Pinball Illusions


21st Century

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As far as I can remember, I have always enjoyed pinballs. It probably started with the the first pinball toy I received for Christmas when I was 9. It was a fragile toy made of plastic that ran on batteries with a few lights, some targets and the classic bumpers. Later, I discovered the real pinballs in the arcades at a time when electronics were slowly replacing the old mechanical pinballs. Shortly after, in the mid-80's, another genre of pinball appeared: the pinball computer games. The first one I tried was on the Commodore 64 and I was just ecstatic! During the years, the pinball games got better and became more realistic with the help of computers increasing in power. When Pinball Fantaisies hit the market in 1993 for the PC, I thought that it would take some time before another game reached such a level of perfection. For me, 21st Century Entertainment had established themselves as the best developer of the genre. Today, other companies are developing pinball games to compete with 21st Century on its own terrain. However, most of them decided to design 3D pinballs in an attempt to bring something different to the players, something that could make the difference. I can not say whether I prefer the 3D pinballs or not, because I have only played with playable demos for a short amount of time. But what I can say is that it didn't feel the same with these new 3D pinballs than with the pinball tables from 21st Century and their latest pinball, Pinball Illusions is simply the best pinball game I ever played!

Like the other games previously released by 21st Century, Pinball Illusions features four different tables: Law N Justice, Babewatch, Extreme Sports and The Vikings. Each table is a wonder of imagination with remarkable graphics, plenty of details, three flippers and several ramps. If you were not already astounded by the graphics, wait for the sound effects to finish you! Pinball Illusions has one hour of CD sounds and music for an acoustic experience you will never forget. If like us, you own a pair of Vivid 3D speakers (see Issue 6), you will be dazzled by what you will hear!

Regarding the gameplay, 21st Century recommends a 486 processor to fully enjoy all the possibilities of the game. As all tables feature multi-balls up to SIX, you might experience serious slowdowns if you have something slower than a 486. For your good fortune, the programmers included an option to limit the number of balls during the multi-balls mode from 3 to 6. Like Pinball Fantaisies, the four tables feature different modes which can be considered as missions to win more points. Their number really impressed me with up to 10 modes for the Vikings table! Usually, you have to shoot at selected targets or ramps within a limited time to get the jackpot, but sometimes the mode will consist of a video game played in the score panel.

Pinball Illusions also supports four different screen resolutions with choices from close up actions (320 by 240) to the entire table view (800 by 600) that can be changed in the option menu. You will also be able to modify the table's angle, number of balls, scrolling speed and the table tilt.


Of all the pinball games I have played with, Pinball Illusions is my favorite. It is in fact, the worse addicting game I have ever had in my hands, and I just don't know how I will get rid of it! 21st Century definitively created the most brilliant pinball of all times!

System Requirements:

486 SX-25 MHz or higher,
Min 4Mb memory (3.1Mb free memory required),
MS-DOS 3.3 or later,
Hard drive required with 1Kb free,
Single speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
256-color VGA 320x240, 360x350, 640x480 and 800x600 displays (1Mb SVGA card recommended,

Internal speaker and most popular soundcards supported.


Graphics: 90%
Sound: 91%
Music: 93%
Gameplay: 94%
Interest: 92%
Overall: 92%

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