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Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey for Mac
9:04 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Several months ago it was revealed that developer Empire Interactive had created a Mac OS version of their fourth Pro Pinball game, called Fantastic Journey; however this Mac version had never shipped in the US and was released with no publicity. A few weeks ago Empire posted the Mac application that would allow you to play the PC version, but this was a beta version and most balked at the idea of buying a Windows title. Showing their knack for picking strong titles, GraphSim rose to the occasion and have now released a complete, Mac OS version of Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, available immediately from their online store.

If you are familiar with the Pro Pinball series, you know what to expect -- dazzling graphics, ultra-realistic physics and a "deep" table with many layers of gameplay. With gorgeous 32-bit graphics, ball reflections and thousands of independent table elements, no one does pinball quite as well as Empire. This fourth version has a Jules Verne-style theme of nutty inventions and a table that actually changes over time. Here's a description:

Journey back in time to the world of eccentric Professor Steam and his extraordinary piston-powered inventions in the latest and greatest Pro Pinball adventure ever. 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?

Marvel at the most accurate ever ball physics!

Includes balls that really spin, slide, roll and jump!

Gasp in awe at the complexity of the table design, featuring bumpers, ramps, drop targets, magnets, and more!

Be amazed at the incredible detail and constantly changing piston-powered table!

As with all other Pro Pinball tables, you can control all of the settings of the table itself as if you owned the real coin-op machine. Other features include three different viewing angles, an arcade-style dot-matrix scoring display, five difficulty settings and "frenzy" multiball play. And yet all of this will run smoothly on a 233 MHz G3 system.

We are suspicious that a demo version of this game will be released in the near future. If you can't wait and want a taste of the Pro Pinball series right now, grab the demo for Pro Pinball: Big Race USA from MacGameFiles. Fantastic Journey is everything BRUSA is, and more.

Empire's Pro Pinball Web Site
GraphSim's Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey Site
Pro Pinball Big Race USA Demo (26 MB)

Click to enlarge
New Halo Info and Screen Shots
2:40 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

While Microsoft continues to tout their X-Box at the Gameloft 2001, more information has been released about Bungie's greatly-anticipated action game, Halo. Included with that information is a new set of screen shots. The images also unveil a new alien character, previously not seen by the public. Of course the shots were taken from the X-Box version, using nVidia's special unannounced card, which is surely as powerful as the Geforce 3. Here are the details:

Huge weapon variety: Vanquish your enemies with a vast array of Human or Covanent weaponry ranging from the stealthy (semi-automatic pistols, alien plasma swords) to the fierce (rocket launchers and flame throwers).

Vehicle & foot-based action: Tackle missions anyway you choose--be it storming an enemy base or taking the wheel or gunnery position of a variety of powerful vehicles. Vehicles range from stolen Covanent flyers & hovercraft to Human buggies, tanks and more.

Indoor & outdoor combat: Fight seamlessly in Halo's ultra-realistic indoor and outdoor environments as you hunt the Covenant in dozens of single player missions and multiplayer battles.

Intense multiplayer shoot-outs: Form a team, choose a role, and fight cooperatively with your friends, battle it out Deathmatch style via intense split screen combat or fight co-op with a friend through the single player missions.

Incredible mission variety: Fight the Covenant in dozens of missions as you uncover the dark secrets of Halo. Among your many objectives - attack enemy outposts, raid underground labs for advanced technology, rescue fallen comrades, steal alien vehicles and weaponry and snipe enemy forces.

Reality-bending special effects: Halo features the most advanced graphic system on the most advanced gaming platform in the world. Gunfire rips off the screen, explosions light up a living room, and environments blur the line between your couch and fantasy.

Rich sci-fi experience: Halo transports gamers into a science fiction universe fresh out of a Hollywood movie. With a detailed twisting story-line, complex characters and cunning enemies Halo will fulfill every sci-fi enthusiasts dream.

For the rest of the info, head over to the X-Box page now and have a look. VoodooExtreme has also scored a couple of new Halo shots, if you're interested. There is no firm date as to when Halo will be coming to the Mac, but it's assuredly after the X-Box release date. Stay tuned as we'll keep you posted on any new information that becomes available.

