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Video Game / Pro Pinball: Big Race USA

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"Welcome to Big Race USA! The greatest race in the world!"

Pro Pinball: Big Race USA is the third digital pinball game in the Pro Pinball series. It was released by Cunning Developments in 1998 for the IBM Personal Computer, with versions for the PlayStation and Apple Macintosh. It was also available for the Sega Dreamcast as part of "Pro Pinball Trilogy".

Unlike the dark and edgy themes of the earlier Pro Pinball games, Big Race USA goes Lighter and Softer, featuring a cartoony taxicab racing across the continental United States. In the cities, you'll get chased by police, shoot down flying saucers, and deal with gridlocks and parking garages. You can build up your speed On the Road, but watch out for challenges from other vehicles. Look for chances to make a quick getaway, and earn money to buy useful stuff at Jay's throughout the game.

The game engine is mostly the same as the one in Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, though there are more simulation controls available, allowing players to change game factors like the flipper strength, table angle, and the amount of wear on the playfield. It also has adjustable skill levels and improved graphics, such as motion blur and a subtle texture on the pinball.

"3...2...1...GO! And they're off!"

  • Alien Invasion: One of the game's City missions, in which saucers threaten to destroy parts of the city.
    • Also included is an alien that takes the second Passenger slot for Passenger Frenzy.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Subverted. There's an Air Bag that can pop up in the middle of the lower flipper area, but you'll need to earn it with the help of some Magno-Chargers.
    • On default settings, draining while On the Road will immediately take you to the City you were headed to.
    • If the score on the last ball is under 50 million points, shooting Open the Trunk and choosing the right option will always award either a four-ball Passenger Frenzy if in the City, or Police Chase Frenzy if on the Road.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Takes place during "Attack of the Creature", mid-late game further in the West. A strange creature abnormally grows to giant size and starts chasing you.
  • The Big Race: San Francisco starts this timed sub-wizard mode.
  • Cap: Done intentionally with your meter, which doesn't go over $1,000,000. When this happens, you can go to Jay's and buy the "Million Dollar Madness".
    • The Bonus X caps at 10x. Attempting to go beyond that (unless during Bonus Bonanza) lights an Extra Ball and awards 2 million points.
  • Combo: Not only do these award points, but they're also needed to get into Duels with other cars. You can even perform tricks when specific patterns of shots are made.
  • Difficulty Levels: Choose from Extra Easy, Easy, Medium, Hard, or Extra Hard. They affect the game's complexity, as easier levels omit some of the modes and spot advancement after a ball drains.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: One of the different maneuvers in a Combo pattern.
  • Hot Pursuit: Police Chase Frenzy.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the darker tables and and serious tones of The Web and Timeshock!.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Police Car says this to the Taxi after the latter loses in a Duel.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: All the Cities you arrive in say "The Home of X", X being a term related to the mode for that City.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Big Race. Because of the continuous 5-ball multiball that's going on (or less, depending on your standing throughout the Race), as well as the Air Bag staying up the whole time, completing the mode within 100 seconds is no easy feat. And you can't cross the finish line until the last 30 seconds or so of the Race. It can be especially challenging if you failed to complete any of the Duels early on, which advance your starting position. Pray that each of the four items relating to the four other cars help you win the race.
  • Player Versus Player: Big Race USA allows playing against another person over the internet.
  • Road Trip Plot
  • Secret Shop: Jay's. You can use your hard earned money to buy anything as cheap as a lottery ticket up to things that help you on your journey to the West.
    Jay: "Worth every cent."
  • Sentient Vehicle: All of the cars on the playfield and backglass have eyes in their headlights.
  • Skill Shot
    • Shooting the upper-right ramp after launching earns $5000 and the Skill Shot value.
    • Hitting the big loop and then the right ramp in a combo is a Super Skill Shot, worth double the Skill Shot and $10,000.
    • Holding both flippers for two seconds before launching activates an analog plunger; a soft launch to the upper-right flipper and shooting the upper-left ramp is a Secret Skill Shot for triple the value and $15,000.
    • Using the analog plunger, do a soft launch, then shoot the mini-loop and then the left ramp. This rewards a Super Secret Skill Shot for 5X the Skill Shot value and $25,000.
  • Shout-Out: Many of them.
    • Police Car closely resembles Darth Vader from Star Wars.
    • The Challenge sequence leading into Speedway Frenzy & Speedway Mania is the same structure that Medieval Madness used for Multiball Madness.
    • The 6 blue lights just above the flippers marking objectives to qualify the Really Big Race are similar to the Rule the Universe inserts from Attack from Mars.
    • The travelling from East to West bears heavy resemblance to Red and Ted's RoadShow.
    • The layout as a whole is this to Judge Dredd, Attack From Mars, and somewhat to Taxi.
    • Hot Rod resembles Wayne from Wayne's World.
    "It will be mine!"
    “Mama says I got magic tires. They can take me anywhere!”
    “Monster is what monster does!”
  • Shower Scene: One of the City Modes is Car Wash Calamity, in which you clean the Taxi by repeatedly hitting the Left Ramp.
  • Smart Bomb: The Nitro Boost. You can use it during a mode or multiball, but you can only have one of them at a time. Hitting it collects all flashing shots, and it can be re-enabled by hitting enough U-Turns consecutively.
  • Spelling Bonus: TRUNK raises the base Combo value and lights the "Open the Trunk" saucer, which gives an award depending on the opposing car and the dollar amount.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Usually dynamite during some of the City Modes.
  • Suddenly Shouting: The Taxi does this upon consecutive Magno-Charger activations.
  • The Taxi: The game's main protagonist.
  • Timed Mission: Most of the City Modes, as well as Speedway Mania. Also, the Speedway Challenges award more points for finishing them faster.
  • Vanity License Plate: The Taxi's front bumper license plate is labeled BRUSA.
  • Video Mode: Drive your taxi on the road, hitting or avoiding other cars, and then defeat the police car that inevitably follows. Different rewards are given based on your driving and whether anyone managed to pass you.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: One of the game's stops.
  • Wizard Mode: Along with three larger Wizard Modes, there are two sub-Wizard Modes that light an Extra Ball when completed.
    • "Speedway Mania" is awarded after playing all four versions of Speedway Frenzy. You have a minute to shoot all four of the cars for hurry-up values, increasing by 20 million for each successful hurry-up.
    • "Police Car Duel" is awarded after playing all four Duels. Unlike the other Duels, the mystery target wont spot shots during this mode, meaning your only way to defeat Police Car will be shooting the U-turn followed by the scoop, and then the Taxi.
    • "The Big Race" Wizard Mode takes place in San Francisco. Compete against the four other cars in a five-ball multiball mode; you have 100 seconds to win the race, and the only way to win is to stay ahead of the others by continuously hitting the car shots and making sure they don’t overtake you.
    • "The Really Big Race" is the Wizard Mode, and is only available by completing six separate tasks and then paying $100,000 for the entrance fee. It's a six-ball multiball that lasts for 100 seconds, and to win you must shoot each car three times, shoot the police car twice, then get into the Taxi for 500 million points and $500,000.
    • "Million Dollar Madness" is only available after reaching the meter's cap of $1,000,000. This is a ten-ball multiball mode, with everything lit for 1 million points. Complete all eighty-four lights to score one billion points.

Police Car: "Your skills are complete."