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Pinball Tycoon

Pinball has lost its majesty. With the decline of the arcade and the advent of video games, Pinball has become another pastime that has faded into history. There are less and less companies making Pinball units and fewer arcades purchasing them. Fortunately, there is a steady Pinball following, mainly on the PC but surprisingly on the GBA as well. Will Pinball be restored by these bargain-bin titles? Probably not, but they provide some quick and easy to get into amusement that anyone can enjoy.

Pinball Tycoon is one of the latest Pinball games to grace the GBA. Unlike other games, Pinball Tycoon has no story. It’s all about the design of the unit to make the game entertaining. Pinball Tycoon succeeds very well in that the four different units in it are all very different from one another and provide for very different gameplay between them. The four units have varying themes, California Gold Rush, Black Gold, Hollywood Mogul and Golden Chance. Of these 4, I must say that Black Gold is the best one. It has the most to it and if you can get past the backdrop that has two men touching each others shoulders while looking over a ranch it, provides an entertainment.

The only problem with the game is that it is way too limited. Most of the courses only have a few bumpers and ramps. Well it was a relatively cheap game, the fact of the matter is that there should have been either more units or better design. A very good game design is wasted because the creators didn’t make enough game. Fortunately, the physics are very accurate, and the control with the shoulder buttons is dead on making the few levels enjoyable. Also, there aren’t any unlockable, so playing for hours and hours just gets you the highest score and that is all.

Graphically, Pinball Tycoon is pretty decent. The unit is split in two by the camera, meaning you can only see half of it at once. The camera is centered on the ball and follows it with speed and accuracy to where ever it gets hit to. The artwork on the units is fairly well done, Hollywood Mogul looks the best out of the bunch. It has a very movie-like design that suits it well. A small little window along the bottom of the screen tells you your score and which ball you are on.

The music in Pinball Tycoon is sure to get into anyone’s hearts. Each unit has it’s own theme based on the area where the unit takes place. Like the Golden Chance has casino-style music to it while the California Gold Rush has western music to accompany it. The sound is nothing impressive, just some flipper noises and the slap of a ball, along with the occasional ding.

Once you’ve gotten the high-scores, there is really no reason to play Pinball Tycoon anymore. Fortunately, Pinball Tycoon features single unit multiplayer for up to four people if you can find four people who want to play Pinball.

Oddly enough, though there is so little to the game it is still very enjoyable. If you are willing to deal with such a limited amount of gameplay and you want a Pinball game, I recommend this title. If you want more variety though, go and pick up something like Pinball of the Dead, or even go to an arcade near you.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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