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Friday, September 22, 2000

Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey a Hybrid?
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fans of pinball sims have long known there is only one series to look to for amazing visuals and gameplay: The Pro Pinball series from Empire Interactive. In a surprise move that has received zero press, their newest title Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey does indeed seem to be Mac-compatible, although there is no mention of this on the web site or on the game box itself. This title has been available for quite some time, and has in fact passed into the bargain bin on the PC side; apparently this is the first time anyone has thought to check if the game was Mac-compatible.

All three previous Pro Pinball titles -- The Web, Timeshock and Big Race USA -- have been Mac/PC hybrid releases, but when we last spoke to Empire Interactive at E3, they seemed uncertain about future Mac support. However IMG reader 'Howie Everstar' has informed us that Fantastic Journey is indeed a hybrid CD, and the game runs quite well on his Mac.

What does this fourth title in the series have to offer? Well, it seems to have all the hallmarks of the previous titles (astounding ball physics, great speed, sparkling visuals) plus an all-new setting with a mad scientist theme. Here is a description and list of features from the web site:

Journey back in time to the world of eccentric Professor Steam and his extraordinary piston-powered
inventions in the latest simulation from the award-winning Pro Pinball team. Use your flipper skills to drill to the
center of the Earth, fly to the highest Mountains, and build a submarine to sink to the bottom of the Ocean in
a frantic race to prevent the evil General Yagov becoming ruler of the world. Are your reactions up to the
ultimate Pinball challenge ?

  • Full 3D table, with real ball physics and gravity
  • Amazing steam-powered contraptions: Drill, Boat,
    Submarine and Airship
  • Three different viewing angles
  • Full colour dot matrix display, including unique
  • Five difficulty settings
  • Fantastic frenzy! Control several balls on the table at
    one time
  • Customise your table by altering its age, flipper power
    and more!
As with the previous title Big Race USA, the table itself can be customized down to the angle of the table and weight of the ball. You can also play pinball with up to three online opponents, in challenge (timed) mode or by elimination (highest score wins.) The game also includes the original Pro Pinball: The Web, which we assume is also hybrid.

Currently this title is value-priced at $19.95 from several online software retailers. System requirements for the Mac version aren't given, but they should be similar to Big Race USA, which runs quite well on even the slowest G3 machine. We'll bring you more information about and screen shots of this title as soon as our copy arrives. [Ed note: We have learned that the hybird version of this game may only have shipped in Europe. You may want to hold off on any purchases until we can confirm that the US version is also hybrid.]

Pro Pinball: Big Race USA Review
Empire Interactive
Empire Interactive Pro Pinball Series

MacGamer previews F.A.K.K. 2
3:51 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Our buddies over at have posted a preview of Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K 2, the upcoming first-person shooter from Ritual Entertainment. Now in beta testing, FAKK 2 is poised for release sometime in October. Here's a little snippet from Corey Tamas' preview:

Beyond mere visual candy, F.A.K.K. 2 also claims the prize for best player animation I think I've ever seen. The main character, Julie (whom I will discuss later), walks, jumps, runs, crouches, rolls and moves so convincingly that at times I actually wondered if they used motion capture to get the effects right. Good player movement really helps the gamer to feel "connected" to the onscreen avatar (especially in a third person game like this one), and I find that F.A.K.K. 2 really delivers in giving a sense of weight, motion, inertia and exertion in all player movements from simple walking to rolling while crouched. As a huge fan of Oni (where the smooth, accurate motion of the female player character is all but perfect), let me tell you just how much I can appreciate the effort that went into making the movement in this game something special.
For the rest of the preview, be sure to head over to

Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 preview at Macgamer

Tanks of Terror Test Demo Released
3:38 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Brian Barnes of Klink Software has released a test version of the demo for Tanks of Terror, an OpenGL-based 3D title featuring tank racing and warfare. With charming graphics and sound and realistic physics, this shareware title adds nicely to the flood of racing-related titles coming to the Mac OS this Fall. Here is a description of the game and its features, from the readme:

Tanks of Terror is an OpenGL kart racing game with tanks, big weapons, and even bigger bosses. It's set in the 50's during a very B-movie-ish alien invasion. The main features are:

  • True 3D Environment
  • Indoor and Outdoor Maps
  • Dynamic Lighting
  • Dynamic Weather (Rain, Snow, Fog)
  • Changing Gravity
  • Time of Day
  • Liquids (with Tides)
  • Animated Backdrops
  • Advanced Transparency Effects
  • Marks on Walls and Floors
  • Controllable Camera
  • 6 Worlds
  • 2 Race Modes
  • Gauntlet Timed Races
  • Boss Battles
  • "Death Match" Type Games
  • 34 Maps
  • Skill Learning Bot AI
  • Tank Customization
  • Multiple Input Options
  • Network Play

    What is this release?

