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Video Game / Pro Pinball: Timeshock!

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"Don't they have pinball in your time?"

"I do not know exactly what time you presently inhabit, so I cannot tell in what dark age of pre-science you dwell, but you probably don't even know that time is crystalline.
It flows from the future and crystallises at the door of the present. The future is fluid and changeable. The past is solid and cannot be altered.
But it can be shattered. And my work on the fluid future threatens to destroy the solid past.
I have created - God help us - a shock wave of anti-time which is travelling back to the dawn of history. The wave has nearly reached your time already.
We must return to the beginning of time and bring together the crystal fragments from the future to create a counter-shock wave. My time machine is crude - the best I could do in the circumstances - but it needs two to pilot and navigate. My co-pilot has...gone, and I am stuck in this time.
My past has gone already, but if we succeed, we can save your past...and your future."

Pro Pinball: Timeshock! is the second pinball game in the Pro Pinball series. Created by Cunning Developments, it was released in 1997 for the IBM Personal Computer, then subsequently ported to the Apple Macintosh and PlayStation. It is also available for the Sega Dreamcast as part of Pro Pinball Trilogy.

Timeshock! tells the story of a time-traveling scientist who is out to stop a shockwave of anti-time from traveling backwards through time and destroying all of existence. The player must explore the continents to find Tachyonium to power the timedrive, then visit different eras for fragments of a time crystal. Locate and lock a fragment in each era, and pick up any interesting souvenirs along the way. The goal is to ultimately gather and lock four fragments, then travel to the Dawn of Time and create a second shockwave to nullify the first one.

As with the other Pro Pinball titles, Timeshock! features a pre-rendered playfield with several camera positions, allowing the game to offer detailed graphics and fast gameplay. It used a refined version of the game engine from The Web, allowing for even smoother gameplay and more realistic ball physics. As a result, Timeshock! is considered by many as the best game in the Pro Pinball series, both for its complex ruleset and clever use of the time-travel premise.

Silver Castle Pinball is currently making a Physical Pinball Table of this game. The project has been ongoing for a couple of years, due to problems during conversion that don't replicate the original design, as well as other problems that needed resolved. The physical cabinet will feature new artwork and tweaks to certain shots that might have been harder to shoot for otherwise. There is no release date as of yet, but it is in the prototyping phase of development.

