Sonic Spinball (16-Bit) Review

Sonic_Spinball_Box

Time to finish off my “review worst games thingy” topic by reviewing Sonic Spinball (the Megadrive version)! Instead of reviewing a game with a bad reputation (even though it may or may not deserve it), I decided to do the opposite and talk about a game that is considered mediocre, and see if it deserves that reputation. Is this game fun? Let’s find out!

Title Screen

Let’s start with the gameplay; it’s pinball. I’m assuming you already know how to play pinball, but just in case you don’t (and are still living under a rock from Pac-Man 2600), here’s a quick summary: you move a ball in a playing field to score points. To get points, you have to hit multiple targets. At the bottom is 2 plastic bats called flippers. Don’t let your ball fall in the drain!

Screenshot 1

Well, that sounds like exciting gameplay (not). In the previous article, I stated how I despise this game. And I do. That is because of the terrible controls. I don’t mind the game being different, and “not a platformer”, as long as the game controls well, and is fun. But, they messed up this game too much for it to be enjoyable.

Casino Night Zone is 100 times better than this game, and it’s built into an already great game! It may not be a pinball game, but it’s much more fun to play, and less tedious!

There is a story, but it’s basically nothing. The back of the box says that “Dr Robotnik’s latest fortress is a giant pinball machine!” and Sonic needs to destroy it. That’s it. According to Wikipedia, there is a bigger story, but most players won’t get to hear it. It’s basically saying Tails and Sonic fly into the scene (I assume on the Tornado) but Sonic gets hit off into water, and swims to the fortress.

TOO BAD Screenshot 2
It’s too bad that I’m actually playing this game!

The aesthetics are pretty mediocre. A bad Sonic sprite, bland backgrounds that don’t really stand out, and boring level sprites. It’s not even that it’s a pinball game that make it worse; just look at Casino Night Zone again. Colourful graphics, high detailed sprites, and one unified style of graphics. I realize this is a cheap tie-in, but there is no excuse. Other tie-ins have amazing aesthetics, just look at わくわくソニックパトカー (the internet refers to it as Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car). It looks amazing, sounds amazing, and looks really fun (I can’t really judge without playing it, though).

GET THE EMERALD Screenshot 3
It’s like the whole game is one big special stage!

The music is like you’ve taped a cheese grater to my ear. It sounds too much like Megadrive launch title music (too simplistic, and more about the beat than the tune). It’s like someone had a cool idea for the melody, made it with modern music, and then used a terrible Megadrive soundfont with it. If this game would have been on the Sega Saturn, it could have had much better music. Don’t get me wrong; the music is good, but the soundfont doesn’t fit it. It’s more about bad execution than a bad composition.

(I do like this remix of Toxic Caves though, except the start is quite off putting. I’ve made it so the song should start past the bit that isn’t very good).

Screenshot 4
I only show early screenshots, as people still complain about spoilers from games that are more than 20 years old!

Also, it wouldn’t be a full review without mentioning the last level. There is a massive difficulty spike. Should you finish the game? No, you shouldn’t. If you buy the game, just play the first levels. The first time you try and complete it, you will fail, and then you will not play the game for another 3/4 years.

So, should you get this game? If you are a Sonic fan who wants to own all of the games, this is a nice game to have in your collection. If you are a pinball fan, you may be better getting a cheap phone version of pinball (or a cheap physical pinball machine from Ebay). If you don’t like Sonic or Pinball, then don’t get the game, unless you are a Megadrive fan, who wants to own every Megadrive/Genesis game.

 

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