The final 2 games/tables from that 5-game Arcade Pinball compilation package covered in the last post are both soccer-themed games (that’s ‘football’ to you non-American foreigners). Here’s the first table, Soccer 98:
That’s an awesome level of detail and creativity on display. The grassy board, the soccer ball-colored pinball, the goal at the bottom of the table which symbolizes where you need to keep the ball out of. The opposite end of the table has a goal guarded by a goalie and 4 players. One purpose of the table is to knock down all 4 players and then you can go for the goal. Another cute detail is that there is a cameraman on the left side of the table that follows the ball everywhere it rolls. Novel though it may seem, I eventually realized this table was a little dull since there simply wasn’t much happening on much of the real estate. That’s when the game pulled through and raised up that giant, mutant, spinning soccer ball you see in the middle of the table field.
It’s interesting to note that in the intro animation for this table, the camera swoops down over a soccer stadium with 2 ads plainly visible: Judge Dredd and Zorro. That tells me that Pin-Ball Games Ltd. probably has a latter-themed pinball game in addition to a former-themed table.
This game and the next game, Team 98, appear to be based on a slightly different engine than the 3 tables described in the last post. Specifically this engine is more prone to crashing on my machine. But if you try running it enough times, you will eventually make it to the table. One of the new features I noticed is that shaking the board actually produces a visual effect (unlike the bubble level meter from the old engine).
The next game is easily the most interesting of the 5 in this collection: Team 98. It’s a 2-player competitive soccer-themed pinball game. That’s right– somehow, 2 players compete head-to-head against each other in a pinball-based soccer metaphor. Fraps had trouble capturing the main game screen but here is a shot of the table from the gallery:
It works like this: There are 3 15-minute rounds (where the time goes really fast, not real-time) and the game puts out a soccer pinball on each side. If the ball falls through your flippers (where the goal is), that counts as a goal for the other player. Then it gets pushed back out through the flippers. There is a similar player/goalie challenge at the other end of the board where you can score additional goals against the other player.
So it’s not very interesting in single-player mode. In fact, it gets downright annoying when, since there is no second player activating the other set of flippers, a British voice is heard to exclaim in disbelief, “He put it in his own net” every time player 2’s ball drops between the flippers. However, it occurred to me that this could very well prove to be the ultimate single-player pinball challenge. Imagine one player working to keep both balls on both tables in play!
I’m not sure where the title “Team 98” comes from since it is clearly a 2-person competition. I would like to point out that there is some random chaos built into the game since you can leave the flippers on both sides alone at the start of the game and despite the game’s symmetry, the balls will take different paths.
This is easily the most I’ve ever enjoyed a game of soccer.