This weekend I'm putting in a fair amount of time playing Zen Studio's upcoming Pinball FX2 expansion pack, Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles. As a result, I've been bitten with the pinball bug, which means that we're about to spend the full week looking at old 8- and 16-bit pinball games. We have a strong group of games, all aspiring to be more than just your typical video pinball experience. Do you have what it takes to survive the multi-ball and go for the high score? Find out now when we look at a week of too much pinball!
CONTEST: Can you guess what games I'm reviewing? Below you will find clues for to all five games I'm reviewing. Tweet me @DefunctGames with your guesses for a chance to win a download codes and other valuable prizes. The person that gets the most right before Friday wins!
By 1992, Motley Crue's best years were already behind them. The hair metal quartet had already released their most popular albums, Vince Neil decided to split and the rise of Nirvana and the grunge rock movement meant the band's days were numbered. But that didn't stop Electronic Arts from releasing the questionably timed, wholly unnecessary rock 'n roll pinball game, Crue Ball: Heavy Metal Pinball.
Developed by the makers of Rygar on the Lynx, Crue Ball attempts to mix pinball with chip tunes remakes of popular Motley Crue hits. You'll be serenaded with funky sounding versions of Dr. Feelgood, Live Wire and Home Sweet Home, all while playing a pinball game that has almost nothing to do with Mick Mars, Nicki Sixx, Tommy Lee and anybody else connected with the band.
There is an argument that suggests that it's impossible to review classic video games. After all, context matters and technology has advanced to such a point where the whole concept of criticizing old games feels pointless. Although I strongly disagree with this premise, I find it nearly impossible to give Nintendo's Pinball the fair shake it deserves.
This is an early generation Nintendo Entertainment System, back when companies could get away with simple one-word titles (see: Golf, Baseball, Tennis, etc.). As such, Pinball is a barebones attempt to recreate the flipper action on a home game system. The results are predictable: Bad graphics, sparse obstacles and unrealistic physics. By today's standards, Pinball is a terrible game.
Once upon a time there was a sci-fi pinball game for the TurboGrafx-16 called Alien Crush. It didn't bother with realistic physics; instead Alien Crush gave players the kind of pinball experience you can only find on a game system. Naxat quickly readied their horror-themed follow-up, Devil's Crush. Together these two pinball games are celebrated as two of the best titles on NEC's short-lived console.
Naxat decided to keep the "Crush" spirit alive with a remake and a sequel. Devi's Crush was ported to the Sega Genesis as Dragon's Fury, allowing a brand new audience a chance to experience the bizarre mixture of medieval fantasy and pinball. Then came Jaki Crush, a Super Famicom exclusive that never made its way to out of Japan. Having tackled three different consoles and multiple types of demonic monsters, Naxat was done with "Crush" and ready to move on.
Pinball Quest is the kind of baffling experiment that almost works. You can tell there's a spark of brilliance in there somewhere, even if it's hidden under layers of poor decisions and bad execution. It tries hard to reinvent the 8-bit pinball genre, but ends up getting bogged down by its own grandiose aspirations. Pinball Quest is a game I would recommend, but only because of how unusual the whole experience is.
Like so many other pinball games of that time, Pinball Quest is actually a compilation of four very different tables. The first three -- Pop! Pop!, Viva! Golf and Circus -- are the opening act, presenting the kind of straight forward pinball action you're used to. Each of these tables is two screens tall and full of obstacles appropriate for the theme. For example, the 1950s diner has you knocking down bowling pins and the golf stage has both a sand and water trap.
Based solely on the title, Revenge of the 'Gator sounds like the exciting sequel to The Adventures of Bayou Billy. Get your mind out of the swamp and get ready for one of the best video pinball games ever made. Developed by HAL Laboratory, this1990 Game Boy cartridge sets a high water mark for the genre.
I don't know what you did to that frustrated alligator, but he's currently pissed off at you. As a result you have to earn a high score on this complicated, multi-screen pinball table. With surprisingly detailed graphics and some truly inventive obstacles, Revenge of the 'Gator is delightful. The table is full of alligators, both big and small. In fact, there's not a screen where you're not face to face with at least a few deadly