Pro Pinball: Timeshock! demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Ancient Rome: One of the eras the player can visit.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Literally - one of the Quickshot souvenirs is a Tyrian toga.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Magno-Save and Ball Saver. Certain awards can add to their usefulness.
  • Antimatter: One of the souvenirs in the Distant Future, as a battery. The Anti-Matter Plant in Antartica. Dodge their attacks and fire at the plant to grab the Tachyonium located there.
  • Apocalypse How: The game is all about avoiding a Class Z event.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Tachyonium, the material that allows time travel.
  • Atlantis: Accessible after lighting all seven continents, and needed to start Global Domination.
  • The Big Race: The Chariot Race in Europe, Ancient Rome. Pass through (or ram into) 3 charioteers to win the mode.
    "Eat your heart out, Ben-Hur."
  • Cap: The Ultra Jackpot caps at 500 million points.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: Featured at Mount Rushmore in North America, The Present. The protagonist does this in an attempt to collect a piece of Tachyonium. Shoot the three ramps to scale the landmark, then a spinner shot to finish the mode.
  • Combos: Two sequences. One gives benefits, such as enabling Time Drive and lighting all Locks, while the other is more coincidental, rewarding only 10 million points and a cool animation.
    Ultra combo...
  • Continuing is Painful: Any balls that weren’t locked during Timeshock! Frenzy are lost, and they need to be re-locked in each Time Zone in order to go back to the Dawn of Time.
  • The creation of the counter-shock wave at the end of Timeshock! Frenzy, which is followed by the credits sequence.
  • Difficulty Levels: In addition to the normal game, Timeshock! has "Tournament Mode" (all random elements and extra balls are eliminated), "Challenge Mode" (competitive multiplayer with separate scores but a common game), and "Novice Mode" (one ball, a two-minute ball saver, and all empty continents are awarded initially).
  • Easter Egg: Midnight Madness. Don't expect it to play similarly to Williams' pinball machines. Good luck finding it in a Super Scanner.[1]
  • Fictional Video Game: One of the souvenirs in the Distant Future is a Red Knight 3000.
  • Fixed Camera: Like with all other Pro Pinball games, Timeshock utilizes pre-rendering for its graphics and provides different fixed viewpoints.
  • Hologram: One of the Souvenirs that can be collected in the Distant Future.
  • Hover Board: Another of the Souvenirs in the Distant Future.
  • Mind Screw: Reverse Frenzy, acquired by completing the left side of awards the second time over, is a multiball mode that swaps the flipper buttons. Fortunately, a lengthy ball saver is given to compensate. Complete all of the seven main shots to light an Extra Ball. Even worse, the upper flipper remains unswapped. Good luck finding that right orbit shot.
  • Place Beyond Time: The End of Time, only available as a prelude to starting Wizard Frenzy.
  • Primordial Chaos: The Dawn of Time is seen as this on the DMD during Timeshock Frenzy.
  • Ray Gun: One of the collectible Souvenirs in the Distant Future.
  • Robot War: Featured in South America, The Distant Future. Hit the drop targets to damage the robot, but avoid the ramps and orbits.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong/Time Travel: The main goal is to create a Timeshock at the Dawn of Time to counter a shockwave created in the Future.
  • Skill Shot:
    • Shoot the lit ramp or lane at launch for a 5 million point bonus, adding 1 million each time it's made.
    • Press both flipper buttons for a second before launch to activate the Secret Skill Shot, which is scored by hitting the letter "A" in MAGNET.
  • Spectacular Spinning: The crystal, as it rotates on some occasions.
  • Spelling Bonus: SCAN for the time scanner, WARP to light Time Warp Frenzy, and MAGNET to turn on the MagnoSave.
  • Take Over the World: Global Domination, where the player has one minute to light all the continents for massive bonuses.
  • The Maze: Played with at the Pyramid in Africa, Ancient Rome. After lowering the elevator, almost all shots are lit to explore the Pyramid. Most rooms contain nothing, but the final shot ensures a piece of Tachyonium.
  • Time Crash: The main goal of the game is to avoid one.
  • Time Machine: Featured prominently around the game, as a spherical body and a hover pad on each of the two sides. Capable of flying across Earth, outer space, and time travel.
  • Timed Mission: Several of the Explorations, the Quickshots, and both Wizard Modes. If you fail at collecting a crystal fragment when Time Machine Frenzy ends, you have 15 seconds before it disappears and have to lock all 3 balls to have another chance at it.
  • Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: Certain souvenirs in the game can be combined to yield special awards, such as using a papyrus scroll and the first wheel to activate the Ultra Spinner. The game will give an audio hint when this happens; spell S-C-A-N to light the scanner, then shoot the middle scoop to activate it and get the award.
  • Updated Re-release: The ULTRA Edition, with advanced lighting effects and graphics.
  • Video Mode: Maneuver your craft down a pipe, dodging mines and collecting awards. Achieving a perfect run doubles the score for that session.
    • Later Video Modes can also award Extra Balls for perfect runs.
  • Volcano Lair: Featured in Asia, The Prehistoric Age. Here, one must gather water and cool the volcano. Enough times can allow for entry into the Volcano and collect a piece of Tachyonium.
  • Wizard Mode:
    • "Timeshock! Frenzy" is the game's sub-Wizard Mode, available after locking all four crystal fragments and heading to the Dawn of Time. This is a five-ball Multiball that lasts for two minutes. Both orbits and ramps strobe to light a fragment for re-locking; make any flashing shot, then shoot a crystal fragment (ball) into the playfield's center crystal to lock it. This must be repeated four times, once for each fragment. Once all four are re-locked, shoot the middle scoop to launch the counter-shockwave and score 1 billion points. The player completing it fastest is recognized as the "Master of Time".
    • The final Wizard Mode is "Wizard Frenzy", which is only available if you manage to complete Timeshock Frenzy and save reality, and have all eight pieces of Tachyonium. This enables you to go to The End of Time and start a six-ball Multiball mode that lasts for one minute.