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February 28, 2006
Gottlieb Pinball Classics - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
24/2/2006Red AntSystem 3Farsight Studios
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The tables look great in widescreen.
When it comes to pinball there's no comparison to the real thing, at least that's what most people will tell you - and to an extent that may be true. We could therefore conclude that pinball games must be pointless. Right? When you're driving a car there's nothing like the real thing either. How about some SOCOM styled war games? Certainly in those cases the real thing is better as well. Indeed video games are a simulation of reality. Make sense? All I'm trying to say is that all games simulate something, so why not pinball. Gottlieb Pinball Classics is a great simulation of everyone’s favourite pub pastime. So what's on offer then...

Impressively Gottlieb Pinball Classics includes 11 tables in total. These include, with their original release dates in brackets where known, Genie (November 1979), Eldorado, Black Hole (October 1981), Ace High (February 1957), Central Park (April 1966), Big Shot (August 1973), Tee'd Off (May 1993), Goin' Nuts (February 1983), Victory (October 1987) and Strikes N' Spares (August 1977). As a bonus the developers have included non-pinball games including Love Meter, Xolten, and Play-boy, each of which is good for a bit of a side diversion.

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It's the Black Hole table!
Actual gameplay is dead easy. The analogue stick is used to pull back the plunger, while left and right on the analogue stick will nudge the table, although it's still to easy to get a tilt. The Left and Right trigger buttons are used to operate the flippers.

Being a PSP one of the great features is the Wi-Fi multi-player action and indeed two players can compete on the same table at the same time. Perhaps more exciting is the game share which allows you to load a table to a friends PSP so he can also play pinball. This remains in his system until it's turned off. If your friends don't have a PSP it's possible to play an 4-player turn based tournament, or if they all have PSP's then you can set up a tournament for highest scores for 8-players.

As with the PS2 game the physics are very good but occasionally it seems to go a little wrong and you'll wonder why the ball moved a certain way, or if the flipper actually hit the ball as it appeared and so on. It only happens occasionally but it's still there.

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Aces High...
Gottlieb Pinball Classics isn't the best looking game on the PSP, but it does a wonderful job of recreating the tables. From the ball, to lights, to reflections on the glass top it's all here. The frame rate is also pretty much rock steady, with a dozen different viewing angles, some more suited to some tables then others. One of the most impressive things about this PSP version is the ability to play the game in either portrait or landscape mode. Landscape is naturally the best option giving you a better view of the table.

Sadly the audio isn't quite as exciting. I guess the developers were limited by the effects from the original titles however even some modern day music in the background or some better ambient effects in the parlor could have added a little more to the atmosphere.

The PSP may be struggling a bit in terms of quality games, and dare we say since Christmas we wouldn't blame you if your PSP has been gathering dust. Pinball fans will be pleased to hear that there is a reason to dust it off, and even casual pinball fans should have a look as well.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSImpressive graphics, smooth scrolling and great presentation.
SOUNDPretty good audio, with solid emulation of the arcade games.
GAMEPLAYNever an easy game to emulate, but this does a fine job of it all.
VALUEPlenty of tables, different game modes, and sharing its good value.
OVERALLGottlieb Pinball Classics is a great game on the PSP - perhaps even more impressive then the PS2 versions. Certainly a game which will keep gamers entertained for quite some time and a joy to play.

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