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Sonic Spinball (Classic Game)

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    3 Reviews
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      22.09.2009 16:07
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      The black sheep of the Sonic mega drive games

      When talking about early Sonic games one often seems easily overlooked and forgotten, even in the Mega Drives heyday it was seen as the black sheep of the family, Sonic Spinball. Released after the success of Sonic 2 the previous year, this saw the continuation of the spring based Sonic levels like Spring Yard Zone just taken a few steps further.

      The story revolved around Robotnik using the Chaos Emeralds to create a giant machine to turn the fluffy animals into Badniks. The liar was a series of pinball style levels that Sonic had to destroy from the inside out, with the help of pinball styled controllable flippers and springs. Each of the levels was larger than that featured in the previous game but there was only 4 of them making the actual length relatively short, despite a high level of difficulty and complex levels.

      The opening level makes a massive change to that of which all the other Sonic platforming games did in that it wasn't a level of greenery (the previous 2 and the following 2 each started on a green tropical level). Instead it was an industrial themed toxic waste type level.

      In fact all of them seemed rather industrial themed and grimey not as eye catching as the many of the other games in the series, also the game has no "out side" its all built in to these table designs.

      So as a game it still, now looks like the odd one out when compared to the much superior games in the series, the idea to turn Sonic in to a controllable pinball was a relative failure. Though the bonus levels (which were "true" pinball games) were a nice addition that could have been re-used since. But the problem is just that it didn't seem to work properly, it was almost like the game was used as a cash in and it seemed to be a decent idea badly done, having a proper Sonic Pinball game could have been really fun.

      Overall it feels like a Spin-off (excuse the pun) that was doomed to fail as you'd confined the speed demon hedgehog to a series of levels where you had to be slow and careful to get through the mazes. It seemed to take the popular Sonic Casino and make a game of it and that wasn't what Sonic was about, it was only a small part of the blue speedsters legacy.

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      • More +
        09.10.2005 10:58
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        Is it a pinball game? Is it a platformer? Is it a big pile of

        The second Sonic the Hedgehog game to be released was not ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ like you thought, oh no. Nor was it ‘Sonic CD,’ produced for Sega’s disappointingly unpopular Mega CD console. The successor to one of the best-selling video games in history is, in fact, a rather shoddy pinball outing that offers as much to those who love the original game as War of the Worlds fans will get from ‘Biker Mice From Mars.’


        PREMISE


        As would be expected from a franchise cash-in like this, there is a skimpy plot that tries to contrive and explain the shift from platform game to pinball machine emulator. Doctor Robotnik has constructed a Veg-O-Fortress on a volcanic island, for some reason, and Sonic has spun into action to take it down level by pinball-machine-based level, smashing robotic badniks along the way.

        Forget what it says in the manual, the creators of the Sonic games had clearly noticed a cheap way to sell more game cartridges before the hotly anticipated ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ was slated to be released. Sections of the original Sonic game involved treating the spinning hedgehog as a powerful, destructive ball and it was an easy move to bring in less accomplished game developers to knock this thing together.


        GAMEPLAY


        Sonic Spinball is divided into several different areas that basically correspond to different tables. Unlike most pinball games, the tables have to be played in order – due to the tedious time it takes to ‘complete’ a level, and the fiddly difficulty of some of the end-of-stage bosses, some of the later ones may never be reached. This style also makes the idea of score, the driving force behind re-playing pinball machines, somewhat irrelevant aside from achieving extra lives at intervals.

        For those who have played pinball video games before, the controls are similar but simplified for the three-button MegaDrive joypad. As with all Sonic games, the A, B and C buttons perform the same function, meaning that both left and right flippers are pressed simultaneously when Sonic is on them. The blue hedgehog can also be controlled in a similar way to the regular Sonic games, in which he walks, for very limited periods – these act only to highlight how different this is from what fans would expect of a Sonic game. There is a four player option, but again disappointingly this only involves handing the control pad over after each individual, lengthy turn.

        The only feature that is different from a normal pinball game is that the ball, Sonic, can be controlled independently when in flight. Holding the left or right button swings him a little in that direction and he can even jump and launch off surfaces when the gradient is low enough. Falling between the flippers can cause death, unless the player is higher up in the stage or manages to land in a boat.

        Enemies are present, but basically act as bumpers that need to be hit a few times to be dispatched, but that can hurt you if you’re careless. Sonic trademarks such as collectable golden rings and the mighty chaos emeralds have also been shamelessly and pointlessly included in a failed attempt to keep continuity.


        GRAPHICS AND SOUND


        Despite the official-looking cover artwork and ‘Sega’ logo, this is far from the quality of more canonical Sonic games. Am I taking this nostalgic loyalty thing too seriously? Possibly, but this game looks bad. Sonic is short and squatty, the look of the enemies, backgrounds and obstacles bear no relation to any other Sonic game and even Robotnik has inexplicably increased in size. Gone are the impressive multi-layered backdrops, making this a more claustrophobic experience.

