Sonic Spinball (16-Bit)

I like pinball, who doesn’t, it’s probably one of the most fundamental games since the ball, depending on how the machines are made. Computer pinball games have been around for years, some have been technical achievements and some awful (Kiss Pinball), but then there are pinball games that actually make sense but shouldn’t have bothered with the idea. Take Sonic the Hedgehog who can spin into a ball, what if he was to be smacked by flippers while still being curled up; you get Sonic Spinball, developed by Sega Technical Institute and published by Sega.

Dr. Robotnik has taken control of Mt Mobius and turned it into a mechanical base called the Veg-O-Fortress (Yeah I know it’s a stupid name) Sonic arrives with Tails on the Tornado, but get shot down and Sonic falls in the ocean and ends up inside. Dr Robotnik, to secure the emeralds made a pinball defence system…A PINBALL DEFENCE SYSTEM, so if people try to take it, they get hit by flippers, Sonic CAN curl into a ball and…ok whatever Robotnik has done, is complete genius, for an idiot.

So the game play is practically pinball, you can control Sonic as normal when he isn’t in ball form, but in ball form you don’t entirely control at all, with the help of the flippers, you must guide Sonic through different levels trying to collect all of the chaos emeralds. You do have the ability to control Sonic, slightly moving him from left or right, but it doesn’t work properly because the physics of this pinball game are bad.

The level design is an eyesore at times, it can have a dark tone at first which isn’t bad, but get to other parts of the level and it’s a bit too much colour for my liking, why didn’t they take note from the original sonic series, oh right they had to incorporate things from The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, this all makes sense now.

There are parts of the levels where you hit enemies to activate a switch that opens the way to the chaos emeralds. There are many tubes to go into to progress through the game, but that might be the problem, trying to progress, to this day I cannot pass the first level because of the objectives you have to do and you try to do this, then you fall and you have to get to that area all over again, and probably by the time you do, you fall into either water or toxic waste, screwing your chances of progressing. The bosses I watched from game play footage, is still pinball, at least it’s better than the pinball boss from Sonic CD.

This…is mediocre, I might not be the best at it, but for sonic fans or any other gamer who are not the pinball type of person it’s going to be frustrating, even people who don’t mind objectives in their pinball.

Trying to do the objectives is a headache since you’re fighting with the levels and your focus due to far too colourful graphics more than the enemies. The controls are great though, but then again since I’m playing this on the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection with changed control settings with L1 and R1 being the flippers.

It was a good idea but they could have done better, this was a waste of time and I don’t even know if this is or should even be canon to the main sonic universe. But it did have kind of a legacy after that, UK Theme Park Alton Towers opened a Sonic Spinball ride, though not related to the game; it’s still a reminder of an average sonic game.

You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, Virtual Console, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, PC, Dreamcast, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 & iOS.

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