous two pinball titles from this company, "The Web" and "Timeshock." If they are anywhere near the quality of this soon-to-be classic then I have a lot more pinball to play for the next couple months.


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Divider Left By: cyrus Divider Right

As a member of Delta Force--The Army's top secret elite Special Forces unit, you will conduct missions swiftly and silently, in every possible terrain, under every imaginable condition and through any means necessary.

You're a member of the U.S Army's elite Special Forces unit, as the player you and a group of 2-3 computer controlled AI counterparts will need to covertly infiltrate an area and avoid contact with enemy patrols to accomplish an objective then infiltrate without being killed. Players can call in artillery and air support in the form of an orbiting AC-130 Spectre gunship for assistance in their missions.

Of course the player assumes many different roles throughout the game. You will execute land and water missions, you will set up ambushes with mines and anti-tank weapons; take out enemy targets a kilometer away with the .50 cal sniper rifle; and sneak up behind guards and go for the silent kill.

The game features over 40 gut-wrenching missions spanning across five different continents. You can also play in either 1st or 3rd person view. Choose between the wide selection of weapons like H&K MP5-suppressed for close-quarters battles or the Barret .50 caliber Sniper Rifle for explosive long range killing, plus an arsenal of many others.

Graphics: 14/20

Delta Force is NovaLogic's first attempt to create a tactical strategy game, straying from their usual flight SIMMs. Delta Force sports NovaLogic's Voxel Space 3 graphics engine. To try and produce realistic outdoor environments and terrain, all of it in thrity two bit color. And it does just that. The engine does though have a lot of brake up. As you first start your mission you will notice jaggy edges on the terrain. Not to mention the total lack of any detail in some areas. The objects and background in the distance are very pixely and blurry. This led to problems, such as when you needed to take out an enemy from a distance. I often caught myself blasting trees thinking they were enemies or worst of all not seeing them at all. The soldiers look like two little green block squares when they are far away. When you get closer to objects this problem seemed to go away. The character animation is very well done and realistic. The textures on the characters and terrain are also nicely done and very detailed. Even though with what might seem like a primitive game engine, with a few tweaks it could do wonders. It would be nice to see some kind of 3D support.

Sound: 13/15

The game boasts amazing 3D Positional Sound in Dolby Surround Sound. This means you can tell from which direction something is coming by hearing it. This was a very helpful addition in Delta Force. You don't have time to waste and search around for a sniper, but instead being able to hear where the shots are coming from allows you to quickly react. I'm afraid though most people won't get this experience unless their sound card supports it. In most cases the music in the game is great, adding greatly to the atmosphere of the game. It was also nice to here your enemies yell and scream at you in different languages as they died. Unfortunately through all this, the voice quality and other sound effects are not exactly up to par. The guns sound a little fake and get annoying quickly. The speech can get a little choppy at times, but for the most part it seems to be okay.

Gameplay: 22/30

The gameplay in Delta Force is quick and easy to use. It uses the standard arrow keys for moving around, and the mouse for aiming. The rest of the layout is quiet simple and easy to use. The AI in the game seems to be top notch, even though at some points I noticed the enemies just sitting there idle or not noticing my presence at all in some points of the game. The AI of your computer controlled team mates seems to very nicely done. They move in clever formations to try and cover you or help you out when needed. You can even communicate with them and tell them what to do. The third person view doesn't seem to add much to the game either. It's nothing like the one found in Tomb Raider. It's more of just a fancy camera angle. And I found it completely unplayable. You will find yourself using the first person view more than anything. Delta Force lacks originality department though. Delta Force seems more like a level add-on for Rainbow 6 or Spec Ops. The missions do offer a variety of objectives, besides your usual search and destroy types. The missions have you fighting in many different conditions and situations. One thing that I would have liked to have seen more of is the option to customize and edit your soldier more. It would also have been cool to be able to get power ups as you get farther in the game for each mission you complete. After you have beaten a mission you have seen it all. Therefore I don't think you will catch yourself loading this game much, unless of course for multiplayer and net play.

Fun Factor: 15/20

Despite it's few flaws the game is extremely addicting. Any GoldenEye 007 fan will enjoy playing this title, even fans of Rainbow 6 and Spec Ops. It's a nice change from the go around and blow up everything types of games. It offers plenty of strategy and action in one title.

MultiPlayer: 4/5

You can play Delta Forces absolutely free on NovaLogic's server, NovaWorld. You can play with over thirty people simultaneously. The multiplayer plays nicely, and nothing beats fighting in real time. It also offers many different types of gameplay over the internet: Cooperative, Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and King of the Hill. All this right in the box.

Overall: 8/10

Delta Forces is one the first installments into this new genre of computer gaming. It seems to be a very successful attempt, but still is a step behind its predecessors. Numerous missions and extensive gameplay will have you playing for hours. Despite all of this, you're left with the feeling and desire for something more. It will be nice to see how this gaming style develops. If you enjoyed Rainbow 6 or Spec Ops you should definitely give Delta Force a try.


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