Next up: Iron Maiden Ping-Pong.
You’re probably thinking that the combination of KISS and Pinball
is a bad idea. But consider the facts for a minute – both enjoyed their greatest
success back in the ’70s. Both…um…er…they…well…uh …um…both enjoyed
their greatest success back in the ’70’s. Did I already say that? Crap.
Speaking of crap, KISS Pinball.
And now, a word about value. KISS Pinball is part of Take 2 Interactive’s
“value” series of Playstation games. These titles are full-fledged games (theoretically)
that – because the company loves you, the consumer – is priced at the insanely
affordable $9.99. Just like Earl
Scheib! I’ll paint that car for $29.95! Of course, what Earl doesn’t tell
you is that he uses crayons instead of real paint. And what Take 2 doesn’t tell
you is that they used the supposed star power of aged rockers KISS to pawn off
the lamest pinball game to grace a system since ever.
To its credit, KISS Pinball is waging an uphill (or should I say ‘over
the hill’) battle from the get-go. Console pinball games have rarely fared well,
due largely to the fact that pinball is a way better game when
played without using a television. Some PC games have excelled due to great
physics and graphics, but this is a very niche genre that doesn’t often yield
good games. So in a sense, KISS Pinball is shooting par for the course.
KISS Pinball attempts to simulate ‘real’ pinball. There are a whopping
two tables included on the game CD – “Last Stop: Oblivion” and “Netherworld.”
Both have ramps and flippers and flashing lights and you whack the ball around
the table in much the same way you would do with a real pinball table. The big
difference is that when you play real pinball, your brain doesn’t explode due
to crummy graphics and, more importantly, the fact that you aren’t staring at
When I say bad graphics, I mean it. This game would feel comfortable on a Super Nintendo. The tables are grainy and cheap, featuring roughly drawn pictures of the band members’ clown faces. There’s no eye candy to speak of – no noticeably impressive flashing lights or whirling spinners or even halfway decent animations.
The framerate is fine, but this actually hinders gameplay because the ball is zipping around the table at simply too quick a clip to follow without losing your mind. Except, I should note, when you get a multi-ball, in which case the framerate creaks along slower than Gene Simmons’ pacemaker.
The physics are laughable. The ball is really big considering the small size
of the tables, and it sort of bounces around just following its own plans. When
coupled with the quick speeds, you get a game that’s hard to control and even
harder to want to control.
real nail in the coffin is the fact that you don’t get any extra camera angles.
It’s just this one fixed view that follows the ball as it flies around the table,
making it nearly impossible to figure out where to hit it. Instead, I advise
hitting a pillow so as not to bruise any knuckles.
The KISS portion of KISS Pinball is a gyp. Fans of the band will be
saddened when they discover that there aren’t any classic KISS tunes in the
game. It’s just this cheeseball generic looped metal hell. In case you’re not
a fan and somehow wound up with this game, you can actually pull out the game
CD (once a table is loaded up), pop in a CD from a band you like, then play
the game while listening to the new tunes. I then predict you will shut off
the game, take out the music CD and put it in the stereo where it belongs.
Yep, a KISS game with no recognizable KISS music. However, you do get Gene
Simmons and Paul Stanely providing voice-overs, such as “enigma!” and “This
is my domain!” Yeah, well you can keep your domain, Gene, er, Demon, er, whatever.
There is nothing else in KISS Pinball to mention. At least they could
have had some FMV from KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, like
when the band fought with some nasty robot werewolves. It would have
at least added some shlock value.
Ah, and once again we find the word “value.” At 10 bucks, some of you might
think that this is a cheap enough diversion to warrant a dip into the wallet.
Instead, you could go see a great movie. Or you could probably find a copy of
the MUCH better Last Gladiators for the
Sega Saturn (provided you still have a Saturn). Or better yet, take the 10 bucks
and get it changed into quarters, then go to the local pool hall or bowling
alley and spend an hour playing REAL pinball. Heck, just take the money and
I’d run with you, but sadly it’s too late for me. I’ve already been poisoned,
though I’ve been sticking my finger in my mouth trying to hurl this filth back
up. Maybe I can get KISS to Lick