I remember when pinball was one of the coolest things to play when going to the arcade. Since I havenít been to an arcade in ages, I have no idea if itís still a popular pastime but I do know that pinball games are alive and well in the PC realm. The first pinball games to come onto the PC screen werenít even close to capturing the look an feel of authentic gameplay, but Sierra changed all that with the release of their 3D Ultra Pinball game.
Based on the graphics and theme from their popular Outpost title, 3D Ultra Pinball was created with the help of real pinball pros in order to capture the true arcade table feel, targetability, visual perspective and bumper and flipper friction. The 3D graphics in the game donít just mimic the usual pinball playfield though. Instead, they take advantage of the power a PC has to offer and provide extra wide areas as well as multiple interconnected tables with tasks to solve and missions to complete.
The game begins with four different playfields (the planet surface, command post, mineshaft, and underground lab), which you must complete in order to build a spaceport. After that, you must succeed in building a colony and finally build starship and launch it into space to send life to another world. Unfortunately, there is no way to save a game so completing these tasks can be very difficult. But if youíre up to the challenge, you are able to get extra balls and continues to help you along the way.
Of course, if all you want is to just sit down with a little pinball action, 3D Ultra Pinball provides that too. Thereís no need to go solving puzzles and completing levels unless, of course, you want to see what happens at the end. Sorry, I canít tell you.
Sierraís first foray into the PC pinball party is quite good and provides some very challenging play. It would have been better with a save game option, but they learned their lesson with the next two releases in the series... 3D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night and 3D Ultra Pinball: The Lost Continent.