| paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Pinball; loc=JPN] |
|Reference added: 30|
"comparing Fantastic Pinball's save mechanism with BoF:DQ."
The best console pinball game I've played [note: this was before Akira Psycho Ball ;)], finally one whose gameplay actually takes advantage of the variety possible in a digital fiction. Rather like Kirby's Pinball Land in that respect, even with a multi-tiered main table and a soccer-type hidden mini-table, but of course PS1 hardware allows for wilder stunts and effects than the old Game Boy. I love how the top section of the table is a heavenly cloud vista while the bottom is a fiery hell, and in fact the whole table abounds with references to Christian and Greco-Roman mythology.
Controls are great: the shoulder buttons control the flippers and while not pressure-sensitive, of course, they seem to have a softer, more controlled touch than the flippers in most other video pinball games. The lower shoulder buttons shake the table but you can't actually TILT! it, a very nice touch.
The best and actually most mystifying part is how you can choose between three different ball types each time you launch a new one--each type is represented by a different little SD character, and when you get scoring hits in rapid succession the ball changes from a metal sphere into a fireball or a tortoise shell or an armored shield, with nifty trail effects. What this does for you exactly I haven't figured out yet.
But back to the table itself: monsters, angels and devils animate around waiting to bat your ball back at you, suck it up, grab it and throw it around, spin it, or enact some other bizarre rite upon it. It is really nothing like a regular pinball table and you gotta keep a sharp look-out for the next transformation. Thankfully, despite all their flights of fancy, the designers did not neglect the basics and the ball physics behave quite well. Sometimes after hitting a particularly good bonus the screen suddenly becomes 3D and zooms in on that spot on the table--a neat if somewhat jarring effect.
One final feature worthy of note: you can save your game at any point simply by going to the creative in-game menu (mounted on the back of an animating bird). You can store three saves it seems and can load these up from the main menu. Quite handy if you have to take a break mid-game but also a potential for abuse, as someone wanting to crash your high-score list could just keep saving their game every few seconds, reloading the last save every time they lose a ball. They really should'a made it like Breath of Fire where saving forces you to quit out, and loading a save removes the save file. So a warning: don't let a vain loser play this game with your memory card--but that probably goes for pretty much any console situation, I suppose. :P