“ Adventure Pinball: Forgotten Island is the first in a possible series of 3D pinball adventure games built using the Unreal Tournament engine. Journey through a series of linked pinball tables, each one more difficult to master than the last, to survive the perils of Forgotten Island. However, you cannot advance from one table to the next until you have completed a set of tasks that will open the entrance to your next adventure. Unlike other pinball games, the action in Forgotten Island does not take place on a tradition table, but on a living island landscape fraught with dangerous creatures and natural hazards. Dinosaurs roam the table, cavemen lumber about their daily business, and volcanoes rain molten lava down from above. It will take lightening fast reflexes, a steady aim, and an abundant supply of good luck to survive the exciting adventure that awaits you on Forgotten Island. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Having bought and tried this game some time ago we assumed all was as described in the various promotion sites. After a subsequent rebuild however, and trying to install another copy from Amazon we found nothing but problems. Everything else was eliminated even to running in safe mode, but it seems this game CAN be problematic on some systems. Ours is Windows XP with a very good set of memory and graphics. There is no on-line product support whatsoever, which has now put me off trying to install this game again. The game is very good, and will run on some set-ups, but it does seem a bit of a lottery as to which system it will run on.
Don't be surprised if you have problems on installation, our engineer found 2 systems ran, and 2 others didn't.
If it runs, enjoy.
Adventure Pinball: Forgotten Island (first published by Electronic Arts, now available on the Sold Out lable) is an attempt to breathe new life into the pinball phenomena. Not content with flashy graphics, big tables, secret areas, mega bonuses , and more bells & whistles than you could shake a stick at even if you had a stick and were that way inclined, Digital Extremes, the game's creators, have gone one step further - they've even given it a storyline.
Well, it's like this - it's a pinball game. The storyline is as peripheral as you would expect, though when you play it in "Story Mode", at least there's a reason for the table you're playing being set where it is, etc. But basically, what we have here is a very nice-looking pinball game, pure and simple.
Though the keys used for the flippers (z & m) seem a little odd, and the other option (using the mouse buttons) is uncomfortable, the game is instantly so much fun that you soon get involved. There's a lot happening on screen even when it's not particularly you doing it, and of course you have to love the fact that your score passed the million mark in a very short period of time.
The keyboard controls don't seem right at first but actually don't feel at all uncomfortable.
The menu system is clear, simple, and attractive. However, it seems to be very slow - in fact, any time a new screen comes up - whether it be the table / menu / high score table - you have to wait several seconds before you can do anything. This is annoying but doesn't detract from the gaming experience sufficiently to deprive this game of a full 5-star rating.
To be honest it will only be a matter of a few hours for most people to "complete" the game. But really, the only reason to do that (except to say that you've done it) is to open up all the tables so you can go back and try to beat your high score. For each table there is a main objective, secondary objective(s), secret areas, and of course various score multipliers, etc. People / creatures wonder around the tables as well, either directly or indirectly influencing the trajectory of the ball. (For example, on one level, if you hit the ball to a certain location, a dinosaur will plod over, pick it up, and drop it down a lava pit - believe it or not, this is a good thing! - but otherwise will wander aimlessly around the screen getting hit by the ball if you're not good at avoiding it.)
So no, it's not difficult per se, though some objectives are hard to achieve.. But it's got lots of variety in it and at the end of the day, that's what really matters with a pinball game.
The sound is great, with a vast array of zany sound samples coming at you, and decent music. The sound effects can get irritating if you've been playing for a long time, but usually they make you smile.
The graphics are superb. The scrolling is ultra-smooth (at least it was on my system) even when the ball is travelling fast, the only noticeable slow-down being on the very last level, where there are loads of things moving around on the screen at the same time. The 3D shapes and textures are quite simple, but such effective use is made of lighting effects that it still looks impressive. With so much going on and so fast, detailed 3D models would be a bit pointless anyway (not to mention the fact that if there were detailed 3D models, it probably wouldn't be fast and smooth ) There's plenty of variety throughout the levels too, so each one really is a unique gaming experience - not like playing 9 versions of the same table.
