Soccer Pinball
Copyright/Publisher: Codemasters, Design & Programming By: Steve Siddle,
Graphics By: Michael Sanderson, Music & FX By: Sonic Graffiti,
Release Year: 1990, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

'Hip dang doody, hear the crowd roar...' screams the inlay sleeve. Do what? Cassette blurbs make little (if any) sense to IAN OSBORNE, but he does like his pinball...

At last - a Codies budget title that hasn't got 'simulator' in the title! It's rootin' tootin' pinball action all the way, with a fabby footie theme thrown in for good measure.

You start with three balls (that's two more than Corky's got, but I won't bore you with his problems), earning an extra one for every 10.000 points scored. The table-top graphic is dominated by a huge soccer pitch with a goal at each end - Subbuteo-style footballers block the top goal, while you defend the other with your flippers.

Knock out the opposition (temporarily!) by blasting them with your pinball, opening the way to goal. Hit the back of the net three times to advance to the next level, which features exactly the same table as the first but with a different team formation.

The table is nicely laid out, but could do with being a little more interactive. On most arcade and computerised tables the buttons do a little more than move the flippers (eg adjusting the targets to improve aim). Also, the pitch takes up so much room the rest of the table is hellishly small.

The movement of the ball is rather fabby. It clings to the bumpers a little at the lower ends of the table and when firing off the end of the flippers it tends to exaggerate a tight angle. Even so, this is incredibly difficult to reproduce on a computer, and the overall standard of the Codies offering is very high.

Hidden extras
Of course, pinball just ain't pinball without loads and loads of features, and Soccer Pinball features loads and loads (Shoot the staff writer - Ed). There are mystery features in the bonus lanes (they're certainly a mystery to me!), while catching the ball in the oddly shaped throw-in trap gives extra points, as does rattling the turnstiles.

Knock over all those purple dotthingies on the left of the tavle to reveal the hooter icon, smash 'em again to sound it for half-time. Take a stroll down the lane to reveal, then collect, the trophy which takes you to the next level (great neew if you're crap at scoring, like Aston Villa), and bash the balls in the top-left corner to grab an extra one yourself.

One drawback that plagues both Soccer Pinball and its predecessor, Pro Pinball Simulator, is it's irritatingly hard. According to the inlay there are eight rounds in all, but you need to be deaf, dumb and blind to get past Level Three! Also, there's a bug in it that allows the ball to pass through seemingly solid objects in a couple of places.

Soccer Pinball isn't world class material, but is definitely near the top of Division 2. Could be better, but if you're into pinball you'll be playing longer than Jimmy Hills' chin.

Ian! 70%

I'm great lover of arcade pinball machines - the flashing lights, the silly noises and the loud swearing heard when you get a 'tilt'. Soccer Pinball is a strange creature. As the name implies it's a mixture of football and silver-ball whacking fun (sounds painful). I've seen better C64 pinball games, but inevitably I've also seen worse.

The graphics are fairly simplistic, but as the flippers and ball are the only moving objects we can forgive the Codies (we're kind aren't we, readers?) (Belt up Corky or I'll smash yer faces in. Yes, both of 'em! - Ed).

The main frustration is in trying to score the three goals to get to Level Two. Very often the ball acrs in a totally irrational manner and seems to have a mind of its own (unlike me, I don't have a mind at all!). As a budget game Soccer Pinball may just be worth consideration, but only if you like the game type.



No redefine option - 'Shift Lock' jams left flippers.
Pretty, but ball sometimes lost in pitch shading.
Some of the most irritating effects ever heard.
What could be easier to get into than pinball?
You won't finish it in a hurry - if at all!