Balls of Steel
Windows - 1997
Description of Balls of Steel
Balls of Steel is the latest pinball game to hit the market. Unlike some of my fellow reviewers at GDR, I happen to enjoy computer pinball. Game designers have done an excellent job of late recreating the pinball experience on the computer -- and not having to worry about how many quarters you are spending on the game adds a lot to your skill level. With the computerized version you can learn how to score major bonus points via bonus modes and learn skills such as subtle nudges on the table and flipper skills such as trapping the ball. (The only thing missing is the physical element of pinball including putting your weight into a nudge or being dazzled by the distracting lights).
With that said, Balls of Steel doesn't really add much to what has come before. Sure, the graphics are excellent but it's still that scrolling screen that we've seen since the beginning of computer pinball. The scrolling screens are simple enough to get used to -- after all, in the real tables you have to learn where your flippers are because you can't always keep your eye on the ball when it picks up speed and fires towards your flippers. The only problem is that I have been spoiled by the game Hyperactive Pinball which sported some incredible photo realistic graphics and an intense 3D full screen view mode that seemed to be the perfect solution for players who can't get used to the scrolling screen.
Balls of Steel does include a full screen option but it is squeezed onto one side of the screen. Even on a 17 inch monitor the table is just too small. Even that game Tilt! from Maxis fits a full screen option inside a window and it seemed easier to see than Balls of Steel. Full screen is most important when you need aim at a target way at the top of the table. Balls of Steel contains five tables with a variety of themes and styles of play. Here's a run down of the selection:
With the theme of an evil scientist's lab, Mutation's playing surface lives up to its name. Ramps mutate as they change direction, and the ball gets swallowed by bumpers only to be regenerated elsewhere on the table. This three flipper table features a multitude of biohazard related modes and skill shots. One of the coolest features is the "accelerator" which rockets your ball around the table. The atom smasher requires a good amount of force to hit the caged balled into the target. Replicator is the multiball mode and "Feed the Beast" is one of the bonus modes with involves feeding your ball to this hideous green slimeball.
Conan would be flattered by this take-off on this fantasy/medieval table. I think they even snuck a few Arnold as Conan lines into the sound effects, like "Feel my steel!" One mode involves killing the attacking giant ants. Hit the targets and the ants disappear leaving a lit skull in their place. The ball lock involves feeding the dragon a steel ball for which he will display his fire breathing trick. Barbarian is a three flipper table with a wide open lower field. Most of the action happens at the top of the table with multiple ramps and the serpent pit. Get in the pit to start a mode.
Firestorm is a four flipper table with a "Blown Away" type theme. A mad bomber is blowing up the city and it's up to you and your trusty silver balls to save everyone. Dialing 911 via targets sends you off to headquarters for the start of bonus mode. Example modes include bomb threats at the airport or heading on to the freeway to check out possible bomb hoaxes. The goal of the subway alert mode is to clear the tracks of bombs by running through the two subway ramps. This is a good table for picking up combo bonuses. Run the ramps in combination to pick up combo, double combo and triple combo points.
Based on space "bug hunt" movies like Aliens, Darkside features an uncluttered playing surface with three flippers, a bunch of ramps and a ball lock sequence that involves an alien creature's digestive system. Since the playing field is simpler than some of the other tables, Darkside provides a good place to start in Balls of Steel. One mode features "bugs" that crawl across the table. Squish 'em with your ball. Bug hunting is especially fruitful when you get the two balls going during the hunt. Watch out for defections though, the bugs squish and then send the ball screaming back towards your flippers. One of the video modes presents you with targets of alien bugs to shoot. Use the flippers to target and the space bar to shoot.
This guy shows up everywhere doesn't he? Ol' Duke has been one of the most successful video game personalities invented and Balls of Steel is counting on his popularity to expand to pinball. Duke Nukem is the unofficial headliner table in this collection of noname tables but it's not nessessarily the best table. Chock full of one liners from the 3D action game, including the title of this collection "Balls of Steel" there is enough here to give Duke fans something to chuckle about but it's probably the most boring table in the collection with limited effects and a very empty playing field. Duke features four flippers and very few targets to shoot for. Sometimes the open playing field is spiced up with some animated aliens from the original game for a little target practice. Like the 3D action game the idea here is to collect key cards and blow away the aliens.
Insert 50 Cents
If you like pinball games you'll like Balls of Steel. It's a decent collection of tables and although it plays it close to the classic arcade tables, Balls of Steel does add some new twists with clever animations and skill shots that could not exist in a real wood, plastic and glass table.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
RDR.EXE 2020-07-04 0 point
Thank you for uploading this Pinball masterpiece.
It's a real shame it's no longer available anywhere due to the Duke Nukem license. *sigh*.
The GOG and Steam versions work perfectly on modern systems out of the box.
JD 2020-04-04 -1 point
I just downloaded the 60 MB version. I also got the windows 95 message. Solution: right click on BOS.exe file, and use windows 95 compatibility setting. (I've got an old windows xp system)
Mr Error Alert 2020-03-08 1 point
I made a couple of attempts at playing the game after downloading it.
The first time, I received an error message saying that it only works for Windows 95, even after using D-Fend Reloaded.
Then I applied the official patch, but it only got me a different error message
"The code execution cannot proceed because DSETUP.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem." Wasn't it supposed to come in the .zip files?
And then I applied another patch, only to receive a similar error message.
Please inform me if you have any solutions.
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