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Pinball Classics [Prt 3}

Updated on April 11, 2013

Pro Pinball: The Web

The Pro Pinball series, for PC and games consoles, are the best simulations of pinball in the world. From the very first title 'The Web' through to the final title, 'Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey', each table is filled to the brim with missions the player has to do. Indeed, any player would be forgiven for thinking that they are actually playing on a real table, such is their realism to their solid counterparts.

The Pro Pinball series continues to be the benchmark for all pinball simulations to follow. This is staggering considering that the series - designed by Empire Interactive - came out during the 1990s. You would have thought that the tables would look 'dated' by now, but they don't.

Pinball Classics {Prt 3}

Pro Pinball

This lens is focused on those who cannot yet afford to purchase a full size pinball table for the home. In this lens I focus on pinball tables that are quite simply, the next best thing to owning a real 'pin' for next to nothing. I myself, have the whole of the Pro Pinball series, but I shall concentrate on two classics that are well known to pinball lovers everywhere.

PRO PINBALL: THE WEB

Pro Pinball defined the genre of digital pinball for the rest to follow. So the defining line is, in fact, Pro Pinball. I will concentrate first, on the first title in the series of Pro Pinball simulations, which is called 'The Web'.

When this title first arrived, in or around 1996, it truly was groundbreaking. Despite the quite blocky graphics, compared to the other Pro Pinball titles, the gameplay to 'The Web' was fantastic. At that time, it really was the best pinball simulation out there and so it quickly became a huge hit amongst pinball fans everywhere.

What you have to remember with any Pro Pinball simulation you play, is that there is no scrolling of the table. This means that the whole table is in view at all times, making it much more realistic as far as I am concerned.

With all of the Pro Pinball tables, they accommodate full screen and are in full 3D from 3 different angles. They are also customizable, [apart from 'The Web'] meaning that the player can make the table as easy or as difficult as he or she wants. However, on 'The Web' as I have stated, there is no way the player can configure how many balls he or she begins the game with.

And there is no way that 'The Web' can be configured in any other way. I feel that this makes it much more realistic. This is simply because the player, in real life, would not be able to change any of the parameters on a solid, state of the art 'pin'.

This makes it much fairer - especially when trying for high scores. This is not so though on the other Pro Pinball tables, as the remaining three can be configured to the players content. The animations and dot-matrix are superb, and very well done indeed on 'The Web'.

And it is from the dot matrix that the majority of missions are started and completed - or not, as the case may be. I also love the sound effects as they really enhance what is already a superb pinball simulation.

The sound is CD quality and blaring from super woofer speakers is really something else. It really does sound like you are in an arcade playing on a real table. There is a lot of extra balls which are available on 'The Web', although the ball itself is not as good as within the other Pro Pinball simulations.

This is notable as graphics quality and the power of computers increased. This is because you can really tell the difference in graphics quality between the very first Pro Pinball simulation, and the other Pro Pinball simulations that followed.

The more powerful your computer or laptop the higher the resolutions you can use. Meaning that a full scale Pro Pinball table can look stunning and crystal clear on powerful computers. The graphics are all rendered, again, making the tables look frighteningly realistic.

'Pro Pinball: The Web' really did live up to all the hype that surrounded it. At that time, 1996, 'The Web' was the closest pinball fans got to owning a real 'pin' at home. It had everything, depth, playability, entertainment, sounds, dot matrix display unit, and plenty of missions.

The ball was controlled by use of the computer keyboard - usually the shift keys, although I am sure that they could be changed to what the player was more comfortable with. 'The Web' was mission-based and this the simulation relies on greatly.

The table consists of all the usual 'combos', multiballs and everything else the pinball player would find on a real table. Overall, 'Pro Pinball: The Web', was the best pinball simulation of its time, in 1996 and it still holds up now, as being a supremely-good pinball simulation.

Pro Pinball: TIMESHOCK

'Pro Pinball: Timeshock' was and is, for me, the greatest pinball simulation I have ever played. This table had everything - and I do mean everything. Multiballs, stereo sound, fantastic graphics, crystal clear table layout, dot matrix screen, deep depth to every mission and superb action. The table was 3D, full scale and none scrolling - the none scrolling being realistic for a simulated pinball table, as I mentioned earlier within this lens.

