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Game Over Online ~ 3D Ultra Nascar Pinball

GameOver Game Reviews - 3D Ultra Nascar Pinball (c) Sierra, Reviewed by - cyrus

Game & Publisher 3D Ultra Nascar Pinball (c) Sierra
System Requirements P100 16mb RAM
Overall Rating 70%
Date Published Sunday, November 15th, 1998 at 03:23 PM

Divider Left By: cyrus Divider Right

I love computer based pinball games. Ever since I played classics like Pinball Dreams and Epic Pinball on my old 486 I have been in love. Pinball challenges your hand-eye coordination and is incredibly addictive. I can't begin to tell you how many work assignments have gone undone due to computer pinball. As I said in my Pro Pinball review, the only blemish on the great record of computer pinball games has been Sierra's pinball games. Sierra pinball is not only unrealistic but the graphics are slow and the sound often lags. You can only imagine my surprise when I found Nascar Pinball by Sierra to be an enjoyable experience.

Nascar Pinball is still Sierra pinball in that its unrealistic but the graphics aren't bad and the tables are actually fun to play. In Nascar Pinball the point is to win the Nascar championship by winning four or five races. The game starts in the garage where you have to hit different targets in order to tune your car to peak condition. After the garage you progress to the main table which has four different ramps, each corresponding to a different turn. You go faster by hitting each turn in succession and taking the lead is done by hitting a specific target. It gets a little old after a while but it is still fun.

The graphics are mediocre. The table looks nice and everything moves smoothly but it lacks the realistic look of other computer pinball games such as Pro Race Pinball and Balls of Steel. The ball is neat in that it reflects the graphics of its surroundings but the edges look jagged and it's a bit too bright to be realistic. Since you are able to play as several different drivers each board changes to reflect this. Much like skins in Quake or Quake2 the graphics will change on the flippers and side panels but the actual board and targets do not change. On the outside of the main race board a pack of cars can be seen making laps and its neat to watch yourself move up in the pack as you overtake other cars. The most unrealistic part of Nascar racing were the special bonus rounds. Items that you were supposed to hit would just appear to float over the board and this obviously could not have happened on a real board.

Good sound in a pinball game is essential. Half the fun in playing a real arcade game is hearing the machine make all the bleeps and whistles as you hit targets. Fortunately the sound in Nascar Pinball was quite well done. Sound effects were clear and there was no skipping. The game also played the sounds on cue which is absolutely essential in a pinball game. Nascar Pinball also used a lot of speech effects. Normally I cannot stand speech in a game but it suited this game quite nicely. The announcer would comment on your performance and give you encouragement. The speech also helped to tell you where to shoot for next as it got somewhat confusing at times. Overall a surprisingly good job with the sound on Sierra's part.

The extent of multiplayer in Nascar Pinball is the ability to have four players alternate on the same computer. This is unfortunate because this game would have been fun over a network where each player could race each other.

Gameplay is the most important part of a pinball game by far. Nascar Pinball plays fairly well and has no huge flaws. There are however a couple of things that I didn't like. For one thing this game is way too easy. I was able to win the championship on my first try and I am not a pinball wizard by any means. The board was also not big enough at all. There were only four ramps and a complete lack of spinners or ball locks. In order to take the lead you simply had to hit one spot to get multi-ball and then proceed to randomly hit targets. Several of the bonus rounds seemed somewhat lame in that they were easy and stupid. One round consists of tires rolling down the board and you have to hit them. It's not very hard to do when you have four balls on the board at once. I also would like to see more drivers included as options. My favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, was not included which I found odd due to his extreme popularity. Fixing your car in the garage and in the pits is incredibly easy once you figure out at which RPM's to fire your ball. Overall not a bad job but not great.

Fun Factor:
Nascar Pinball is not as fun as computer pinball can be but it is still fun never the less. I liked the entire racing factor. If there was more than one board and the game wasn't so easy I think it would be a lot more fun. The game also became boring after thirty minutes of solid playing. This is unfortunate because this was a good effort at an odd concept.

Overall Impression:
My feelings are very mixed. I had fun playing this game but there was no challenge in it. The graphics aren't what they could be but the sound is great. Overall I enjoyed Nascar Pinball but I would rather play Pro Pinball Big Race Usa. Pick this one up if you're a pinball addict or you like the Sierra pinball series otherwise get Pro Pinball.


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