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PSOne Review - 'Patriotic Pinball'

by Hank on July 15, 2003 @ 12:52 a.m. PDT

Get out on the highway and take a Road Trip Coast to Coast or pop on your fatigues to join America on Duty. These two pinball platforms take the best of the U.S of A and put them together in one flipper flicking, ball bopping game that is - Patriotic Pinball. Each table has its own unique theme, 3D rendered images, animated backgrounds guaranteed to thrill and has more flashing lights than Piccadilly Circus at night! The game has 7 exciting tours that will see you travel from the Gold Rush through to Muscle Beach, and 7 exhilarating missions, such as, The Battle of Gettysburg and Boot Camp in America. Add to this the multiple difficulty settings, seemingly endless feature options and you've got yourself a game that anyone can enjoy!

Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: Gotham
Developer: Take-Two Interactive
Release Date: April 22, 2003


Pinball has always been an American classic, conjuring up images of Old Glory, baseball, and apple pie. Whether it's played in the arcades or on the computer, pinball is a favorite of kids of all ages. Enthusiasts will no longer have to resign themselves to the pinball game provided with their PC operating systems, for Gotham Games has decided to bring out Patriotic Pinball for the Playstation.

The first thing you will notice in this game is the graphics, which is actually pretty poor because you can see all of the grainy lines on the screen. Even with the poor graphical quality, the board itself is quite interesting. There are two different types of boards -- "America on Duty" and "Roadtrip Coast to Coast" -- each complete with flashy lights and appropriately-themed graphics and extras. For example, the "America on Duty" board displays military items such as tanks, airplanes, and other military paraphernalia, while you'll see waves, water slides, historical landmarks, and highways on the "Roadtrip" board. As a benefit of not being a physical pinball machine, this game can have some spiffy features, such as mini-games. One such mini-game consists of a cannon fight in which you try to aim the trajectory perfectly to hit the other cannon. There are a few mini-games for each board, with each following the board's theme. "America on Duty" has games such as dog fight and historical battles, while on "Roadtrip" you will try to catch the wave or muscle beach.

The gameplay is quite simple. If you've ever played a pinball game, you know that it's as simple as controlling the flippers. While it might sound simple, it's pretty difficult to have just the right aim. When you hit the right targets at the appropriate times, you will receive more points as well as have a better chance of being treated to the missions/mini-games.

Before you can start the game, you must choose the mode you wish to play: novice, regular, arcade, or tournament. I am not certain of the exact differences between the levels, aside from the amount of balls, the number of chances that you may re-shoot one ball, and the ease of activating the missions. Once you have selected your difficulty level, you can start the game showing that you’re a true pinball player.

The mini-games are the heart of this game. This is the major difference between this pinball game and the others I've played. Rather then having a non-interactive board, Patriotic Pinball implements moving objects which you must hit or target. These objects can range from submarines all the way up to waves, depending on the board and the mission. These missions don't always depend on the casual flick of the flipper, as evidenced by the cannon fight, which required precision in launching your trajectory.

As you've come to expect, the music in the game matches each board's theme. In "America on Duty," you will hear airplanes flying, cannons firing, and a soldier issuing orders, while for "Roadtrip," you will hear the ramblings of a beach bum, as well as the sound of breaking waves. The sound quality is somewhat poor and sounds like a long composition of midi files, but it's more than adequate for this type of game.

The graphics in the game are certainly sufficient, but I feel that the picture quality could have been so much better. I’m not completed certain if the graininess was casued by Playstation’s limitations, but the picture quality surely needs work. However, since the gameplay more than makes up for it, the graphics do not matter as much.

Although I won't be winning any pinball tournaments in the near future, the missions I played were rather enjoyable and a great way to pass the time. Overall, Patriotic Pinball has good gameplay but lacks quality in both the graphics and sound departments. However, if you’re a diehard pinball fan and won’t mind these shortcomings, I say this game is worth picking up.

Score : 7.1/10

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