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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Palm OS and Pocket PC games

Bounty Hunter 2099 Pinball, by Hexacto $19.95
Reviewed May 2002

After looking at a good number of pinball games, I found that I keep coming back to Bounty Hunter 2099 Pinball. Even our Editor in Chief, a gal who's not an electronic gamer got hooked! The clear table design, realistic controls and reasonable difficulty level make this game stand out from the crowd.

Developed by Hexacto, Bounty Hunter 2099 Pinball has a unique and creative concept. It takes you to the year of 2099. You are an agent from the Fugitive Retrieval Agency. The scum of the earth have taken to the stars and it's up to you to bring them back home to face justice. The game play is nicely integrated into the story. First, as a bounty hunter, you must obtain the contracts for the criminals by hitting the orange and blue doors. There are multiple contracts, the more you obtain the more criminals you can catch and bring back. For each contract you get, the letters of "BOUNTY" will light up. The next step is to travel to the stars in your slick sports car with wings. The game actually takes you to another table where you do the actual hunting. Once you've caught the criminals you must get back into the car and escort them back.

The table design is not only integrated with the story it is also the one of the most intuitive yet interesting designs I've ever seen. If you've never played a pinball game you would have no problem finding your way around. The table design is smart. Instead of having to travel between two tables and deal with blurry graphics, Bounty Hunter avoided the problem by taking you to another table in a car and giving you a good story to back it up. In turn, they made the graphics look great and the game play fun. In addition to the targets for obtaining contracts, tracking down criminals and taking them back, there are also the bonus pumps and a warp zone where you will see your pinball spin at an astronomical speed and your score climb at the same speed. In the center of the home table, there is a large area that gives your hints and tips for the game play. For example, when you start the game, it tells you that you "need contract". When you hit the contract target, it will show you a picture of the criminal you need to catch and for how much money. If you failed to escort the criminals, it will tell you they all escaped.

The controls in this game are smooth and realistic. You will really feel like you are playing a pinball machine in the arcade. The movement of the ball simulates gravity's effect on a real ball incredibly well. The controls are very responsive and smooth when you steer the ball-you can even balance the ball on a flipper then shoot it at your desired angle just as in real pinball. You can make the game fast-pace and exciting by pinpointing your shots, or you can lay back and hack up some points in the warp room before you head to the stars.

Graphics are slick and gorgeous in Bounty Hunter. Because the ball doesn't travel between the two tables, you can fully enjoy the clear and beautiful table designs. While both have a futuristic theme, the music tracks are low key and minimal, but the sound effects are high quality and abundant. The multi-channel sound effects are the jewels in this game. When you hit the target to gain a contract, the synthesized voice will read out the contract for you. You will love to hit the targets to active the voice, except of course the "hunt over" voice.

Bounty Hunter occupies just a little over 2MB and runs nicely from a CF card on my Jornada 568 and on an iPAQ 3835's SD card. The only glitch I found was that the tilt function doesn't work. I tried it on both Jornada and iPAQ, but could not get the table to tilt on either PDA.

Playing Hints and Tips
Watch the center of the table where it gives you hints and directions. The round warp room will give you the highest scores other than completing a contract.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Beautiful looking tables, and cleverly designed transition between the two tables.
Sound Sound effects alone could get you hooked on this game.
Fun Meter Learning curve is so short that a pinball beginner can go far in this game. But the challenges are plenty enough to keep a veteran pinball gamer busy running between earth and the galaxy.
Addictivity It's very easy to get addicted to this game. It keeps a high score for you and there is scoreboard on Hexacto's web site as well.
Bounty Hunter Pinball screen shot

 


Pocket PC

Palm

 



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