    This is a TEST of the DEMO version. It's the complete demo version released to the general public to hopefully find and then fix any last remaining bugs. Depending on the number of bugs, there might be an additional TEST or just the real DEMO. After that, the complete version will be released.

    What is in the complete version?

    The demo has 1 world, which consists of 3 regular race maps (in two different modes), 1 timed gauntlet map, and one boss map. It also includes 1 special network battle map. The full version contains all 6 worlds and all 4 battle maps.

The game includes many options to tweak the graphics settings for performance, but seems to run well with all options enabled on a G3 with a Rage 128 card. Grab the demo test from Macgamefiles, and be sure to leave your feedback and comments for the author.

Tanks of Terror Demo Test

Blizzard to Carbonize Several Current and Future Titles
1:23 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has contacted MacNN with some great news for fans of Blizzard's games. Here is what they had to say:

Blizzard Entertainment's Brian Fitzgerald has told MacNN that the company plans to carbonize several of its current and future titles including Diablo II; no date for release can be provided, but in the meantime the company says that their games should work in the Classic Environment of Mac OS X Public Beta.
Translating this in to English, this suggests that Blizzard will update the applications of its titles to run as 'native' applications on Apple's Mac OS X. Currently the titles run in the Classic 'box', a version of Mac OS 9 that runs at the same time as OS X to provide compatibility with non-native apps. 'Carbonizing' an application or game allows it to take advantage of Mac OS X's advanced features, such as resistance to crashes, advanced multitasking and the use of dual processors for extra speed.

"Several of its current and future titles" could indicate any number of games. Starcraft is still a surprisingly large seller on our platform, and of course Diablo II has been a runaway success, so both are candidates for Carbonization. The Diablo II expansion set will require the full version, so no Carbonization is necessary. As for future titles, Blizzard has only announced Warcraft III, although speculation about a Starcraft sequel is rampant, as Blizzard often works on more than one title at once. The final version of Mac OS X is due this Spring; Warcraft III has no release date, but is expected late next year.

Blizzard Entertainment
Macintosh News Network

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Red Faction Preview
10:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

CGO has posted a preview of Volition's upcoming shooter Red Faction. It's a nice overview of the known facts so far about the game, covering the amazing Geo-Mod engine, which will allow players to destroy large parts of buildings and terrain. There's also info on some of the game's other features, such as the six vehicles the player can control. Here's an excerpt describing these tools of destruction:

Red Faction will also include six vehicles for your amusement-an APC with a hard-mounted machine gun and mortar launcher, a hovering fighter craft with a chain gun, a submarine-like craft with torpedoes, and a large drill (also from Total Recall). Vehicles will primarily be designed to solve single problems within the game; for example, you might come to a dead end, engage in a firefight around the giant drill and then use it to burrow into the wall (it's better at that sort of thing than you are).
Red Faction is definitely looking to be an amazing title once it is released early next year for Mac, PC and Playstation 2. We'll keep you posted as more information on the Mac version becomes available.

CGO Red Faction Preview
Red Faction Web Site
Red Faction

Radeon is Mac OS X-Compatible
8:43 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we brought you word that ATI's next-generation Radeon 2D/3D cards were being delayed a short while and should be released in early October in an AGP configuration. The PCI version should follow in 4-6 weeks. On Usenet, the obvious question was asked: did anyone know if the card would work with Apple's just-released Mac OS X Beta. Ken Dyke, formerly of 3dfx and now Apple's main OpenGL man, offered a rapid reply. Here's a clip:

The card should work, although without OS X native drivers you won't
get any 2D or 3D acceleration, although for 2D right now the only thing
you'll really lose that you'd notice a lot is hardware accelerated
window drags, but even without that performance is pretty good.
Sounds like those who ordered new Radeon-based machines should be set. Thanks to Ken for all of his work in the Mac community. Considering the Radeon as an OEM option should be shipping within weeks, and some of the models it ships in have the option of also shipping with the Mac OS X beta, we are suspicious 'native' drivers for the card will be swift to arrive.

