Pro Pinball: The Web

Pro Pinball: The Web
Game Name: Pro Pinball: The Web
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): Empire Interactive
Developer(s): Cunning Development
Genre(s): Pinball
Release Date: 1996
Serial Number: T-30701H-50
Region: PAL

Pro Pinball The Web Title ScreenshotOh no, yet another pinball game on the Sega Saturn!
Yet another forgettable title to fill the space between the classic shooters, fighters and RPGs? Not so with this one.

The Pro Pinballs are regarded by enthusiasts of the genre as the most authentic series around, no less due to their depth and striking attention to ball physics, setting them apart from the half-arsed attempts from the competition.

But you don’t need to worry about any of that. All you need to know is that, a fan of the genre or not, this game is awesome!

Sadly, of the 4 developed, only the first entry made it to the Saturn. Thankfully, The Web is an outstanding game which, should you be in the market for such a game, needs to be at the top of your list, and if you aren’t you ought to take a peak anyway.

Pro Pinball The Web  Gameplay ScreenshotLets get the single problem with The Web out the way – there is only one table. But lets then explain why this isn’t such a problem – because this one table has more variety and challenge than other Pinball games boasting 3-4 tables have all put together.

The story is that you, a biker, have set out on the road to challenge the Evil Queen, ruler of the web, whom taunts you throughout your game. Your goal is to face her at the ‘ultimate showdown’, which can only be reached by achieving 5 goals as represented by the 5 showdown spheres in the middle of the table.

The game spices this up with various bonuses, combos, multiballs, and most notably its 7 missions, activated by entering the doorway at the upper centre. These missions each have their own dot matrix animations at the top of the screen and usually require you to focus on a single few targets, some easily aimed for, others more unpredictable and requiring more patience. 6 are represented as the green lights below the 5 showdown spheres.

Pro Pinball The Web View Selection ScreenshotAll of these modes give this single table an immense amount of choice and a real reason to carry on playing past the ‘beat your highest score’ target that understandably not all gamers care for. Should you not feel like aiming for one goal, you can leave it for the time being and focus on something else instead.

The table also features numerous other ways to exploit the ramps, bumpers, magnets and loops for extra balls and other point bonuses. The more of these you understand, the more enjoyable this game becomes. And whilst I’m not one for high scoring in games, I found it rather thrilling seeing my highest runs get higher and higher, showing my games were improving.

Graphically, the game holds up extremely well for a 14 year-old, its pre-rendered graphics holding a very bright light against any modern pinball sim, with everything animated ultra-smoothly, and no slowdown to speak of. This is great seeing as, 14 years from its original release, I still find myself coming back for another game at fairly regular intervals.

If there is one criticism I could point out it would have to be the slightly drab and overuse of blue, presumably the Evil Queen’s colour of choice. Considering this is the only table, a little more use of colour to make things easier on the eye should’ve been considered.

Pro Pinball The Web Long View Screen ShotIt’s also worth noting the table can be played from three camera angles so it’s worth experimenting to find out which one works best for you.

The music has a decent variety of sound effects and different music tracks for each mission and special events, many of them entertaining enough with the odd track that turns out to be quite catchy (the skyscraper mission’s easy listening elevator music never fails to amuse), but nothing outstanding.

It would’ve also been great had the manual explained in further detail what each component of the table does and how to collect each showdown sphere.
However, these minor flaws are quickly overlooked when considering just how solid and involving this game is.

So next time you’re looking for another quality Saturn game, and you don’t feel like yet another fighter or racing game, take a chance with The Web.

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