Activision Inc
1989
Arcade: Pinball
£8.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes

28,29
Nick Roberts, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

It's a while since we've had a Spectrum pinball variant, and this is quite an enjoyable one. Unlike most of the others that have surfaced in the past, this Electric Dreams version exploits all aspects of pinballing and much more.

There are four different machines to play on, based vaguely around some historical theme (I assume that's why it's called Time Scanner). For the two people in the universe who've never played a pinball machine and don't know what its about, the basic idea is that you fire a small ball into an enclosed area. By using specially placed flippers, you can bash the ball about so as to hit certain obstacles which score points or get bonuses.

On the first level, Volcano, you've to shoot the balls through transparent volcano lanes and light up the letters VOLCANO. When all the letters are lit, the volcano erupts, and you gel an extra two balls! Second level is the Saqqarah (don't ask me) stage, with lots of Egyptian sphinges (yes, that's how you spell it, Oli) and pyramids around. Light the letters PYRAMID and then drop the balls into the triple ball hole. On the third stage, Ruins, you have to drop the balls into the centre hole. Get two down, light all the targets and you're given a special lire ball, which has to be tired into the hole. Then you go onto the Special section, and guess what the blocks spell out this time? S...P...E...

Time Scanner is an excellent variation on an ancient theme. Thankfully there's enough content in it to make it addictive, though for ten quid you might be tempted to wait for it to come out on budget. It's not the sort of game that grows old quickly. The idea behind it is simple and unoriginal, but it's a tried and tested formula and it works well.

MIKE

CRITICISM

'Take four pinball games and a bit of Breakout, add tricky layouts and special effects and what have you got? Time Scanner! I have never enjoyed playing a pinball simulation so much. It is very similar to the Code Masters' Pinball Simulator but this one actually allows you to complete a table now and then. The four layouts in the game are all as good as each other with plenty of buzzers, flippers and surprises in store for the player. One minute the ball can be bobbing along nicely and the next it can have turned into three balls and mayhem breaks out. Talking of break out, the Special level includes a Breakout style bit (oops, that's spoiled it!). I would recommend Time Scanner to anyone, it's loads of ball-bashing fun!' NICK

Steel ball antics so fast you will flipper your lid with the frantic fun.

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