for my second foray into the headache-inducing crimson world of the virtual boy i tackled galactic pinball. i’d quite enjoyed the old-school NES pinball game i’d played awhile back, so i was also looking forward to delving more into the world of pinball video games as well.
galactic pinball includes four tables (each only a screen tall), and after surveying all four i settled down with “colony”, mostly because on the cartridge i had gotten off of ebay that table had the lowest high score recorded. it didn’t take too long to figure out the ins and outs of the board, and unfortunately i started losing interest soon thereafter. the fault isn’t due to anything about the presentation, though. the game makes decent but not vital use of the 3D gimmick, and the graphics, music, and sound effects are all actually quite good and tie nicely into the “galactic” theme. the mini-games that are incorporated get repetitive because they’re too easy (in the case of the colony table you get to shoot down asteroids every couple of minutes but once you get the hang of it you’ll rarely miss any), but my main complaint is that the board is overly simple. maybe i just happened to start with the easiest table, but it got to the point where it was so easy to get the ball to go exactly where i wanted it to that i felt i could pretty much rack up points indefinitely. which from what i remember, was far from the case with the NES pinball. the problem with this board may have been that its emphasis is on navigating the ball into holes indicated by arrows, but all of the holes are reachable directly from the paddles, i.e. with one movement. in other games you’re required to get the ball in areas that you can’t hit directly from the paddles, either because the angles don’t allow you to have a direct hit, or, as in the case of the NES pinball and the “cosmic” table in this game, there are moving elements that make your ball’s movement less predictable.
i spent a fair amount of time with the other three tables just to see all of their elements. at some point i’ll come back to this game and try them in more depth, but nothing about them seemed to offer anything substantially different. i was somewhat disappointed that the samus cameo is so minimal and just consists of a very basic galaga-type mini-game, but it was fun to see it for myself. i’ve got a lot more pinball video games to get through, but i definitely want to check out samus’s fully fledged pinball game, namely metroid prime pinball, sometime sooner than later.
radar detecting incoming galactic pinball links!
– www.vr32.de again provides some great info, including screenshots of the credits (after you get 50 million on any board apparently), FAQs, mp3s, and a PDF of the manual
– virtual-boy.org also has a site that includes info on the game and screenshots
– reviews at retro.nintendolife.com and videogamecritic.net
– entry at wikipedia
– page on the official japanese nintendo site