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Direct Kiss Pinball

Shiminok

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"You wanted the best, you got the best!" states the box cover of KISS Pinball, quoting a KISS trademark. But calling something the best doesn't make it so -- a budget game without accurate physics, KISS Pinball is at most an average game, one only a diehard KISS fan might really appreciate. Even a fan, though, is certain to be disappointed to learn that KISS music is absent from the game -- there's just a generic looping hard-rock style soundtrack.

Players familiar with modern computer pinball games won't find anything new here. Most of the normal features are evident, but there are no surprises and only the bare minimum in design has been accomplished. The physics are a bit shoddy, evidenced by ball movement that isn't quite as responsive as that in a real pinball machine or video pinball games of higher quality. The ball bounces off objects at a linear speed, rather than slowing down from friction and gravity and, at other times, doesn't bounce at all when it should, making it too easy to catch with a flipper. As a result, the game feels stiff and non-responsive.

Of the two views offered, the close-up view is basically unplayable. The ball travels so fast at times that the tracking camera pans up and down too quickly for the human eye to follow. Fortunately, the wide-angle, full table view is more playable but is too small and looks like a computer graphic rather than a pinball table. In this view, the entire table is shown on the left half of the screen while the dot-panel and a KISS graphic is shown on the right. An isometric viewpoint would have been a huge improvement.

If you're a KISS fanatic, buying the game is probably a must, simply to include it in your memorabilia collection, regardless of the mediocrity. Maybe it'll substitute for the original KISS Pinball coin-op machine that sells for thousands of dollars. But, if you don't have much interest in KISS merchandise and are looking for a good pinball game, many others are available with more gameplay and better physics, such as Empire Interactive's Pro Pinball series.











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