Tag Archives: pinball

Alien Crush, PC Engine

The first in a series of excellent pinball games developed by famous Japanese company Compile, Alien Crush was released on the PC Engine in Japan in 1988, and the following year in North America.

The game has an alien/horror theme and features suitably weird and gruesome backgrounds and sprites.

Gameplay-wise: there is little to fault other than a bit of sprite tearing. Alien Crush is fast and exciting, and gave the series a good grounding among gamers. It is pinball on steroids, with hidden screens and what you might even call ‘Boss Battles’. Which is of course what simulating a pinball machine on a computer is all about…

Following on in the ‘Crush Pinball series’ were Devil’s Crush (1990, also PC Engine), Jaki Crush (1992, for the SNES), and a later title that wasn’t developed by CompileAlien Crush Returns (2008, for the Nintendo Wii).

More: Alien Crush on Wikipedia

Zany Golf, Atari ST

Zany Golf was released by Electronic Arts in 1988. It originated on the Apple IIGS but was quickly ported to 16-bit computers, including this fine Atari ST version.

Zany Golf is a crazy golf simulator, with simple controls and complex courses. Up to four players can compete at once.

You make a shot by left clicking and dragging on the ball, then letting go of the button. If you’re skilled (and lucky) the ball will go where you want it to go. Invariably, though, things do go astray…

There are nine holes – plus a bonus hole – in total. Some holes have weird animated objects on them (like the iconic giant hamburger) which you have to deal with, and some have special abilities (like the magic carpet, which allows some control of the ball with the mouse). You have a limited number of strokes per hole, but can pick up extra by touching fairies or hitting certain other targets. Getting to the ninth hole can be quite an achievement.

Zany Golf is a classic physics-based golf/maze game. I have fond memories of playing it back in the day, and still find it fun to play now.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zany_Golf

Slam Tilt, Amiga

Slam Tilt is a pinball simulator published by 21st Century Entertainment in 1996.

It was developed by Liquid Dezign HB for AGA-equipped Amigas (AGA being an enhanced graphical chipset) and features super-slick scrolling and amazingly fast gameplay.

It is (rightly) considered to be one of the best games ever released for the Amiga and also set publisher 21st Century on a pinball-based trajectory for some time to come. While it wasn’t 21st Century‘s first pinball game, it is arguably their best.

The Amiga release of Slam Tilt features four tables: Mean Machines; The Pirate; Ace of Space, and Night of the Demon.

A 3D version of Slam Tilt was released for Microsoft Windows PCs in 1999 but is generally considered as inferior to this Amiga incarnation.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slam_Tilt

Bedlam, ZX Spectrum

Another classic ZX Spectrum game from Beam Software, Bedlam is a straightforward vertical-scroller, but done in an incredibly finessed manner.

The graphics are fast and colourful and the “bullet hell” style action is “hard but fair”. Bedlam basically does on a Spectrum what people had previously only seen in an arcade, and it does it extremely professionally. There are even hidden mini games built in (pinball!), to break up the blasting action.

Bedlam was published by GO! in 1988 and is often mixed-up with another ZX Spectrum game called Bedlam, released in 1983. Type “Bedlam ZX Spectrum” into a search engine and you’ll find lots of confused web pages (administered by simpletons, clearly) trying to claim that this is a simple-looking maze game. It isn’t. It’s one of the best shooters on the ZX Spectrum!

Pinball: Revenge of the Gator, Game Boy

Developed and published by HAL Laboratory in 1989, Pinball: Revenge of the Gator is a memorable handheld pinball game with a cartoony, reptilian theme.

Jaunty music drives the button-bashing gameplay, which – as you’d expect – is all about high scoring. Ball movement is fast and fluid and pinging the pinball with the flippers feels very satisfying. The table has multiple screens, each with different objectives, and there are also three bonus stages.

Pinball: Revenge of the Gator is a surprisingly compelling game. It might look a bit childish, but it’s actually quite challenging and will have you tearing your hair out, before you manage to master it.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge_of_the_%27Gator