Will You Still Be Playing it in 6 Months' Time?
Absolutely - if you like pinball - but let's face it, if you don't, you surely won't buy a pinball game! (In fact, what are you doing reading this review?!?) It looks great, it plays great, it will take you a long time to unlock all the secret areas in the game, and anyway you'll never get tired of trying to beat your high score (will you??). With the storyline the way it is, and that fact that you only see a small section of the whole table on screen at any one time, I suppose they couldn't have multiball, which is the only thing that disappointed me. (Never been a fan of tilt myself ) The slowness of the transition between menu and table is annoying but not exactly a devastating blow. If you like pinball, you'll love this game. If you don't like pinball I don't think this will change your mind - then again, I don't think any game would!
Is it Worth the Money?
Absolutely - again, provided you like pinball.
FREE BONUS SUBHEADING!!! - COMPARISON TO OTHER COMPUTERISED PINBALL GAMES I'VE PLAYED
I hadn't played any other pinball games recently, I admit, but it's really just another excuse for me to take a trip down memory lane
Pinball Dreams (Amiga) [Electronic Arts?] - I wasn't overly impressed with this one to be honest, even though it became something of a legend on the 16-bits. I think it was the first pinball game to genuinely take the concept to "the next level" - rather than just simulating what was done on the arcade machines, it took advantage of the fact that on a computer screen, there are very few limitations (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong and I'm sure I can narrow it down to 3 members . Member names start with S, M, and S )
Obsession (Atari STE) [Unreal Developments] - it was a real shame that the first wave of games to properly make use of the STE's abilities only came out when the range was already pretty much dead and buried, otherwise they might have lasted a lot longer than they did. Obsession had 4 tables, terrific graphics and scrolling for the time and machine, great music, and was terribly addictive - this the name This has to be one of the best games ever to grace the old Atari machines.
Virtual Pinball (PC) [Freeware] - the concept was great - create a free, versatile pinball creator, and allow anyone to distribute the tables they create with it for free Like any game creation utility, the resulting games (tables) vary greatly in quality - I haven't played it for ages, if you can get hold of one called "Rockstar", I can tell you it's a brilliant one. Obviously you need the original game engine to play the tables. (The "Scooby Doo" table is pretty fun too.) I don't think it's still being developed but you should be able to find a working version on something like Download.com, and you just have to search for the tables. *Try "virtual pinball tables" in Google )
3D Pinball ((PC) [Microsoft] - er, the free thingy that comes with Windows XP. Not bad for a few minutes
Graphics: - 88% - the lighting effects lift fairly average 3D models and textures into the "very good" category, ultra-smooth scrolling is the icing on the cake
Sound: - 86% - it's good, but it does get annoying eventually.
Playability: - 85% - very playable although an odd choice of keys.
Longevity: - 95% - if you're a pinballoholic then you won't get bored of this for a looooooooooooong time.
Replay Value: - 94% - the same as above (assuming you're a pinball fan!)
Value For Money: - 98% - for less than a fiver, it's an absolute steal - and eps shows it as only $2, which is phenomenal value!
Overall Rating: - 93% - I'm quite a pinball fan, so I love it. If you're a pinball fan, you'll love it too.
System Requirements (minimum):
4 x CD-ROM drive
4Mb DirectX 8 compatible graphics card (minimum recommended 8Mb)
DirectX 8 compatible sound card
155Mb HDD space
Recommended for ages 3+ (doesn't leave many people out, does it?!?!?!)
As with all Sold Out titles, you can get it for the princely sum of £4.99 from the Sold Out website (www.sold-out.co.uk) or from stockists such as Game and MVC. (Sold out titles are £4.99 each or 3 for £10, postage free for UK addresses if you order from the website.)