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
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):
||Beautiful looking tables, and cleverly
designed transition between the two tables.
|| Sound effects alone could get you
hooked on this game.
||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.
|| 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.