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 Post subject: Review - Ruiner Pinball
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Ruiner Pinball is very much an average pinball game. What hurts it even more is that the Jaguar already plays host to Pinball Fantasies, a terrific pinball game. Ruiner is simply too limited by comparison, with the added drawback of flirting with the ugly side graphically. The following details my disappointments with the cart.

The game starts with an introduction showing a cityscape being vaporized. This almost looks like it was lifted from a lost 2600 cart (yes you read write, 2600!) It's so ugly, but then again I don’t play pinball games for snazzy openings. What follows is your choice of two tables … only two? :? No excuses here.

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Yes I know there was the oddball pinball game that still only offered one table (they were usually very good though, like the realistic Pro Pinball series) and I know Ruiner’s are rather large sized, but I still expect more. Options to enable a tiny cam and have the ball textured are gimmicky and essentially worthless in my opinion.

The first table I‘ll discuss is the Tower. An overly tall table, it lacks excitement (and after I played the more advanced Ruiner table feels cheap by comparison too) It features mostly poor artwork and color, and it’s horror theme is also handled rather poorly in my opinion. It felt like it was trying to imitate the TG-16 ‘Crush’ games unsuccessfully. I highly recommend Alien Crush, or Stones n’ Bones (found in Pinball Fantasies) for a good taste of pinball horror handled well.

The Ruiner table for which the game is named after is the better of the two. I prefer it's Cold War theme. It's tall and wide connecting tables are even more exaggerated and take advantage of the Jag insofar as they create an experience you couldn’t duplicate in an arcade.

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That is about it as far as demonstrating any sort of console strength though. The visuals disappoint and I see no 64-bit enhancements (in fact I’ve seen better graphics from 16-bit systems) For one, where are the assortment of rich colors found in Pinball Fantasies? Ruiner Pinballs colors are garish, and lacking in variety. Why were some so overly emphasised? In the Tower table for instance, purple seems to account for the vast bulk of the color scheme. The Ruiner table is better, but still not great. More diversity would have helped.

The game is also plagued by too much pixelation. The jagged look is very noticeable in several parts. And a small but noteworthy point … I really don't like the way the game zooms out when a ball is lost (I find it annoying). What really bugs sbout the visuals in Ruiner Pinball is that the manual promises a “visual banquet” Ha! More like ‘visual fast food’ :mrgreen: It is not good that the look (and sounds come to think of it) reminds me of the handheld Lynx game Pinball Jam (I bet the two games shared some of the same team)

How does the audio fare? Meh. Generic, cookie cutter, run of the mill, call it what you will … I doubt anyone will walk away after playing this cart humming it’s tunes. They just aren't very good. While Pinball Fantasies has memorable music, you’ll be hard-pressed to recall any tunes from this game. The sound affects fare no better ... they are cheesy. :| Nuff said.

At the start I called Ruiner average but I should have put an asterix near that sentence, as this really only applies to hardcore pinball fans. If you are not one, then this game is below average. Being big into pinball myself, I do pop this game in on occasion … but never for very long. I’ll play each table once, enter my name in the high scores (if applicable) and then put the cart back in the drawer for months at a time. By comparison, Pinball Fantasies gets much more frequent plays … and these often turn quite lengthy.

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For fans, or to round out your collection only.

-Trev


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:41 pm 
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3 1/2 years later, and my opinion on this game is pretty much the same ... with Pinball Fantasies in the Jag's library, there just isn't much reason to play this one.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:17 am 
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Ruiner had a lot of potential. Its biggest downfalls though are the muddy visuals, the poor table designs (the flow doesn't make sense or feel good), and the poor flipper action (it's difficult to shoot where you need to, and when you do, it's almost futile to do it consistently). I have a hard time enjoying it, as much as I really want to.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:02 am 
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Trey wrote:
That is about it as far as demonstrating any sort of console strength though. The visuals disappoint and I see no 64-bit enhancements (in fact I’ve seen better graphics from 16-bit systems) For one, where are the assortment of rich colors found in Pinball Fantasies? Ruiner Pinballs colors are garish, and lacking in variety. Why were some so overly emphasised? In the Tower table for instance, purple seems to account for the vast bulk of the color scheme. The Ruiner table is better, but still not great. More diversity would have helped.