X-Box Halo Web Site
VoodooExtreme Halo Screen Shots
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

Summoner Previews
10:13 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The Adrenaline Vault has posted a preview of Volition's online role-playing game Summoner. Compared to other previews this one is quite detailed, and a good read as well. The preview does contain a certain number of new screen shots and some new details. Here is an excerpt from Avault's preview:

What makes Summoner different from other role-playing systems is that when you slay an enemy, the character who effects the killing blow gets all of the experience, rather than having the total number of points distributed across the group. When trying to level your characters, you need to be keenly aware of who needs the experience. Attempting to keep all four characters at roughly the same level is important, though it never hurts to keep Joseph a little more powerful than everyone else. At each new level your characters will become more powerful and gain new abilities such as backstabbing. Abilities work in a method similar to proficiencies in Dungeons & Dragons: Every level you get two points to upgrade the abilities of your choice; these abilities are based partially on the strengths and weaknesses of each character. Joseph, for instance, will start the game with the ability to wield swords, while the rogue of the party will be stuck using bows and knifes until she reaches a certain level. Magic also plays a rather heavy part in the action, both in the form of basic party spells and Joseph's summoning ability.
RPGDOT has also done a review of the demo, with added information from Volition if your appetite for Summoner details is not sated. Check out our interview with Mark Allender as well for more details. According to some sites, the PC version of this game has just "gone gold"; we are awaiting an update on the status of the Mac version, which is expected to be two or three weeks behind. The Mac version will be published by GraphSim.

IMG Mark Allender Interview
Summoner demo review at RPG DOT com
Summoner preview at The Adrenaline Vault
Buy Summoner

MacMAME 0.37b13 Released
9:39 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Brad Oliver has sent word that he has just released a new version of the MacMAME multi-game emulator. While many gamers sent e-mails wondering if MacMAME was dead, Oliver confirms that they have in fact skipped a release and that MacMAME is in no danger of fading out. Here are the details:

• In sync with the DOS 0.37 beta 13 build. [Brad Oliver]

• Modified PPC 68k core to support encrypted opcode arguments in pc-relative
reads. [Brad Oliver]

• Added support for 555 and 888 direct modes, used for transparency effects
in some games. [Brad Oliver]

• Moved some more strings to the resource fork to aid in translations. [Brad

Total games supported: 2839

Total unique games: 1658 (1181 clones)

Download the latest version at MacGameFiles.


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Major Insights into Neverwinter Nights
9:38 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The boys at Firing Squad recently got a chance to visit BioWare's headquarters and
grill Trent Oster, for details
on his upcoming title. Neverwinter Nights is an online RPG, cut in the mold of Baldur's Gate, that boasts the much-anticipated
feature of allowing a dungeon master to edit, create, and host an entire campaign.

The interview reveals copious details regarding the game that should be of
particular interest to gamers watching and anticipating this title. One of the more interesting
aspect of the game's design is that character customization seems to be quite detailed. Hair color, tattoos and other elements of
coloring schemes are all customizable to create a unique aspect to every character. Armor itself cannot be customized, but will come in many varieties, colors, and pieces,
allowing a player to custom mix-and-match armor sets to produce a desired look. Weapons are also
customizable (no doubt many of you are jumping up and down as you read this tidbit). Oster notes:

Swords, axes, maces, polearms all have various hilts, blades and pommels to choose from.
As DM, you can create a weapon from any combination you like.
Want a jagged, evil looking sword, or maybe something more
elegant and professional? It's up to you. Item creation is as
simply as clicking three different buttons to scroll through
available parts.

The interview also brings into focus details on the Dungeon Master (DM) toolset, known
as the Solstice Toolset. Specifically designed to accommodate a DM guiding a party through a game in
real-time, it contains several "dirty tricks," such as a sliding difficulty adjustment tool.
Players whipping your monsters with no problems? Turn the difficulty level up a notch in the middle of combat
and see how they do. Oster also goes into detail on map creation and the scripting language tools.

