In the mid-1970's KISS
became kings of rock. Their name and likeness were everywhere. During this time they even
had a pinball machine that graced many arcades. Now it's the year 2001and KISS is still
placing their name on everything from comic books to toilet paper. So it was only a matter
of time until they would encompass the world of video games. Recently they tried their
hand at the first person shooter genre with little success. With KISS Pinball they attempt
to capitalize on their previous pinball success.
KISS Pinball is the
newest $9.99 budget game by Take 2 Interactive. Originally a PC game developed by Wildfire
Studios, Tarantula Studios converted it over to the PlayStation. Like the other titles in
the budget line the game feels incomplete. While the game can be fun, the fun is only
fleeting before frustration sets in.
There are two tables to choose from. One consists of KISS in a concert setting
and the other is more hellish in appearance. The biggest drawback to the whole pinball
game is that you can only see half of the area at a time. Pinball is a game in which you
need to see the entire area in order to properly follow the ball to succeed. At least they
could allow you to change the view according to your preference. There are four modes of
play to choose from. Novice gives you five balls and the ball saver is active for several
minutes. Regular play is just like Novice but the ball saver function is shorter. Arcade
mode gives three balls and tournament is a standardization of the points system from each
KISS Pinball is not a game that by any means relies on eye candy. Its graphics
seem more like the games that arrived in the first year of the PlayStation, not of a game
that has been released in the fifth year of the system. The tables are grainy and seem
extremly out of focus. The colors are hit and miss. The hit is on the
"Netherworld" table in which the colors make every object stand out from each
other. The "Last Stop Oblivion" level, which is the concert table, is a miss.
The ball disappears in the middle of the board making it way too easy to miss it coming
back down. The speed of how the game plays is good, as long as there is only one ball on
screen. At times it may be too fast considering that you are limited to only seeing one
half of the table at a time. Once you are "blessed" with the bonus ball the
speed crashes down, rendering any rhythm that you might have obsolete.
The controls are pretty simple, as they should be for a pinball game. Two
buttons are used for the flippers and the "up" button on the d-pad is used to
give the "table" a nudge. The controls can be testy at times, especially with
the up button. Another problem is the way that the game detects collisions. Many times the
ball does not react with the bumpers, though this does not affect the overall gameplay.
The second collision problem is with the flippers. There have been times in which the ball
would get stuck in the flipper and would not budge, forcing you to restart the machine to
continue play. I may be wrong, but I do not think that is an accurate pinball experience.
Those who buy this game will more than likely not be someone looking for a
solid pinball game. KISS fans will purchase it. One thing that these fans are looking for
in a KISS game is their music. No KISS game is complete without some of their music in it.
It's like getting a new book without the last chapter in it. KISS: Pinball is missing the
final chapter with its lack of any actual KISS music. Instead you get a simple guitar riff
that goes over and over and over, not quite the music you would expect in a game based on
a rock band. But there is a light at the end of the stage. There is a way to play your own
CD's while you are playing. Now this I like, and you are able to skip through tracks using
either L2 or R2. Sound effects in the game pay tribute to the wonderful graininess of an
actual pinball machine.
Adding all these things together, what remains is the fact that this game is high on
frustration and low on fun. With the exception of playing your own CDs there is not much
that this game has to offer, unless you do not have a lot of time to play, like anything
more than five minutes is too much. If you have got to play, use either novice mode or
regular. The game lasts a little longer that way. So to answer the question you all are
asking: Is it worth buying? No! How about as a rental? Not likely given that a rental
could cost as much as five dollars. If you really want to try it just borrow it from a
friend. I'm sure that whoever has it would be willing to part with it for some time.