KISS Pinball is Ready to Rock

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Since the dawn of the video game console age began, game makers have strived to create a decent pinball game for the television game console that looks and plays like the real thing. Take 2 Interactive now has given us Kiss Pinball, the latest foray into the pinball sim market for the Sony Playstation.

Kiss Pinball, based on the rock band Kiss (obviously), is part of Take 2’s $9.99 Playstation line-up. Kiss Pinball features two different tables to play.

"Last Stop: Oblivion" the first table, follows Kiss on tour around the world. Hitting specific targets and ramps highlights different cities on the Kiss world tour. Knocking down targets on each concert stop will light mystery awards in order for you to gain power and points to increase your overall score.

The second table, "Netherworld" has Gene, Paul, Ace, and the kitty-cat guy going up against the dark lord of the netherworld. By collecting powerful weapons and lost souls, you gain access to different regions of the netherworld, where you (and Kiss) will battle the dark lord.

The tables are set-up as conventional pinball tables. Both tables feature bonus awards, power balls, multi-balls, and all the stuff that you would expect from a modern pinball game.

Kiss Pinball’s graphics, for the most part, are average. However, there are some points of interest in the art, such as, locking a ball in play by shooting a ramp towards Gene Simmons’ head and his tongue comes out and takes the ball.

The controls are pretty easy to handle. X launches the ball. L1 and R1 are the flippers. Up, left, and right on the directional button nudge the table. Be careful not to nudge the table too much, or else you will tilt the machine. I had some difficulty when I wanted to jostle the table but still wanted control of the left flipper.

The game has no Kiss songs on it, not even "Lick It Up," but once the game is loaded, you can open the console and swap the game disc with favorite music cd. The game will play all its own sound effects plus your music cd. I threw in Radiohead’s "Kid A" and it worked Okay. No matter what I tried though, I couldn’t get the music louder than the game’s effects. Maybe Kiss Pinball was having a reaction to something as moody as Radiohead. You can switch tracks on the music disc with the L2 and R2 buttons. Having the track changing buttons and the flipper buttons so close to each other was a pain at times. In particularly busy games, you can easily hit the track buttons accidentally. Nonetheless, the cd swapping feature is still pretty nifty.

Regardless of what game makers say about their game having an "accurate recreation of pinball physics," there is no video pinball game that is even remotely close to the real thing. In order to see the whole the table, while playing Kiss Pinball, the screen scrolls up and down. Sometimes this scrolling is not fast enough to see exactly where the ball is heading. The flippers are not always as responsive as I would like them to be. Also, I had a tough time trying to get a good hard shot off using the flippers.

Still, overall Kiss Pinball is one of the better pinball sims that I have come across for the Playstation. Kiss Pinball is hard rocking pinball fun. Plus at a price of $10, it’s a nice, inexpensive game and a new piece for that Kiss collection of yours. I give Kiss Pinball 3 1/2 out of 5 GIN Gems. If you see it for sale, go ahead and lick it up, or at least buy it.

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