        The music also has no coherence to the Sonic series, the repetitive 16-bit scores sounding unmemorable and unskilled, dissimilar to any other low budget console production and even lacking the trademark theme music. The sound effects become incredibly annoying after a time, especially the medium-pitched jumping noise and the sound of bumpers and enemies getting hit, but this is more a limitation of the time than the fault of the sound team. Bumbling oafs though they are.


        VERDICT


        Even in its own right, away from the weirdly loyal Sonic fan base, ‘Sonic Spinball’ is an unimpressive game. 16-bit video pinball was accomplished excellently by Digital Illusions with their ‘Pinball Dreams’ and ‘Pinball Illusions’ releases for home computers of the time, perfected in the 32-bit ‘Slamtilt’ which remains one of my favourite and most played games of all time. Spinball tries to combine limited platform game action with pinball fun and an attempted plot or journey between tables, and none of this works well together. The only thing in its favour is that it wasn’t a spin-off of the really terrible ‘Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’ cartoon series like the unplayable Tetrisesque ‘Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine’ released a couple of years later.

        Sonic fans should avoid, as should anyone looking for a fun and involving game. If it’s the only pinball simulator on offer then it could waste some of your precious life’s minutes, which is always a little fun.

        Let’s be realistic. It’s 2005 – it’s easy to avoid this outdated 1992 game. Do.

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        • More +
          26.04.2005 18:26
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          This is a review on the classic game called Sonic Spinball for the MegaDrive. Sonic Spinball is a pinball game, but instead of a pinball, it is Sonic. Unfortunately it is not as good as its platform brothers. This game was made in the early 90's, when the MegaDrive was more popular, and still in business.

          Game
          *******
          In this game, you can only be Sonic, it still has the same sort of story line as you would have in a Sonic game, get through the levels, then kick Dr Robotnic's butt. Anyway, the aim of the game is to do all the mini missions within you playing pinball with Sonic as the ball.

          You will do two different pinball levels, then you will fight Dr Robotnic, then you will do more pinball madness. As it would be with Sonic on platform. This game allows you to use the pinball smackers, sometimes there are some of them in different areas accept the bottom as most pinball machines are. You will notice that the game does not look like a Pinball machine in some ways, yet you will think this is a pinball machine. On every pinball level, at the bottom below the smackers, there will be something that can kill you, like on the first there is a robotic shark that will try and eat you, but luckily there is always a chance for your survival.

          This game is up to 4 players, you will only need 1 controller, and you take it in turns. If one of you dies, then it will be the next players turn and so on. What you want to do is to do all the mini missions and get to the chaos emerald. 4 players can be just as fun as 1 player, so don't be scared to let your friends join in with the game.

          Shamefully about this game, that it is not as good as its platform brothers, but I would still recommend you playing this game as it is enjoyable. A good game for times when you fancy smacking Sonic around a Pinball machine, so show him whose boss.

          Other
          *******
          This game is playable, it is an enjoyable game, you will find it entertaining, but you might enjoy Sonic 1, 2, 3, better in some ways. This game is on the MegaDrive, Gameboy Advance, and Gamecube, but you can't by those games separately for the Gameboy Advance and Gamecube, as they are on other games.

          This game is pretty addictive, you can play this on your own, or with friends and still have fun with it. I play this game still myself on the Gamecube. It will keep you occupied when you don't know what to do, which is good. It is worth a purchase.

          This game is very original; it is one of the first pinball games to come out on a console, and also the first Sonic game to do with Pinball. The missions are original, and also the game is pretty much original itself.

          The graphics to this game are surprisingly pretty good, considering it's on a 16BIT console. The environment of the game is good, and the detail of Sonic and the bad guys are also fairly good. But I would not buy this game just for the graphics.

          The music to this game is good, it is original to this game, and this Sonic game only. It sets the mood, and also makes that game seam cool. The sound effects to this game are great; you will hear the noises of Sonic being smacked by the smackers, and him beating up Dr Robotnic. There are no voices in this game, but there is writing for you to read.

          The game is pretty difficult if you don't know what you are doing, but the game is pretty simple to get use to. I would say this game is suitable for all ages, and good fun for children and adults.

          This game is good value; you can buy this for the MegaDrive for around £2 - £5 on EBay, or auction sites in general. It is worth getting for that price if you wish to have a go. I give this game 3 star * * *, as it was good in its day, still pretty good now, but it is not as good as the Sonic platform games. But still worth getting if you like Pinball or Sonic games.

          THIS GAME IS

          A Classic Game
          Sonic
          4 Player

          THIS GAME IS NOT

          Boring
          Good For Only Children
          As Good As The Original Sonic Games

          Thanks For Reading!

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