Wizards and Interstellar Intrigue
Muscling its way into
the veritable cornucopia of "virtual pinball games" available
for the computer is Interplay's Pro Pinball. Pro Pinball is one of the
best of these wizards of cyber-pinball, though we don't necessarily agree
with Interplay that it "goes beyond the pinball experience."
After all, Pro Pinball
doesn't have a pall of cigarette smoke - or Generation X'ers - hanging
around your PC as they would be in a real, live arcade
Pro Pinball only offers
a single table, unlike the multiple games of competitors like "Psycho
Pinball," but it's an excellent realization. Despite the box's assertion
of different "action-packed missions," they're really just offshoots
of the main game, "The Web," and are activated when you sink
the ball into a particular recess (which in our case were rare occurrences,
The full-screen graphics
are terrific, though, and you can set different views that do a nice job
of approximating different players' heights. One of our staff admitted
to feeling a warm dose of nostalgia when he played the table as if standing
on a "virtual orange crate."
Pro Pinball has no
scrolling, either; the whole board is on screen all the time, which is
nice. And you can set the resolution up to 1024x768, running at 60 frames
per second, which makes for a very smooth gaming experience.
for the action itself, it's hot and heavy, with a very lifelike feel,
from plunger to flippers. You can even "nudge" the table to
give the ball that extra bit of help when you need it.
Master of Orion II - Battle at Antares"
(DOS/Windows 95) updates its older sibling, and we really wanted to like
it, but it didn't keep our interest very long.
It's like "Civilization"
and "Outpost" (two darn good games!) combined: you develop a
culture on your home world and spread across the galaxy, gaining new resources
and technologies as you go. And if you run out of food, your people shuffle
off their mortal coils in alarming numbers.
are not alone," and some aliens don't cotton to your being in their
neck of the universe. This can lead to armed conflict, which adds a touch
of action to an otherwise leisurely game.
But some races would
rather trade than fight, and you can gain new developments from them in
exchange for your own knowledge. And space monsters crop up at the most
exasperating times - destroying your ships or holding your worlds hostage.
The game setup's pretty
flexible; you can change the galaxy's age and resources and its initial
technological level, and there's an abundance of alien races from which
to choose your allegiance.
Graphics and sound
are good, though most interaction's text-based and this was disappointing.
the game swallows 75 Meg of hard drive space, even though it's CD-ROM-based!
We find this unacceptable in this day of multiple-speed CD-ROM drives
that should be fast enough to handle a game like this.
Still, if you liked
"MOO 1", you'll probably enjoy this sequel.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think