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Pro Pinball: The Web


Reviewed by: Chris McMullen
Author: Empire Price: Street: $25.99 US
Category: Pinball Game Released: August 1996
Platform: DOS, also on Win 95 (Win 95 version on same CD). Version: 1.60
Multiplayer: Up to 4 via Turns. Under Win95:Satisfactory

Graphic modes: 640x480x256, 800x600x256, 1024x768x256
Controls: Keyboard
Sound devices: All Sound Blasters, Gravis Ultrasound.
ComputerMemoryHD spaceCD speed
Reviewed onP13316M1Mx4


'We really wanna see those fingers..'

What is it about pinball games, exactly? Nearly every software house in existance seems to think they should put out a pinball simulator, and that, of course, their game will be the zenith of the genre. Maybe I'm exaggurating a little, but there's certainly no shortage of pinball games around. 21st Century started it all off with Pinball Dreams on the Amiga, and have been churning out pinball titles ever since. Epic Megagames joined in, with their originally titled Epic Pinball. Codemasters jumped on the spherical silver bandwagon with Psycho Pinball , and there's been a steady stream of pinball games ever since. So what does Empire's offering, Pro Pinball: The Web have to offer?


Look. A pinball table.

Well for a start, it looks a lot better than your average pinball game. The table, bumpers, balls and all, look like they've all been created using 3D Studio, Lightwave, or some similar computer rendering package. The table has a very hi-tech look, with a big animated scoreboard; hit a particular bonus bumper, or shoot your ball up the right ramp, and an animation will appear on the board. It appears that Empire have taken the 'simulation' rather than the 'game' approach. There are three flippers, and a number of different ramps, and other bonus bits, all there to help you rack up the points. There's even a basic shoot-em-up that you can play on the scoreboard, if you hit the right bonuses in the right order. The whole point of pinball is racking up the points, and in The Web, there's a whole host of different ways of doing it. Hit the target hole, and you have 30 seconds to hit a number of flashing targets; get them all in time, and you get a whacking great bonus. The Web has all the things you'd find in a real pinball machine.


Ball saved? Thank goodness for that. It would have ruined my day if I'd lost it.

There are a number of different graphical modes, depending whether or not your PC can cope. The table looks a lot sharper in 800x600 mode, although it's still pretty impressive in 640x400 mode. You can also play in 32,000 colour mode, though I can't say I've noticed the difference between that and the standard 256 colour mode. The music is particularly good; the game uses audio tracks straight from the CD. The sound effects aren't that noteworthy, there's a bit of speech, with the usual pinball type thwacks, whacks, and dings. The Web, which is the name of the first pinball table, is supposed to have a kind of cyber theme, although I actually thought the table design was pretty anonymous. Most other pinball game programmers give each table a distinctive feel, such as 'The Jungle', or 'The Carnival', that kind of thing. The Web could have done with a singularly obvious theme running through it. As is, it loses a little on that front. Still, perhaps Pro Pinball's other tables have something else to offer?

Gentle Ben

I know these shots all look the same, but bear with me, okay?

Slight problem, there. You see, there are no other tables. The Web is the first, and the last table in the package. No other tables included. Nil. Nada. Zip. And that's where, for me anyway, Pro Pinball falls down. Most pinball games include three or four tables at least, yet here is Pro Pinball with just the one. Now, I believe that quality is more important than quantity, at least where games are concerned. However, the single table included doesn't have any real impact. I'm not a pinball fanatic, but I do play pinball on occasion. And I always go to the pinball machines that stand out, such as the licensed ones, like Street Fighter II, or The Addams Family; as it stands, The Web is wholly anonymous.


If you're a dedicated pinball player, The Web might just be for you; Empire have added a facility so you can save your high scores and send them to Empire's web site, where they will be displayed for all the world to see. But as it stands, there are many better pinball games around on the PC, and as a full price game, The Web just isn't on top.

  • You can have up to six balls in play.
  • It looks good.
  • There's only one table.
  • Not a particularly strong theme.
  • We've seen it all before..

Appeal:Pinball fanatics..
Originality & Storyline:Originality? It's another pinball game, albeit a nice looking one. There's no real storyline.
Graphics & Video:Good; it even emulates the animated board thingy.
Audio:The CD music is good; the sound effects are average.
Longevity:For people who like swapping pinball scores, a month. Everyone else, a couple of days
Presentation:There are a few menu options, but no options to change the gravity and so on.
Packaging & Docs:The usual; a manual that covers most of the features.
Bugs & Problems:None spotted.

Copyright © Chris McMullen for the Games Domain Review, 1996. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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