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Title Pokémon Pinball
System Nintendo GameBoy
Players 1
Catalog # DMG P VPHE
Price $34.95 MSRP
Street Date Available NOW
Other Info GameBoy Color/
GameBoy Pocket Compatible

By Maria "Jigglypuff" Rider

What has bumpers, flippers, spinners and says "Pikachu?"? Why Pokémon Pinball of course! The next evolution of GameBoy games involves an innovative pinball game where the theme is Pokémon! The goal of this game is simple: keep the pokeball in play, rack up the points by hitting bumpers and spinners, and capture Pokémon in the process.

Like the original GameBoy games (Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue), Pokémon Pinball has a number of the same features. The player can capture pokemon like the original, but in ways that are decidedly different. For one, the player is no longer in a role playing and fighting game environment and is now just purely playing pinball and capturing pokemon. The game lets the player travel from place to place like Mt. Moon (Mt. Otsukimi) or different areas of Cerulean City (Hanada City). Along the way, the player does not fight other pokemon in challenges, but merely collects them, evolves them, and trains them.

There are two playing fields, Red and Blue, and like the original game, each has different pokemon, so the player must play both. Like your typical pinball game there are the usual round bumpers, bonus caves, and spinners, which up the player's point count. There are three main modes of Pokémon Pinball: Catch 'Em Mode, Evolution Mode, and Regular Mode. In Regular Mode, players do not do anything special, just rack up points and try to move to the next area. Catch 'Em Mode involves hitting the ball to the right loop of both games and doing it three times in succession. Next, the player must hit the ball into either the BellSprout's (Madatubomi) mouth or the Cloyster's (Parshen) shell to activate Catch 'Em Mode where the player must hit the Voltorb (Biridama) or Shellder bumpers. This action racks up points in the Jackpot Bonus and reveals which pokemon is silhouetted in the middle of the playing fields. Evolution Mode is just the opposite of Catch 'Em mode where the player sends the ball up the left loop three times and hits it into either the Evolution Cave or the Slowpoke's (Yadon) mouth to activate it. If the player is successful, he evolves the pokemon into its next form or just makes it stronger.

The main object of this game is to keep the ball in play which is actually pretty difficult to do upon first play. But after weeks of playing, this author is pretty good at keeping the ball in play. I say, "pretty good" because I still get my share of "ball go down the hole" moments. There is one recourse though and that is the Pikachu Kickback. On either side of the playing field are little pikachus that aid the player by kicking back the ball into play with a jolt of electricity. In order to activate the Pikachus, the player must power up the Thunder Meter by spinning the spinners on the right side of the playing fields. Other methods to keep the ball in play are the usual flippers and the most helpful Tilts. There are three types of Tilts: Up, Left, and Right, which definitely help when trying to get that ball from out of bad ball situations. Skill and timing is involved when doing the Tilts. In order to tilt the field, the player must press certain buttons on the GameBoy to make the electronic playing field move up, left or right. For example, the player can tilt the field up so the ball bounces back out to the middle of the playing field when falling between the flippers. Unlike a real machine, though, it is impossible to actually "Tilt" the game.

Another function of the game, which may prove helpful, but is a bit difficult to pull off, is the Map Move, which is the only means of changing locations or screens. It involves hitting the ball on either side of the playing field three times in succession against the Digletts (Digda), Poliwag (Nyoromo), or Psyduck (Koduck). Once done, the player must send the ball to the right or the left loops and then into the Go To Next cave which will take him to the next area on the map. There are four different bonus modes, Meowth (Nyaasu) Stage, Diglett (Digda) Stage, Gengar (Ghost) Stage, and Seel (Pawou) Stage, which are like mini-games within the main game.

The enjoyable part of Pokémon Pinball is that the player can play it over and over and find more and more pokemon with every game. One of the neat features the game has is a Rumble Feature where the cartridge itself has the ability to rumble within the hands of the player. The actions of the game dictate how much rumbling goes on like a real pinball game, but it is pocket-sized. The sound effects are up to par for a typical GameBoy game including the "Pikachu!" exclaimed when the ball hits the Pikachu Kickbacksd. Also, a cool feature that is only available on the GameBoy Color is the ability to "beam" your High Score Lists to friends via an infrared sensor for those who also have GameBoy Colors. The music ironically enough includes different arrangements of the original Japanese music including the Catch 'Em Mode music which is an instrumental of "Pokemon! Get daze," the opening theme for the original Japanese Pocket Monsters show. It is ironic because this is the U.S. release and we would expect to hear the U.S. opening song, but Nintendo chose the Japanese ones instead.

This author quite enjoys playing Pokémon Pinball and finds it is a welcome change from the original GameBoy games or the N64 games. Pokémon fans with a GameBoy (or GameBoy Color), will want to get this game to add to their collection!

@a! Rating
out of 4.




Pokemon Pinball

1995, 96, 98, 99 Nintendo, Creatures Inc., GAME FREAK Inc.; 1999 HAL Laboratory, Inc., Jupiter Corp; 1999 Nintendo of America, Inc.



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