Actually this game shows quite a bit of enhancements from a technological point of view. I would be hard pressed to believe a 16bit system could do a lot of what's being done there. Multiple balls, tons of sprites, large fast scaling in and out of the entire table along with full screen spins. Barring the colors which I agree PF does better, this game begins to rock and roll with the Jags big chips. The first board has slowdown on multi-ball which it appears they fixed in Tower.

But other than technologically I agree with everything else. HVS was not very good at designing actual tables and PF is overall a lot more fun to play. IMO. Its still fun just not as fun as PF.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:37 pm 
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Hmm, I have to concur with Chris on this one. Ruiner seems to get the bad end off the stick because Pinball Fantasies was on the Jaguar. PF was an amazing game for it's time and I still play it to this day, but Ruiner really has quite a bit going on for it. I adore the double board aspect. Austin does make a good poitn though in the the flipper work was a mess. If that one thing had been tightened up for the physics to work right, this game would have been awesome. While Ruiner is in no way an amazing pinball game, I don't think it's the trainwreck you have made it out to be Trev. I also think that the 16 bit systems would have had trouble pulling off much of what the game does very smoothly and without severe slow down issues.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:28 am 
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T2KFreeker wrote:
While Ruiner is in no way an amazing pinball game, I don't think it's the trainwreck you have made it out to be Trev. I also think that the 16 bit systems would have had trouble pulling off much of what the game does very smoothly and without severe slow down issues.


What? How dare you Jaguar trolls disagree with me!

Retract your comments and accept what I write as gospel or I will sue you all for attacking whatever the heck I happen to be. :P

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:02 am 
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T2KFreeker wrote:
Austin does make a good poitn though in the the flipper work was a mess. If that one thing had been tightened up for the physics to work right, this game would have been awesome.


I think specifically because of this aspect, the game is a trainwreck. The flipper action in a pinball game is arguably the most important aspect of a pinball table, period. Get that wrong, and you've already screwed up the entire thing. Such a shame too, because I enjoy just about everything else in Ruiner. Cool table designs, some zooming and scaling you didn't usually see in Jag games, and there is a lot to do. With the flippers being the way they are though, there's little sense of actual control over the flow of the game, and thus little reason to actually play the game.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:40 pm 
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Err... basically, I like Ruiner Pinball. Probably because it is very similar to the Technosoft pinball titles for MD (etc) i.e. Dragon's Fury & Dragon's revenge.

I like The Tower table > Ruiner as well, personally...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:55 pm 
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NeoGeoNinja wrote:
Err... basically, I like Ruiner Pinball. Probably because it is very similar to the Technosoft pinball titles for MD (etc) i.e. Dragon's Fury & Dragon's revenge.

I like The Tower table > Ruiner as well, personally...


Actually I found the Ruiner table growing on me.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:08 pm 
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People enjoy Pinball Fantasies over Ruiner? I can't get into PF and I feel like the tables are really empty. I'm not the biggest pinball guy though, so maybe that's why I like Ruiner more.

Still, nothing beats Crue Ball on Sega Genesis for pinball games!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:58 pm 
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FrumpleOrz wrote:
People enjoy Pinball Fantasies over Ruiner? I can't get into PF and I feel like the tables are really empty. I'm not the biggest pinball guy though, so maybe that's why I like Ruiner more.

Still, nothing beats Crue Ball on Sega Genesis for pinball games!


PF is much truer to real pinball, and people that enjoy real pinball (and realistic pinball physics, which Ruiner has none of), will enjoy it a lot more.

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