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Issue Date: Vol. 41, No. 5 / May 25, 2001 - June 24, 2001, Posted On: 5/25/2001

SPI Uses All The Bells And Whistles In Action-Packed 'Austin Powers' Pinball

Marcus Webb

MELROSE PARK, IL - New from Stern Pinball Inc. is "Austin Powers" pinball, based on the comedy film series from New Line Cinema. The flipper title is shipping to SPI's European distributors, and will be available in the U.S. in mid-June.

The "Austin Powers" pinball machine incorporates themes of two movies about the time-traveling 1960s British spy, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, released in 1997, and the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me 1999 sequel. Adding to the motif, the game features lots of familiar speech from both hit movies, particularly from the Austin Powers and Dr. Evil characters played by Mike Myers. And SPI cautiously included programming that enables operators to select "adult" or "family" modes.

According to SPI president Gary Stern, "Austin Powers" incorporates play features that are easily understood and achievable, along with more difficult objectives for moderate and advanced players. The same dual-player-type design was successfully used for the company's preceding title, "High Roller Casino."

Gameplay revolves around seven playfield features adapted from the films. There's a Mini-Me target positioned at the entrance to the left loop that spins when hit. Located to the right is the Evil Henchman. The Austin Powers Man of Mystery Scoop features a figurine of Austin Powers that rotates.

The playfield layout is replete with ramps that quickly move the ball to different areas. The Fat Bastard shot drops the ball into a toilet, resulting in multi-ball play. The Laser Beam, Time Machine and Subterranean Drill correspond to the left, center and right ramps, respectively. When balls are fed into the Laser Beam from the left ramp, a laser cannon swings out to aim up the playfield; players can fire the ball in this mode. The short center ramp drops the ball into a pinball-sized hole, which sends the ball toward the spinning Mini Me target.

"I put all the bells and whistles on this game," said SPI's John Borg, the game's lead designer. "I'm expecting it to be a very strong pinball."

In addition to the main playfield features, the new pinball has plenty of drop targets, rollover lanes and pop bumpers. A manual plunger launches the ball to begin play, while an automatic launcher starts multi-ball play.

Game play is mode based: completing major shots several times begins a mode related to that shot. Players strive to spell S-H-A-G by collecting the letters from in/out lanes. There are several ways to initiate bonus multipliers.

Bright, colorful artwork consisting of flowers, kaleidoscopic swirls and British flags enhances the cabinet.

"The formula of two great movies along with a beautiful art package, outstanding sound and cool toys on the playfield combine for great fun," Stern said. The SPI president added that the tentative 2002 summer release of a third "Austin Powers" movie should increase the game's earnings.

Stern Pinball Inc. is based at 2020 Janice Avenue, Melrose Park, IL 60160; tel. (708) 345-7700.

Topic: Music and Games Features

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