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CACG: Quick Index
P1 Front cover
P2 Editorial
P3 Contents and description
Special Features
P58-P60 Fast forward to the future of games
P6 Are games doomed?
P36-P38 Mario Paint Vs. Deluxe Paint AGA
P22-P23 Amazing world of 3-D
P42-P51 SNES Shoot 'em up special
P8-P9 Team 17 special
P56-P57 Millennium FI5H packs compo
Special Features

P28-P32 Machine Comparison - specs
P10-P11 The new Amiga 1200
P12-P13 Super FX Chip
P20 Your computer's CPU
P21 Your computer's memory - ROM & RAM
(Super Nintendo)

P14-P16 Starwing (SNES)
P24-P25 Lemmings (SNES)
P42-P44 UN Squadron (SNES)
P45-P47 Super Aleste (SNES)
P48-P51 Axelay (SNES)
P52 Super Mario 4 (SNES)

P39-P41 Lotus Challenge 3 (Amiga)
P17-P19 Zool (Amiga/A1200)
P26-P27 Pinball Fantasies (Amiga)
P33 Lotus Challenge (MegaDrive)
P34-P35 Project X (Amiga)
P54-P55 Flashback round-up (all formats)
(In the pipeline)

P4-P5 General news
P61 The Second Samurai
P62 D.I.D. games
P63 Populous 2
P64 James Pond's Crazy Sports
P65 Capcom games
P7 Mega CD, CD32 and 3D0

Do the sky-ride, man! Get yerself an ice-cream! H-h-h-h-a-a-a-a-a-py hour! Sorry, just getting a little carried away there. You see, Pinball Fantasies is really enjoyable. So enjoyable in fact, that I want another go. Now. So excuse me while I just slip off for a moment...
Right, I'm back. I've been playing Partyland, which is the best table of the lot - it's fun, funny, and packed full of features. But, to be honest, the rest of the tables aren't quite up to the same standard. Still, I'll try and be professional, and leave my judgement for later on in this review.
Right, the plot: Use your flippers to shoot the ball around the table hitting things for points. And that's it - nothing more, nothing less. Well, come on, it is a pinball game.
Anyway, Pinball Fantasies is the sequel to the stunning Pinball Dreams created by a Swedish team called Digital Illusions. The original Pinball Dreams was, for me at least, one of the best games ever. I'm sorry to shock you, but if I was reviewing it now, I'd give it

at least a good 92-94%. It might only be a pinball game, but it's the most lastable game ever, and it had great graphics and music.
If you've glanced across to the page over there (sorry, couldn't find a decent arrow), you'll no doubt have seen the respectable, but not quite outstanding score. Yes, I'm afraid I don't think PF is as good as its predecessor. 99% of other mags. do, and 99% of buyers do, too, but I don't. Sorry about that.
The first reason is the general presentation of the game. Apart from a couple of good samples on Partyland and Stones 'n' Bones, the sound really isn't much cop. The music, whilst appropriate, isn't really as

'hum-along-to-able' as some of the tunes in Dreams, and there doesn't seem to be as many samples either.
The graphics are about equal, so no complaints there (and Partyland has amazing colourful visuals); but the design of some of the tables is a bit effortless to say the least. Partyland's okay, so's Speed Devils, but The Billion Dollar GameShow has a scrappy layout, and you never feel as though you're getting anywhere. Stones 'n' Bones is okay as far as it goes, but has one of the most stupidly dumb features I've ever encountered in a game. The 'kick-back' area is supposed to be 'novel', but in reality, it just serves to frustrate the player. If the ball is shot upper-left, more often than not, the ball hurtles to the right, bounces off somewhere, and falls down the gap to the left. If you've activated the 'kick-back' function, then fine, but once that's gone, there's a very good chance that next time the ball is shot upper-left, the movement mentioned repeats, and you lose a ball. I haven't made it very clear, have I? Well, let's just say that I'd rather have the 'feature' removed thank you-very-much.

While Partyland is superior to the rest, being highly compulsive and featuring nice bright graphics, it suffers from an annoying bug. After reaching a good score of over 100 million and losing a ball, as my points topped up, the game felt obliged to crash, losing my score in the process. This isn't a one-off either - it's happened several times. Now I don't know whether Digital Illusions/21st Century were in a hurry to put out the game, or whether I've just got a faulty version, but it's very annoying all the same.
That only leaves Speed Devils, then, but even this table has its flaws. It's choc-full of features, but it takes a long time to get anywhere, and the music just drives me up the wall (ho ho). Still, I returned to it more than the rest of the tables on offer, and finding out what some of the features did was fun.
Four mediocre-to-good tables, then, all packaged in a nice large box, and a price-tag of 30. Wait a minute, isn't 30 a bit too much? I mean, it's only a pinball game. Now, I don't mean I've got anything against pinball games or anything (as you can tell by my likeness for Dreams), and they're arguable the most playable game-style, but it's not as if the programmers have spent years over it. Just take the ball movement from the original, add a couple of samples, compose a few more tunes,

knock-up some graphics in DPaint, and that's pretty much it.
The game comes on three disks, which seems a bit odd to me, especially when you consider that Dreams only required two. I suppose the reason could be down to the new score panel at the top. Rather than the calculator display of the original, DI have opted for a new dot-matrix look, which produces some nice effects, like the loop-the-loop on Partyland, or the tower on Stones 'n' Bones. Call me a moaner you may, but I still prefer the original's display - it's far more suitable for a pinball game, and replacing it loses some of the game's 'feel'. Another 'improvement' includes a third flipper on some of the tables, but I found it was ever so slightly tacky, and got in the way a bit.
All these criticisms may seem harsh, and indeed, Fantasies is a good game in its own right. It's got flippers, bonuses, heaps of features, a large display area (the game scrolls 2-3 screens vertically), and points galore - basically everything a pinball game should have. Some of the graphics are very appropriate, and well drawn to boot - Partyland features rides, clowns, candy-floss and even an arcade (I doubt you'll find Starblade in it, however)! All sorts of car gismos and gadgets await you in SD, while you could be forgiven for thinking
that you're participating in The Price is Right when playing TBDG. Oh, and Stones 'n' Bones looks great - with loads of ghosts, skeletons, and what-have-you.
I won't go on about all the specific features included in the tables - you'd be better off discovering them for yourself (the usual cop-out from reviewers who - gulp! - haven't got much space left in the review), but you'll have mounds of fun discovering all of the little bits 'n' bobs that the tables have to offer.
A great pinball game overall, and well worth getting; but my vote for being the best pinball game on any home format still goes to Pinball Dreams.

48,182,117 (actually, I got over 200,000,000, but the game crashed, didn't it?!) (Ignition), 286,671,317 (Steel Wheel), 7,106,341,673 (honestly!) (Beat Box), and 532,164,908 (Nightmare). These are my scores on the original Pinball Dreams. If you've got any better ones, send 'em in.