Review by Retro

Reviewed: 06/17/01 | Updated: 05/20/02

Whether it's midnight or not, this game can be fun

Midnight Magic is probably the best pinball game that was ever made for the Atari 2600, at least of the ones I've played it is. If you've ever played a pinball game, then you should know what the object of the game is, so I'm not going to go into detail about that. But I will try to describe what Midnight Magic's layout is.

Like with most pinball video games, you'll start out at the bottom right of the game by using a lever that is loaded with springs to hit the ball into the game itself. Once you begin playing, you'll see that Midnight Magic isn't exactly your typical pinball game. There's not any spectacular lighting effects, and there's not any ramps or holes that you can make the ball go across for extra points. However, even though it doesn't have what most pinball games do, it's still a lot of fun.

There are three bumpers close together which look a lot like eyes for some reason. At the top-middle of the screen, you will see what will pretty much be your main target during gameplay. It consists of five different colored squares with an arrow underneath and pointing at one of the squares. Look around at the top and middle of the screen in all directions and you'll see some other things (I don't know what any of them are called) that will come in handy during your quest to score as many points as possible. Among them are oval shaped items at both of the top corners of the screen. Look right above the two top flippers and there is some sort of switch right above each of the two flippers.

As I said before, the three bumpers that are close together look a lot like eyes. They wouldn't look like eyes if it wasn't for what is right under them. Underneath those bumpers is something that spins frantically when the pinball goes through it. On each side of this item is a ramp that curves down, making this part look like a mouth. That makes me wonder why they named this game Midnight Magic instead of Pinball With A Face or something to that degree. Finally, when you look down at the bottom part of the screen, you'll see what are unmistakably a couple of triangle-shaped bumpers and some other gadgets that will give you points. Of course, on each side there is a trap, which in most pinball games would lead to losing one of your pinballs, but not in this game. At the bottom of the screen are two flippers and the all-familiar trap which will definitely lead to the loss of one of your lives, or pinballs.

I know I know, Midnight Magic sounds like a horrible pinball game doesn't it? Well, I can tell you that it's not! There's a few more things I need to mention about the game that you need to know before giving it a try. As I mentioned before, your main target during gameplay is the place at the top-middle part of the screen which consists of five different colored squares with an arrow that is always underneath one of those squares, pointing at it.

There's a trick to the bumpers that look like round eyes. You can make all three of those bumpers light up by doing certain things. If I haven't mentioned it already, there are always four flippers that you can use while playing the game. Two of them are on the bottom and two of them are in the middle part of the screen, one on each side. Above the middle flippers you should see some sort of switch. If you hit either one of those switches, one of the bumpers will light up. But the best way to make the three bumpers light up is to make the pinball hit the square that currently has the arrow right under it. If you do that, all three of the bumpers will light up.

The arrow is not always stationary. There are four dots on the screen, two at the top that are above the oval-shaped items, and two at the bottom of the screen close to the lower bumpers. Anytime the pinball goes through any of those dots, the arrow will move over a place. But that's not anything. If you want to really make the arrow move a lot, make the pinball go through that place that I called the 'mouth,' which is right below the three bumpers, or 'eyes,' that light up. The faster you make that part of the game spin, the faster the arrows and dots will move.

As far as I know, there's not any real reason to play Midnight Magic, or any other pinball game as far as that goes, other than to have fun and see how many points you can rack up. It's easy to keep track of your score in Midnight Magic because it's there in the middle of the screen, and it has six digits to it. I'll give you a cool tip which will make playing this game even more fun. If you make all three of the upper bumpers light up and then make the pinball go through either one of the loops around the oval-shaped items at the top left or top right part of the screen, the game's board will flash and then change to a different color. Not to mention that you will now get a lot more points for doing everything than you did on the previous, or orginal-colored board.

Midnight Magic might be an old game, but it's still a good one. If you like pinball video games, then I don't see why you wouldn't like Midnight Magic. It's probably the best pinball game for the Atari 2600. And yes, that's saying something because there are other good ones for the classic Atari 2600, such as Video Pinball.

GRAPHICS - For an Atari 2600 game, Midnight Magic has excellent graphics. Its graphics are colorful, well detailed (for the time), and there's even some cool effects such as when you make the screen flash and change to a different color.

SOUND - Midnight Magic also has some great sounds. There's not much music included, but when you do certain things such as start a new game, you'll hear a little bit of cool music. The sound effects are fairly standard, but they get the job done without making you want to turn the volume down.

CONTROL - As you might expect, the controls are real easy to master because all you have to do is pull back the lever to hit the pinball to begin with and then you just have to control the flippers. The controls aren't hasty or touchy, they're just right.

REPLAY VALUE - It's plain and simple. If you like pinball, and if you don't mind playing a game that is older than most other games, then you should like Midnight Magic. I know I've played it a lot since I got it in the 1980's.

OVERALL - I own Midnight Magic and Video Pinball for the Atari 2600. I like Video Pinball a little bit better than Midnight Magic, but Midnight Magic is the best game out of the two. I recommend getting this game if you get the chance. You don't need any quarters to play this one.

Rating: 9

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