Pinball Prelude

Title           Pinball Prelude
Publisher       Effigy Software 1995
Game Type       Sport
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatability   AGA-only
Submission      Dennis Smith Profiled Reviewer

A: Do you know where the pinball games are going wrong?

B: No, please do tell me why you believe that they miss the mark.

A: They're so intent on simulating real pinball that they completely forget
   the added dimension of the computer.

B: May I ask you to explain what you mean by that statement?

A: Modern pinball machines are constantly struggling to make greater and
   greater technical innovation. With a computer you could do things that
   real pinball tables could never do and yet no-one has ever tried--

B: Actually, there have been some efforts along those lines, but the
   titles in question are pretty immemorable.

A: -- But with a computer you could do crazy things like have the ball run
   over vermin, squashing them, or teleport around the place; you could
   make it suddenly super-elastic, you could put in animated effects that
   would never be possible in real life, you could make the ball get
   progressively heavier and make parts of the table behave in weird ways,
   such as ramps being permeable to the ball in certain areas or you could
   include a river down which the ball could float back to the flippers...

B: It certainly sounds novel, but would it really improve the genre?

A: Well, it would certainly be different. Why not try it and see?

It's difficult to properly sum up the three tables of Pinball Prelude,
except to say that unlike early experimental pinball games, Prelude is
actually very playable. But the tables are all completely different. The
'Present' table isn't much unlike normal pinball tables, but little extras
like a camcorder and tiny football match (resembling table football,
actually) are incorporated in what would make an expensive table in real

The 'Past' table is totally different, most unlike any 'real' pinball
table, resembling a grassy area, bounded by a river, exotic plants and a
cave area, featuring a couple of dinosaurs and the highly unusual splat-
the-rat sub-game. Unfortunately, the 'Past' table is completable, meaning
that your games have a limited span.

The five-flippered 'Future' is the most innovative, featuring a 'drone'
that must be powered up and then sent to recharge the city's flagging
ventilation system while at the same time continually absorbing pollution,
and becoming heavier - yes, the ball gets heavier and heavier until you
send it to the 'cleaner' to strip away all the accumulated environmental
anathema and lighten the ball.

All three tables feature realistic ball behaviour (though it gets very
hectic in elastic ball modes!) and multiball modes. They're all bigger than
the 21st Century games as well, with the table scrolling horizontally as
well as vertically. Although initial appearances are confusing, especially
on the very unorthodox 'Future' table, these are three very fine tables,
only let down by the completability of the 'Past' table. If you're looking
for something a bit different or just new tables to play on, this is well
worth a look.

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