Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pinball Arcade: Bride of Pin-bot Table Review

Today I'm bringing you a brief review of one of my favourite tables currently available for Pinball Arcade.  All being well, I will do more of these in future once I've played some of the other tables a bit more.  The version of the game I've mostly been playing is for the PlayStation 3, and a little bit on the Vita as once price gives you access the game on all three Sony consoles.  This makes it the best value by far of all the formats the game is available for.  I actually didn't even buy this particular table pack in order to play Bride of Pin-bot at all - in fact I wanted to play Medieval Madness, but have instead found myself coming back to the table it comes bundled with.

Before I get on with describing the basic rules of the game and then exactly what I like and don't like about it, I want to give a bit of background about the real life table.  It was released by Williams in 1991 and was designed by John Trudeau and Python Anghelo, based upon a concept by Python. The striking artwork was by John Youssi, and the music was composed by Dan Forden, perhaps most famous as the chap that popped out of the corner of the screen in Mortal Kombat II and yelled "Toasty!".  The game is the sequel to the original PIN-BOT from 1989, and had a sequel called Jack-Bot in 1995 which incorporated a gambling/casino theme together with the established robot motif.

The thing I like most about this table is it's relative simplicity, which I could also see being a weakness for professional players.  For amateurs like me though it means that the rules are easy to learn, while the act of playing the game well is where the skill lies.  It lends itself to the limited viewpoint of an HDTV (where you can't see the whole table) quite well, whereas the detailed playfield of Medieval Madness makes it hard to distinguish the different elements on the field (this problem is lessened significantly on the Vita, where you can play with the screen held vertically, but if you've played the real table then then playing on a home console pales in comparison, no matter how good the emulation is). 

Your main objective in this game is to shoot the ball into the left hand ramp and activate the Bride herself.  You will be doing this a lot.  The first time you manage to shoot the ball up there, you activate her voice module.  The following shot then goes up into the mini bagatelle section of the playfield in the top right corner, and activates the Bride again.  Two more shots up the Bride ramp will activate her eyes, and trigger a two ball multiball mode.  You then have to get both balls back up there yet again (without letting one go out of play) to activate "metamorphosis".  Both balls are released once more, and returning them both up the ramp one more time will activate the larger of the two wheels in the middle of the playfield.  If you're lucky, the wheel will then land one the 1 Billion Point Jackpot, and it is then up to you to shoot the ball up the central heart ramp.  This shot is trickier than it appears, as if the ball doesn't have enough momentum to get all the way up the ramp it will most likely be headed right toward the out hole.  Once the first multiball is triggered, letting any of the balls go out of play resets the entire sequence to the beginning.

The real life table in all it's glory.
In addition to this main jackpot mode, the ball can also be shot into the right most lane to activate the smaller wheel, which may activate another much smaller jackpot, light up the extra ball, or award you with the extra ball immediately.  There is a lot of speech throughout the game, from the robotic voice of the original PIN-BOT, to the sultry female tones of the Bride.  I enjoy the whole B-Movie atmosphere of the game, and the overall robotic theme.  Definitely a strong design - every comes together nicely, from the table layout, the art, and the sound.

As I hinted at earlier, the difficulty level is just right for an amateur player like me, as I don't have to worry about remembering pages of complex rules and instead can focus on enjoying a fast paced game that flows extremely well.  This table shares this in common with my personal favourite table - High Speed II: The Getaway.  At just £3.99 for access to both this and Medieval Madness on every Sony console, it's an absolute bargain - especially when you consider that owning the real machines would easily set you back around £7000, not to mention the space you would also need and the upkeep of the inner workings.

Overall: 8 out of 10

You can check out a video version of this review below, where you can see the game in action on my PlayStation 3!

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