Reviewed: May 23, 2003
Released: May 20, 2003
Patriotic Pinball is the latest offering from Gotham Games in their line of budget-priced games. Considering that most stores donít even stock PS1 games these days you may have a hard time finding this title, but if you enjoy pinball games then I highly suggest you look for it.
Patriotic Pinball offers two tables; Road Trip Coast to Coast and America on Duty, each with their own unique theme, 3D rendered images and animated backgrounds. There are 7 challenging missions, such as The Battle of Gettysburg and Boot Camp in America; and 7 exciting tours such as Gold Rush and Muscle Beach. If you have the skills you can even trigger exciting multi-ball missions.
What can you say about a pinball game? You push the X button to launch the ball and use the L1 and R1 to flip the flippers. Keep the ball alive as long as you can and target the flashing lights, chutes, and rails to trigger missions, earn bonuses, and earn high scores.
There are a few things that computer pinball can do that real machines can't. Some of the challenges include animated objects that move across the screen, like a tank platoon, and you must hit the tanks with your ball using the flippers. Another challenge has you shooting the ball up various ramps and chutes trying to hit diner food and cups of coffee. It's all pretty cool.
Iíve played just about every computer pinball game ever made and Patriotic Pinball does a few things differently. First, it offers a static LED display that flashes messages and scoring information. The big difference is that most all pinball games mirror real-life pinball tables in vertical length, which causes the screen to scroll making it hard to catch and shoot the ball. Patriotic Pinball fits the game to a single screen with only a couple inches of scrolling Ė not enough to hamper gameplay in the slightest.
I had to keep telling myself, ďThis is a PS1 gameĒ. Itís all too easy to bash the low-detailed graphics and lack of next-gen special effects that we have all become accustomed to. Itís not going to win any awards but for a $10 game on an extinct system itís pretty good.
The sounds are really good and are virtually identical to the sounds and music you would hear on a modern day pinball machine. The inclusion of the various Armed Forces theme music is almost a subliminal recruitment tactic.
Itís pinball so it has no end. You play and keep playing until you can no longer beat your high score then you reset and start all over again. For $10, this is something you can give your kid brother so he doesnít interrupt your game of Vice City, or give your mom so she doesnít catch you playing Vice City.
Iím surprised that anyone would take the time to make a game for the PS1 these days. But if the games are as good as this and appropriately priced there is no reason not to play them. If you canít get $10 worth of enjoyment from Patriotic Pinball then you must hate pinball or really suck at it Ė either way, you probably shouldnít buy it. Everyone else is going to have a real good time.