Hyper 3D Pinball


Virgin Interactive Entertainment

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Hyper 3D Pinball is the new 3D pinball released last month by Virgin and conceived by the British developer NMS. The competition already took this new genre by storm with three similar games available: Pro Pinball The Web by Empire Interactive, 3D Ultra Pinball from Sierra On-Line and Pinball 95 from Maxis. As each title claims to be the ultimate pinball experience, it may be difficult to make the right choice. What will Hyper 3D Pinball bring to the genre? Find out by reading what follows.

The main criticism about 3D Pinballs is the small number of tables that come with the game usually ranging from one to three, contrary to 2D pinballs where the standard was to offer at least four different tables. Hyper 3D Pinball is quite an exception with a total of six tables and may appeal to gamers who don't want to play with only one table and risk being bored after a couple of hours or less. The themes on which the tables were designed are creative with such titles as The Monster, Myst & Majik, Gangster, etc... and except for two of them, they were all original and never have I seen them featured before. Each table has a design that radically changes from one table to the other, and gives the player a unique sensation when playing with a table for the first time.

Like other 3D pinballs, this one features the same kind of elements you would find in a real pinball machine. Ramps, lanes, holes, bumpers, flippers, lights, targets and bonuses will flourish on every table for your greatest pleasure accompanied with sound effects and wondrous sound tracks. The music is played directly from the CD and features different styles from New Age to Medieval-like tunes.

The different resolutions offered by Hyper 3D Pinball range from standard VGA (320 by 200) to extended SVGA (800 by 600) in 256 colors. Each mode can be played from different views. The VGA mode uses a 3D scrolling playfield, the extended SVGA mode only has a 3D full screen, while the SVGA mode (640 by 480) features the two playfields mentionned above with an additional 2D planview. Hyper 3D Pinball is the first pinball ever to offer a 3D scrolling playfield and the result is impressive. The only glitch to this innovative feature is the speed which requires a Pentium processor if you want to play comfortably. For the two other modes (full screen and 2D planview), a 486 processor will be enough to enjoy the game.

Another breakthrough in Hyper 3D Pinball is the presence of animation during the game when you lock a ball, for example, or activate a special bonus. You can see them like cinematic sequences in a traditional game that superimpose over the game's main screen. These animations show close-ups of the ball during specific phase actions and were created with high-end workstations to ensure outstanding animation. However, it will take 35 megabytes on your hard disk if you want to watch them during the game.

The realism of the ball is not what Hyper 3D Pinball should be remembered for. I found the ball to move very strangely at times going suddenly faster, and the flippers extremities looked like they were invisible for the ball as it didn't bounce on them but rather went through the hole! This makes Hyper 3D Pinball sometimes hard to master as precision is not the best quality of the game. On a Pentium machine, the game play is really fast, and keeping an eye on the ball will not be as easy as you think, escpecially with the fast mode!

The options allow you to choose the number of players (up to four), adjust the volume control, enable sound effects and music, and select the contrast you find adequate.


Hyper 3D Pinball surely offers several features you won't find in any other games of this kind, but its realism can't make it compete with Pro Pinball: The Web for example.

System Requirements:

486 DX-33 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard drive required,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
SVGA video graphic card,
Microsoft mouse and 100% compatibles.

Creative Labs Sound Blaster family or 100% compatibles.




In North America:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
18061 Fitch Avenue,
Irvine, CA 92714.

Technical Support: 714-833-1999
Fax Support: 714-833-2011
BBS Support: 714-833-3305

Hints: 1-900-288-4744 ($.75 per minute)

Web site: www.vie.com

In Europe:

In UK:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
2 Kensington Square,
London, W8 5RB.

Technical Support: +44-(0)171-3682266
Fax Support: +44-(0)171-468-2000
BBS Support: +44-(0)171-468-2022

Internet Support: Virgin Interactive Entertainment Europe
Web site: www.vie.co.uk/vie

In France:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
233 Rue de la Croix Nivert,
75015 Paris.


Graphics: 89%
Sound: 82%
Music: 95%
Gameplay: 84%
Interest: 88%

Overall: 87%


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