LGR – Epic Pinball – DOS PC Game Review

LGR – Epic Pinball – DOS PC Game Review


[LGR Theme] [fizz, sip] Aahhh! I can’t even describe why I love pinball so much. Maybe it’s the feel of the flippers against the ball, the sounds the targets make, or just the never-ending theme of the game. I do not know, and I do not care. All I know is that it is one of my favorite game genres, both in real life and in video games. And I have one reason why I got into it in the first place: Epic Pinball. Around 1994, I was given a copy of
the shareware version of Epic Pinball downloaded from a local bulletin board service. It came on one 3.5-inch floppy disk and barely ran at all on my
486 because of RAM issues, so I had to use a boot disk to play it. It only came with one pinball table, Android. And I didn’t have a sound card either,
so I made do with a PC speaker, but I did not care! I played it for hours at a time, and it never got old. I had never played real pinball up to that point, but was completely intrigued at how
deceivingly simple the idea was, but how truly difficult it was in
achieving these various goals. The shareware version was such a great tease, too. It showed you screenshots of
the seven full-version tables, as well as lets you know of
all the awesome you would get if you bought the game from Epic, including a hint guide as well
as a free shareware game disk. Eventually, I got the full version of the game. At first, Epic Pinball consisted of
two collections of four pinball tables, for a total of eight tables. It did indeed come with a manual and hint guide and a free game disk, just like the teaser said. Mine came with Jazz Jackrabbit and this manual here. It contains instructions and
hints and pictures for each table, as well as some history of the game and its designers. It’s a real treat for any of those
who have an affinity for the game. One interesting difference to me was
that the shareware version of Android had been changed to Super Android. It includes a new ramp,
a few tweaks to the goals and points, and a new soundtrack. So with this change, you got eight tables total, each of which were totally sweet. None of the tables feel the same and each of them are extremely fun
and challenging in their own ways. Super Android is the hyperactive, tight action table, Pot of Gold is a more laid-back, dreamy table, Excalibur is the flashy old-school table, Magic is the mid-20th Century retro one, Crash and Burn is very fast-paced and challenging, Jungle Pinball is the big-budget,
sponsored pinball game, Deep Sea is the high-scoring longplay table, and Enigma is just a radical trip of strange with random events and aliens. I have never seen a more varied and well-done satisfying collection of tables in one game. The gameplay is simple PC pinball. You have separate keys to use the
plunger, flippers and bump the table. There are five balls to play with by default. You can change this as well as
the angle of the table in the options. Each table is two screens high, so they’re not huge, but they feel just right for how they’re
set up in the speed of the game. The sound effects are all appropriate and sound great with a Sound Blaster 16 card. [synth music] “GO!” [synth music and pinball sounds] And the music is absolutely superb as usual for Epic. The graphics are fast, colorful and well-made. Even on a machine with minimum requirements, the gameplay is smooth and beautiful
with minimum choppiness. It’s worth noting that this isn’t so much
a simulation pinball game at all. It’s… I really don’t even know how to describe it except that it is what it is. It’s PC pinball from the early ’90s. Very similar to Pinball Dreams, Pinball Illusions. The angle is not at all like real pinball. The flippers don’t act the same way. The physics are nice for what they are, but it’s not like real pinball. It’s very, very arcade-y. Now shortly after the initial release of these tables, there was a third pinball pack which added four more tables to the game. They were Cybergirl, Panagea, Space Journey and Toy Factory. These were mostly designed by different people
than the original team, and you can tell. They feel more like they belong in
another game entirely, to be honest. They’re not bad, but they always felt stiff and just a bit lacking compared
to the original eight to me. Cybergirl is pretty much a tweaked, slower Android. Pangea is just too open, and is likely just there for Jurassic Park fans. Space Journey just feels broken and clunky. And Toy Factory isn’t too bad,
but it’s extremely difficult. Now Epic Pinball was never released at retail, but in the late ’90s, B&N Software started
selling many of these twelve tables as separate games in their own boxes in the bargain sections of
Kmart stores and places like that, which was very strange to me. Around the same time, WizardWorks
started selling another version of the full game in a jewel case at retail, with a thirteenth table added, African Safari. This has got be a reject table from the third pack because it’s in the same style
but it’s even more annoying, and it’s absolutely terrible to play. There was also another game from the same designers and this one was sold at retail, unlike Epic Pinball, which Epic only sold directly and never to stores. It’s called Silverball and it uses the same game engine. Some say it is the retail version of Epic Pinball, but if so, that sucks, because it’s not that great. Others say that it’s the sequel,
but that’s completely wrong too. That would be Extreme Pinball. It’s more of a beta version. From what I would gather. I have my reasons for thinking so, but perhaps I’ll get to that in
a review of its own someday. The final, unbiased fact that
I would like to present to you is that Epic Pinball is awesome. I just love the feeling that
I get when I play this game. I don’t know what it is. It’s not only like being a kid again, but it just feels like it was
made with genuine passion. The look and feel of the game is second to none in DOS pinball games, in my opinion. Every computer I have ever owned, I try to run Epic Pinball
the first thing out of the box. If you want PC pinball,
there are other alternatives, but why go with anything less? Choose wisely. Choose Epic Pinball.

3 thoughts on “LGR – Epic Pinball – DOS PC Game Review

  1. After years of hoping it would happen, all 13 Epic Pinball tables are on GOG! Here's an LGR affiliate link:
    https://www.gog.com/game/epic_pinball_the_complete_collection?pp=fa33988727d7f572be002b845e65858e68bb92e9

  2. for those who are interested, you can play this on the internet archive. You just search for it and when the page loads just click the graphic and it will load up dosbox on your browser and off you go. 🙂

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