IMG News: ATI's Radeon Set For Early October
ATI's Radeon for Mac Page
Radeon AGP

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Deus Ex SDK Released
8:27 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

As promised, Ion Storm and Eidos have released the Deus Ex SDK (software development kit) to fans and developers. This information allows users to inspect the files of this game and edit them to create new levels, characters and other goodies. Past releases of SDKs for such games as Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena have inspired hundreds of amazing 'mods' to the original games. The release of this SDK may have the same effect, making the shelf-life and expansibility of Deus Ex nearly infinite. However, the majority of editing tools for Deus Ex (based on the Unreal engine) are PC-only and most likely will remain that way.

From Blue's News:

The 4.9 MB package includes versions of UnrealEd and the UnrealScript compiler specifically modified to work with Deus Ex, the conversation editor ConEdit complete with samples, extensive documentation and more.
This comment came from Mark Adams, President of Westlake Interactive:
There are no plans to do the DX SDK for the Mac. The SDK primarily
contains a modified version of the Unreal Editor, which was never ported
to the Mac. All of the content created on the PC with the DX SDK should
work fine on the Mac though.
In a few month's time the seeds of this release will bear fruit, and Deus Ex players can start enjoying the custom levels and weapons that Q3A and UT players take for granted. There are already several ambitious Deus Ex projects in the works, including two multiplayer mods.

Deus Ex SDK
Blue's News
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

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Tropico Q&A
8:26 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview with Tropico's creator Phil Steinmeyer has been posted at CheckOut Games. This chat offers a detailed look at this sim/strategy game, set on a tropical island with you as the dictator. They discuss Tropico's origin, the use of the Railroad Tycoon 2 engine, and delve into the strategies of the game. Here's a clip about the powers you have as dictator over your island peoples:

What are some of the more dastardly deeds players can unleash on their populace?

For would-be generalissimos out there, there's the old dictator favorite -- martial law. If your allegiances lie with the church rather than the army, you can unleash an inquisition to ferret out heretics (a heretic is basically anyone who opposes your enlightened leadership). Capitalists can gain sway through bribery. Finally, if your jails are overflowing, do as Castro did and give each of your prisoners an inner-tube and a good push in the general direction of Florida. All total, there are about 60 edicts you can issue, though not all are nasty attacks on your people as the above ones are.

Tropico is looking to be a very fun twist on the sim genre, and should be available next year for Mac and PC from Gathering of Developers. Check out the game's web site for more info.

Tropico Web Site
CheckOut Interview with Phil Steinmeyer
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

M&M's: The Lost Formulas Coming Soon
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Simon and Schuster have announced that their 3D-accelerated adventure game M&M's: The Lost Formulas has gone 'gold' and will ship sometime next week. This colorful title, based on the Red and Yellow M&M characters featured in several television commercials, seems to be yet another lucrative franchise mined by Simon and Schuster for gaming potential. Here is a description of the game from the press release:

THE LOST FORMULAS is a fast-moving 3-D action game, starring Red and Yellow "M&M's" Characters. The story begins with Red and Yellow about to leave for a much needed vacation from the "M&M's" factory. Red receives a call telling him the factory was left in control with the "M&M's" MINIs Milk Chocolate Candies. The "M&M's" MINIs have acquired the secret candy formulas (for "M&M's" Plain, Peanut, Peanut Butter, Almond and Crispy Chocolate Candies) and have torn them into pieces, hiding the fragments throughout the factory. The only product the factory can produce is "M&M's" MINIs - lots of them.

Yellow heads back to the factory and must find the lost formulas and restore order. In the process, he collects "M&M's" MINIs that are scattered throughout each level of the game.

"M&M's": THE LOST FORMULAS will be available in October 2000 for the PC and Mac at an estimated street price of $19.95. A 3-D graphics accelerator card is required.

While we have seen many games based on fictional characters, a title based on talking, walking pieces of candy is a first, as is a game that is designed to make you crave a particular snack food. Perhaps this game will explain why the MINIs seem to have such a bad attitude. Watch for this title in a store near you.

Simon and Schuster Interactive

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 21, 2000

ATI's Radeon Set For Early October4:14 PM
Blizzard Releases Diablo 2 1.0.3c Patch11:50 AM
New Shogo Demo, Update11:27 AM
WaterRace Progress Report10:46 AM
Molyneux on B&W Delay10:31 AM
Id Interviews, New Q3A Site8:43 AM
Rune Dev Update, Interviews8:42 AM
4x4 Evolution Public Beta 2 Released6:00 AM
Driver Delayed, Risk II and Wheel of Fortune Gold6:00 AM
Interview with Andrew Meggs6:00 AM
Red Faction Preview, Movies6:00 AM
Sneak Peek at Risk II6:00 AM
Update on Diablo II and ATI Drivers6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 21, 2000 on one page

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