Past efforts to bring the game of pinball to home computers have been often futile efforts. While it's true that there have been some entertaining products released, problems such as split screens and skittish physics have had a hampering effect on realism. Empire Interactive's Pro Pinball: Timeshock! has none of the problems of its predecessors, and may be the closest thing you'll find to real pinball on the PC.
As the story goes, an experiment in the future failed, releasing a Timeshock. The Timeshock is headed back toward the dawn of time, intent upon the destruction of everything, and you must stop it by gathering pieces of the time crystal, scattered throughout four eras. By completing playfield tasks, and surviving the Time Machine and Time Warp Frenzy, you will race toward the dawn of time. Create an Anti-Timeshock and save the universe. But Timeshock isn't an adventure game, it's pinball, and thankfully the plot here doesn't sully the action.
Gameplay is fast and accurate, and anyone who has ever spent time bandying a little silver ball around a playfield will appreciate Timeshock's attention to the physical properties of pinball. In Timeshock, the ball behaves as if it were a tangible object, reacting to its three-dimensional environment with absolute precision. Whether the ball comes off the bumpers or down the ramps, it adheres to the proper laws of physics, providing the most realistic pinball simulation yet on a PC. This realism isn't limited to the spinning ball either, because Timeshock beautifully translates all the elements on a pinball table into a vibrant, three-dimensional arena.
Table design in Timeshock is seamless. Ramps, bumpers, flippers, and chutes are positioned to work together, and play off each other, fluidly. This critical element comes across strong in Timeshock, and as your game progresses certain combinations of ramp shots are needed to further the plot. Tables can be adjusted to any of four views: three varying angles of perspective and the now-lackluster flat table are just a click away.
All the elements in Timeshock combine just right, delivering a fully realized product that screams, "Play me." Actually, a digitized voice says that, and in full surround-sound to boot. Timeshock is the best computer pinball simulation yet, and if you get good enough at it, you can even brag about your high score by posting it at the Empire web site.