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Steve Evans
Arcade: Pinball
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Gordon Houghton, Nick Roberts, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

The pinball table awaits your pleasure...

A ball is fired on to a sloping table, and once on the table can't fall off - there's a surrounding retaining wall. But the ball can run through a gap at the lower end of the table, and the challenge in Microball - as in real-life pinball - is to use a pair of flipper-like bats to deflect the ball when it runs toward that gap. (If it does, it's lost and the next of five balls appears.)

Bounced back up the table by a flipper, the ball rebounds around a network of circular bumpers and other targets, collecting points. Hitting targets in particular combinations earns bonus points, and other targets activate a score-multiplier - it doesn't just add points but can double or even quintuple your score.

An extra ball is awarded after 250000, 480000 and 720000 points.


'As pinball games go, this isn't much fun. For a start, it's far too easy (hardly like real pinball!), and doesn't get any harder. Different table layouts, or even a single layout more complex and exciting than this, would have helped. And though the pinball moves reasonably well, it sometimes gets stuck in places where it shouldn't (the end of the flipper, for example). The graphics are bright and cheery, but the black background and the sound add nothing. Microball is quite playable (for a little while) and it does have some addictive qualities simply because it is pinball. But I wouldn't recommend it.' GORDON ... 39%

'Microball is another uninteresting pinball game. You remember the type: two flippers at the bottom of the screen, a few boring obstacles and a flashing display that doesn't seem to do anything. The final burst of excitement comes when you get three friends round and have a game all together! Microball is reasonable as pinball games go, but they don't go very far - stick with the real thing.' NICK ... 38%

'I wouldn't mind a decent pinball game, something with features and graphics 1988-style, but this weak game has missed its time. Some of the bugs are appalling: the ball regularly gets stuck on the very end of the flipper (that screw-up which would take considerable skill on a real table), and twice in half an hour of play the ball got stuck in the border of the 'table ', necessitating reloading. Microball is simple and simply unattractive.' MIKE ... 47%

Joysticks: None
Graphics: simple, not unlike the real thing
Sound: simple, not unlike the real thing
Options: one to four players, if they can't be bothered to find the real thing
General Rating: Little content, little interest (not unlike the real thing - Man Ed).


Screenshot Text

Bugged: Microball