Video Game: 3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride

"Ride the—" ...woops, wrong game.

3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride is a Digital Pinball game developed by Dynamix and published by Sierra for the Apple Macintosh and IBM Personal Computer. Based on the Real Life Hersheypark Theme Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the game requires the player to perform various ride related-tasks to score points, and ultimately try to stay through the night.

Most of the action takes place with the various Fun Zone puzzles on the primary table, but making key shots will open additional areas and events. Go on real-life rides like the Wildcat, the Coal Cracker, and the Wave Swinger, then warp over to the Thrill Zone mini-playfield for additional challenges. Visit the snack shop for bonuses and prizes, clear the rapids, and try to stick around long enough for Lights Out, and a chance to see the Nighttime Fantasy fireworks show.

Unlike earlier games in the series, Thrill Ride edges back to a more conventional pinball feel, de-emphasizing the overall quest in favor of simply getting a high score, making the game more accessible for casual players. The updated graphics engine supported resolutions up to 800 x 600 and High-Color displays, delivering great special effects and realistic graphics. The downside is its replayability; with only one main table and a few mini-games, there isn't much replay value, and most players will see everything the game has to offer in a few hours.

A version of this game was developed for the Nintendo Game Boy Color, but bears no resemblance to the original aside from the name and general premise.

3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride contains examples of:

  • Amusement Park/Theme Park
  • Excuse Plot
  • In Name Only: The Game Boy Color version of the game, which is played from a scrolling overhead perspective and changes many of the rules to accommodate the platform. On its own, however, it's regarded as a rather good game despite the lack of semblance to the original.
  • Large Ham Announcer: Whenever the male announcer says THRILL ZONE!
  • Licensed Pinball Table:
    • Technically, Thrill Ride is a licensed game based on Hersheypark, but the connection is heavily downplayed and feels more like Product Placement instead — most references are limited to a few cartoon characters based on Hershey products on the display, and an optional pre-game video about the theme park.
    • Product Placement: Played straight with the various rides in the game, which are based on ones at the Real Life Hersheypark.
  • No Fair Cheating: Typing in a cheat code will display a message saying that you won't be able to get into the high scores for that game.
  • Skill Shot: Two, one into the snack shop, the other up the corkscrew coaster.
  • Spelling Bonus: Spell T-H-R-I-L-L-R-I-D-E to collect enough Thrill Points to start Nighttime Fantasy, which when finished lights up a pinwheel light to go towards Lights Out Mode.
  • The Theme Park Version: Literally, entire premise of the game
  • Very Loosely Based On A True Theme Park
  • Wizard Mode: Available after complete the game's six trials — finish all five Fun Zone puzzles, complete five Thrill Zone puzzles, spell THRILLRIDE, activate both multiballs, and play "Hershey's Hide and Seek" from the Snack Bar. This activates "Lights Out", where the player must hit all the light bulbs on the playfield to put them out. Successfully doing so starts "Nighttime Fantasy", a multiball frenzy accompanied by a gorgeous fireworks display.