Of particular interest to Mac gamers is this quote regarding Mac video cards, as well as general release dates:

Mac is somewhat of a question mark. With the impending switch
to OS X, the Mac users with 3dfx video cards will be left behind,
as there are no drivers for it. Hopefully something can be scraped
together, but at the moment ATI and NVIDIA look like safer
choices for the Mac platform.

All three ports are about one to two weeks behind the Windows

Needless to say, this isn't welcome news for Mac 3dfx owners, who have already found themselves left out of the testing process in several upcoming titles. Nevertheless, it is heartening to hear that the Mac port
is only one to two weeks behind the PC version.

For more insightful details into Neverwinter Nights, be sure to check out the entire article. It contains a huge amount of
detailed information and is a worthy read. Neverwinter Nights is currently scheduled to be released at the end of this year.

FiringSquad - A Visit to BioWare
Neverwinter Nights Official Site
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Click to enlarge
Avernum 2 Update on
9:08 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software has recently released an update to Avernum 2, bringing it up
to version 1.0.2. For those unfamiliar with the title, Avernum is a self-described
"retro-rpg" cut in the classic mold of old-school RPGs such as Ultima and Wizardry.

The update fixes several problems:

  • Rocky Cavern is no longer occasionally all black when entered.
  • Bug which made characters hit too often fixed.
  • Many typos fixed.
  • A bunch of other small fixes.

Avernum 2 features character designs by Phil Foglio (of Myth Adventures and Buck Godot fame) and gameplay strongly reminiscent of some of the first
computer RPGs. Anyone who misses the heydays of Ultima or Dungeon Master should give this one a whirl.
Both the updater and the full version are available on MacGameFiles.

Avernum 2 Updater 1.0.2
Avernum 2 1.0.2 - Full Version
Avernum 2 Official Site
Spiderweb Software
Avernum 2
Buy Avernum 2

The Legend of Shadowbane - Part 2
9:07 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Shadowbane, Wolfpack's upcoming Massively-Multiplayer Online RPG, continues
to reveal its already incredibly rich background story. Recently posted on the official
Shadowbane site is Part 2 of The Legend of Shadowbane. For those unfamiliar with the story,
The Legend of Shadowbane details the history of a sword responsible for shifting the course of a world
three times over. Known by many names, its most famous name (and the namesake of the game itself) is Shadowbane.

Part 2, entitled The Age of Days, tells the
tale of Beregund Bladeseeker and the War of the Scourge. Besides weaving a good story,
it gives more insight into the working dynamics of the game itself, including the histories and motivations
of the various races:

So began the War of the Scourge, the direst conflict in all the History of the World. Yet even in this dark hour hope
was reborn, for the Elves, Men, Centaurs, and even the Giants joined together in a mighty alliance to save the World,
forgetting the enmity that had divided them since Time began. So all of the All-Father’s children stood as one for the
only time in the History of the World. Alas, even all their might together could not stem the foul tide of Chaos. Battle
after battle was lost, and many heroes whose like shall never again be seen died in that terrible conflict.

If you're eagerly anticipating Shadowbane, or you just like fantasy literature in general, the Legend of Shadowbane is definitely worth a read. Shadowbane is currently
scheduled to be released sometime late this year.

The Legend of Shadowbane
The Legend of Shadowbane Part 2 - The Age of Days
Wolfpack Studios

Mac Games News for Monday, March 12, 2001

Mac DS9: The Fallen to be Gold Soon12:44 PM
Insight into Race Relations in Shadowbane11:25 AM
Adrenaline Vault Editorial on Video Game Regulation9:56 AM
Will Wright Q&A, "House Party" Expansion Gold9:22 AM
Interview with Brent Knowles on Neverwinter Nights8:56 AM
Aliens vs Predator Update?6:00 AM
Apple Attends Game Dev Conference6:00 AM
Mac Heroes IV A Possibility?6:00 AM
New Shadowbane In-Game Movies Released6:00 AM
Official Tropico Site Opens6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, March 12, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, March 9, 2001
Thursday, March 8, 2001
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Monday, March 5, 2001

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