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Review: Slam Tilt
By: Ken Anderson
Published by: 21st Century Entertainment under licence from Liquid Dezign
When a bunch of Scandinavian ex-crackers wrote "Pinball Dreams" in 1992,
they can't have known what they were about to start. Before then, pinball
was the about the only thing programmers had tried to emulate with any
degree of success. Games such as TimeScanners and Pinball Wizard suffered
from wooden ball movement, unresponsive controls, and the lack of any kind
of "feel". Pinball Dreams set the standard with catchy music, fast
graphics, and such addictive gameplay that it became an overnight success,
if not a huge commercial one.
Since then, we've had Fantasies, Illusions, Preludes and Quests with which
to play the silver ball. REAL pinball games evolved; out went the
two-flippers-and-a-stainless-steel-marble numbers, and in came the
all-singing, all-dancing super tables, with enough balls to take on Mike
Tyson, and more flippers than the entire cast of SeaQuest DSV. Pinball
sims followed suit; first came the extra flippers, then the hi-res
multiball modes. Purists complained that the programmers were sacrificing
the gameplay for technical excellence; others said all the games were
becoming the same. It looked like it was all over for pinball games.
Now we have SlamTilt (which deserves an award just for not being called
"Pinball Mysteries" or something similar) hailing from another scene group,
Liquid Dezign. And it's good. Very very good.
There are four tables; Road, Pirate, Ace of Space and Night of the Demon.
Buying any other pinball game usually results in a feeling of slight
disappointment, as there's always one table which is simply awful. In a
break with pinball sim tradition, all of SlamTilt's tables are actually
The action takes place on a now-familiar scrolling screen, with a simulated
LCD panel at the top. User-definable keys control the flippers, nudging of
the table (forwards,left and right nudging) and the firing of the ball.
There's provision for up to 8 players, high scores can be saved, bonuses
can be bonused, extra balls can be won.
It's all pretty standard stuff, and nothing much is new until 3 minutes
into play when you hit a sub-game. There are 42 sub-games in all, some of
which take place exclusively on the LCD panel, some which involve both the
display and the main table. Night of the Demon has "Escape from the Mega
Mutant Meatball", in which each feature hit increments a ticking timer; all
accompanied by a dinky animation on the LCD display and a bouncy
tongue-in-cheek tune. Ace of Space has you destroying asteroids or zooming
through a space corridor; Pirates gives you another bonus game if you blow
up an enemy ship.
The sub-games add to the addition factor considerably. Rather than just
mindlessly battering the ball around the table in the hope of a memorable
score, the sub-games give the proceedings a sense of purpose. The LCD
display, however, can be distracting - you're so busy watching the reward
for hitting your target, the ball is racing down the screen and out of
The sound effects are pretty basic click-clack noises, with the addition of
different spot effects for each table: zooms for the space table, splats
and screams for the zombie sub-game in Night of the Demon. The music is of
good quality, with plenty of differing ditties for each table. The volume
of both the music and SFX are adjustable.
I can't find much to fault about Slam Tilt, apart from the fact it's still
just a pinball game. Anyone who thinks the Amiga games scene is dead
should take a look at this sharpish - it will take something extremely
special to top this.
Pros: Smooth, fast, playable. The sub-games are great fun. Extremely
addictive. HD Installable.
Cons: Pinball is pinball. It doesn't have any music from "Tommy".
Overall: The best pinball game there is on the Amiga (and anything else).
All it needs is an add-on to swallow your change, and it's perfect. If you
like pinball games, buy this. If you don't, buy this and you soon will.