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Full Tilt!, also known as Pinball 95 in Europe, was Maxis's first endeavor into 3D pinball games. While it wasn't perfect, the game was still fun to play, and no doubt that having the first table included in every single Windows 95 CD-ROM has largely contributed to its success. However, despite that it was a pleasant pinball, there were a few necessary changes to be undertaken, and that's what the developers have been up to since its early development.
The first elements that needed the most improvements were the background music and the size of the tables. Wherever there was MIDI music in Full Tilt!, it is now replaced by digital CD audio tracks that are incomparably better for your ears, especially if the MIDI feature of your sound card isn't built on wave table technology. The CD contains over 30 minutes of various music styles that are in perfect harmony with the three tables. The first table, Alien Daze, features rock 'n roll style tracks with drums, electric guitar and synthesizer, the second, Mad Scientist, bass tone music with organ, violin, and cello, and the third, Captain Hero, jazzy tunes with trumpet and percussion instruments. While some may argue that music isn't what makes a good pinball, it sure does a great deal for the atmosphere of the game, and therefore makes it even better.
If you have ever played with the original Full Tilt!, you will undoubtedly remember that even though the tables had a great design, their size wasn't leaving much for your eyes to look at. Only half of the screen was used by the table itself with the other part having the scores and messages displayed in it. Although there were three different graphic modes available, the tables always seemed too small. Learning from their mistakes, the developers of Full Tilt! 2 made good use of the screen space, working on larger tables. Nothing like the three-part pinball games from Sierra On-Line though, but instead, tables with the top wider than the bottom. This choice, coupled with a lower frontal perspective angle, provides the player with a larger view, allowing the for a greater perception of details. The only thing we can regret is the lower complexity of the tables' design, with tables that can appear bare at first glance. Fortunately, as you start playing, you will discover that this apparent emptiness is only an illusion.
The themes that the tables are based on are nothing but original. The Mad Scientist table will send you into the laboratory of a deranged scientist, a sort of Dr. Frankenstein working on an unnatural creature of his own. In Alien Daze, you will play the unusual role of an alien visiting Earth. Land your spaceship on cows and abduct people. You will never get a chance to do that again elsewhere! The third, Captain Hero, will put you in the suit of a Super Hero, fighting for justice against the super villains. The tables feature several ramps, a few bumpers, various targets, and quite uncommon, four flippers per table. Each table contains different modes including multi-balls, that will challenge your aiming skills, as sometimes, targets will move on the table (Captain Hero). Scores and other indications will appear as floating text over the table or along its side. If you don't like this features, you can remove it in the options. The controls are handled in the same way as in the first game, with nudging possibilities in four directions for a better realism, and a ball that truly flies on the surface.
Written by Frederick Claude
Click here for screen shots.
Note: The Windows 95 version requires your system to have the latest Windows 95 drivers that can fully support Microsoft's DirectX.
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