The theme of 'Timeshock' is 'time travel', in which various missions had to be completed via the dot matrix video display. Crystals were collected, via the ball hitting various items upon the table. Once the whole crystal was collected, it would begin to glow madly in the center of the table.

This would happen whilst, at the same time, upon the dot matrix screen, the player would be thrust through 'time' after picking what time period he or she wanted to play in. So everything was to do with collecting parts of a crystal, putting the parts together to create one whole crystal, which would then enable you to pick your time period to play in next.

The ball is the most realistic ever within a pinball simulation. The way it reacts and moves, plus the reflections - not only on the simulated chrome, but the simulated glass panel too - is wonderful.

Resolutions are supported on PC, up to 1600x1200 pixels - which makes the table absolutely crystal clear and beautiful to look at and play. Even now, in 2013, 'Pro Pinball: Timeshock' beats virtually every other pinball simulation out there.

If you can find a copy of 'Pro Pinball:Timeshock', then what will be included will be an owner's manual which is superbly-detailed and in depth. In fact, upon reading the manual, it would really give you the urge to go out and purchase a real 'pin'.

This is because the manual is exactly like a manual you would get if you did purchase a real table. The gameplay is excellent, challenging and mission-filled, which I love and which all pinball tables should have. Overall, 'Pro Pinball: Timeshock', is a simulation that no pinball lover should be without.

I mentioned that In my next article, I shall be concentrating on the final two Pro Pinball tables in the series, 'Pro Pinball: Big Race USA' and 'Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey'. That has been put back as I decided to write about the collecting of pinball tables - which I have since completed.

Pinball Classics {Prt 3} - Pro Pinball

The Pro Pinball series, for PC and games consoles is, for me, the greatest simulations of pinball in the world. I feature three, out of four of the Pro Pinball simulations here in this lens. Simulations that any lover of pinball would be more than happy to own. If you do not own a real pinball table, then Pro Pinball is the closest thing you will get to actually playing on a real table at at home.

Pro Pinball - Timeshock [Download]
Pro Pinball - Timeshock [Download]

What can be said about 'Timeshock' that hasn't already been said? Quite simply, the best pinball simulation in the world.

The depth to this table has to be seen to be believed. And you would be forgiven for thinking that you are actually playing on a real table.

An absolute MUST BUY for all lovers of pinball - whether you love playing on a simulation or a real table.

 
Pro Pinball - Fantastic Journey [Download]
Pro Pinball - Fantastic Journey [Download]

Everything that I have mentioned about Pro Pinball: Timeshock, I repeat for 'Fantastic Journey'.

Although 'Fantastic Journey' does not contain quite the depth to it that Timeshock contains this is, by all intents and purposes, a REAL table - even though it is only a simulation.

This table is a mixture of pinball and 'steampunk' ['steampunk being a mixture of 19th century Victorian technology with 20th century technology].

This means that the player has to manipulate steam and set off Victorian contraptions [through skilful shooting of the ball] in order to collect the crystals and complete missions.

Again, a MUST BUY for all lovers of pinball everywhere.

 
Pro-Pinball: The Web - PC
Pro-Pinball: The Web - PC

The title that began it all. Pro Pinball:The Web, is superb.

The depth to this table, I would say, rivals that of 'Timeshock', even though the graphics are not quite as good.

The playability of this table is wonderful and for the time it came out, Pro Pinball:The Web, was the defining pinball simulation of the day.

A MUST BUY for all pinball lovers everywhere.

 

Pinball Classics [Prt 3} - Pro Pinball: The Web

Pro Pinball: The Web, the one that began the whole series of Pro Pinball titles. Wonderful depth to this simulation.

Pinball Classics [Prt 3} - Pro Pinball: Timeshock

For me, the greatest pinball simulation I have ever played.

Pinball Classics - Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey

Does not have quite the depth that 'The Web' or 'Timeshock' has, but nevertheless, a wonderful table to own.

Pinball Classics [Prt 3]

KEEPING PINBALL ALIVE

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    • wleon63 profile image
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      wleon63 4 years ago

      @timetoact: Thank you for reading, my friend. I am glad you enjoyed my article. The hours i have wasted on pinball over the years, I have lost count. :}. i do appreciate that. Thanks again for reading.

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      timetoact 4 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this lens. I could waste so much time with pinball.