More Reviews
REVIEWS Hatoful Boyfriend Review
Before this review, there seemed to be an absence of a certain ornithological piece; a headline regarding mass awareness of a certain avian variety...

Murasaki Baby Review
When a little girl with an upside-down face finds a balloon, you better protect it from monsters!
More Previews
PREVIEWS Halo: The Master Chief Collectio Preview
Microsoft and 343 Industries want to bring the entire Halo saga to Xbox One and this collection does exactly that with new graphics for Halo 2.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14

Alien: Isolation
Release date: 10/07/14

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Release date: 10/14/14

The Evil Within
Release date: 10/14/14


LATEST FEATURES Assassin's Creed Unity Interview: Ubisoft Talks Multplayer, Next-Gen Development, More
Ubisoft's first "truly" next-gen entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise takes the fight to France. Here's what you can expect.

PlayStation Download September 2014 - Updating Each Week
Sony's platforms always get plenty of new digital software and we'll bring you the list each week with the rest.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
A Letter to the Big “N"
By shandog137
Posted on 09/12/14
I have and will continue to have a place in my heart for Nintendo. In fact, my first console was a Super Nintendo. The video game market has changed drastically since the early '90s and it seems like what once was platinum is more so along the lines of silver now. Nintendo has always been...

Big Race USA Review

Johnny_Liu By:
Johnny_Liu
09/01/00
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Pinball 
PLAYERS 1- 2 
PUBLISHER Empire 
DEVELOPER  
RELEASE DATE Out Now

Balls of Steel.

Remember pinball? Those glass covered, angled tables with the flashy lights and sounds? Sure you do. Ever since I could remember, I wanted to own a few, just like that kid in Silver Spoons. Pinball games in your living room and a big toy train running through your house are the signs that you have truly arrived.

Well, times have changed. Now that little rich kid from Silver Spoons is working the mean streets of New York as a cop. Arcades are being replaced by home systems. Yet still, only the bourgeois have their own pinball machines.

What's the prescription? Well, you could try Empire's Pro Pinball Series for temporary relief. It will give you a simulation of pinball - the key word being "simulation." The series consists of 4 titles, each being a different pinball table. The two I'll be checking out in this review are Big Race USA and Fantastic Journey.

In a nutshell, Big Race USA is a ramp driven game of pinball, whereas Fantastic Journey is more trigger-centric.The former is filled with cartoonish graphics - bright colors and neon lights make for a clean layout. This table is better suited to the younger or newer pinballer, while Fantastic Journey's darker tones and graphics are a good match for the old-schoolers. Plus, the 70's-styled music is much better than Big Race's.

When it comes down to it, Fantastic Journey is the better of the two, though I was a better player on the Big Race table.

The same game engine lies behind all the Pro Pinball games, and the crux of the matter is found in the physics. Just watching that metal ball glide around as you play will remind you of all those mathematical functions and figures that you slept through in high school. From the gravity that pulls down on the ball to the applied force of a powered flipper, the physics are very good.

And the control is easy enough - buttons for the left and right flippers and the launch key. Plus, you can tilt the table left, right, or forward. Analog support for tilting would have been better, as it feels weird using digital buttons - like you can't really control your tilt.

The backgrounds are static whilst your metal balls skim and shoot across the surface of the table. Both games are done up in sharp, clear graphics that convey the table in a way that can only truly be topped by an actual table. You'll find all the glowing lights and moving parts, and the metal balls have that bright metallic sheen all throughout.

There's also a worldwide scoreboard. After you beat the game, you can take a password and enter your high score into a website. Now you can still have some semblance of pizzeria bragging rights.

All in all, Empire certainly did some things right. But let's not forget the keyword: simulation.

Simulations will always fall short of the real thing. Let's say they create the ultimate flight simulator, a setup of monitors and motion simulators that recreate every facet of flying a jet airplane. But no matter how hard you try, you can't replicate things perfectly. And for that reason alone, you spend most of your time noticing the failures of the simulation rather than the successes.

The same holds true in the world of pinball games. You can recreate every feature and make it feel as close to playing on a real table as possible, but it simply isn't the same as pulling back and letting that ball fly. Pinball is a very tactile, involved game. It's nigh impossible to recreate looking up for quick glances at the scoreboard while keeping tabs on the table - and your beer perched on top of the glass.

Since a TV screen and a controller aren't the same as a pinball table, why not make a non-simulation mode as well? Why take advantage of the medium? Even the original Pinball for the NES did that. Remember those penguins that you have to hatch? Remember the princess that Mario had to catch?

NES Pinball still rocks, and despite the obvious technological discrepancy, may be a better game. Pro Pinball should include both a simulation and an adventure mode. Or why not add more tables per disk?

There's also a problem with slowdown when you get 3 balls into play. Bad medicine, considering that multi-ball is sort of the point of every pinball machine.

Like real pinball, only the truly committed and impassioned will keep playing in the name of a higher score. On a real table I'd feel more compelled to keep going, but with these games, I felt inclined to stop after a few games. The need to win free games and the atmosphere of a dimly lit arcade isn't there.

But for those who have pinball in their blood, that dying breed unable to afford the full table, both of these games will satisfy your itchy trigger fingers. From Soho down to Brighton, you'll certainly find some throwback love here.

C+ Revolution report card
  • Good physics
  • Decent simulation
  • But it's still just a simulation
  • Doesn't take advantage of the medium
  • Slowdown when there are too many balls
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Big Race USA


More On GameRevolution