Title Ultimate Pinball Quest Game Type Sport Company Infogrames Players 1-4 HD Installable No Compatibility All Submission Joachim Froholt Profiled Reviewer Review If I asked you to mention five pinball games, would you have any problems doing that? Can you actually think of ANY experienced Amiga owners who would have a problem with that task? I can't. Ask a PC owner the same question, more often than not, he (or she) will perhaps be able to mention two or three. What I'm getting at is that the pinball genre is extremely well represented on our favourite computer. We've got at least five really great pinball games, and a great deal of not-so-great ones. Whether this genre is overcrowded or not, it is a fact that a pinball game for the Amiga has to be something really special to be able to compete. What about Ultimate Pinball Quest, then? Well, at least this game tries to be different by incorporating several new features. UPQ (as I'll call it from now on) tries to take advantage of the fact that it is a computer game and not a real pinball table, and for that it deserves praise. The gameplay? Well, I'll get back to that. Let's first have a look at the features UPQ has to offer. First of all, there is a some kind of story mode in the game. The player can choose to play through the three tables in order to defeat three goddesses and gain control of the three lands the tables are based on: Wasteland, a frosty ice world and heavy metal world. Quite why anyone would want to do this, when they can play the individual tables in arcade mode (where they can select a table like in any other pinball game) is beyond me, so this feature is really just a waste of time. A more interesting feature, however, is the small sub games which can be reached during play. There are six bonus games, two for each table. They are mostly simple affairs, like a pinball version of breakout and one where the player has to hit some moving balls. Some of theese games are actually quite addictive. For some weird reason, the authors have decided to make these games accessible from the main menu as well, which sort of destroys the whole point of bonus games, but that is not a fatal flaw. The individual tables are quite large. For instance, the icy one is two screens wide and three screens tall. However, they do feel a bit "empty", something which is not good. Also, the targets and ramps are located in difficult spots, so most of the time is spent trying to keep the ball in play. Again, this is not good, as it pretty much ruins the playabillity in two of the tables. Another really big problem is that you often find yourself unable to keep the ball from getting lost. In the icy table, the distance between the flippers is too large, and in the wasteland table, the two slides next to the flippers which sends the ball down are extremely easy to hit. Usually, this is how you'll lose the ball at least two out of three times. A shame, because it removes the aspect of skill. But the heavy metal table is really fun and addictive. There, you can also tilt the ball so that it jumps up again if you lose it down the slides next to the flippers. It doesn't always work, but then again it doesn't always work in Pinball Dreams either. The gfx in this game are good. Each table has it's individual style, and the gfx reflects that perfectly. However, there aren't many background drawings, so in the two first tables (ice and wasteland), it looks a bit bland. I also like the music very much. But, unfortunately, there aren't many spot on sound effects. As you can see, this game is severely flawed. This is really sad, as the game tries to be different and innovative, but the gameplay just doesn't work. The only addictive table is the heavy metal one, and that is not enough. What ruins the other tables is pure and simply a poor design, as the ball moves well enough, and the presentation is mostly good. If you are after pinball games, there are so many alternatives which are better than UPQ. If you've already got the three games from Digital Illusions and Pinball Prelude, and still want more, then perhaps buying this game can be justified. Otherwise, find something else.