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Video Game / Psycho Pinball

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Because nothing says "psycho" like a circus clown.

Psycho Pinball is a pinball video game developed by Atoll Soft and published by Codemasters. It was released in 1994 in Europe and Australia for the Sega Mega Drive and IBM Personal Computers.

The "Psycho" in the title is Psycho the Armadillo, the mascot of this collection of four Digital Pinball Tables:

  • "Wild West"
  • "The Abyss"
  • "Trick or Treat"
  • "Psycho"

The playfields are presented with an overhead view, scrolling vertically to follow the ball, with a display superimposed over the action. Each table also offered multiball and various Video Mode minigames for skilled players, along with several difficulty levels.

The first three tables are oversized "multitables", with extra flippers to facilitate playing the upper areas. While they could be played on their own, "Psycho" was only available in the "Multi-Table Game"; in that mode, the ball starts on the "Psycho" table, but by activating certain jumpers and then launching it into a circus tent, would be transported to the other tables, and returned after draining.

Psycho Pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: "Psycho" has a pair of pink elephants prancing near the bottom of the table, while "The Abyss" has pink octopi and a large pink whale.
  • Amusement Park: "Psycho" takes place in one, complete with thrill rides, clowns, and attraction tents (that lead to the other tables).
  • Bank Robbery: The Wild West naturally features one of these.
  • Button Mashing: Done in the "Strong Arm" Mini-Game of the DOS version.
  • Cap: The score display rolls over after 999,999,999 points, requiring players to track the number of billions manually.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: "The Abyss" has an underwater volcano that erupts to shoot the pinball up the playfield.
  • Evil Redhead: The witch of "Trick or Treat" has a thick head of (unkempt) red hair.
  • Eye of Newt: In "Trick or Treat" you have to collect six ingredients (including TAIL of Newt) to activate “magic mayhem”.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: When you lose the ball during the Wild West table on the Mega Drive version the scene seems to depict your typical sunset, look to the right, notice something with a very familiar nose dangling from a rope and swaying in the breeze?!?
  • Flying Broomstick: A witch flying on a broomstick can be seen silhouetted against the moon in "Trick or Treat". Spelling CAT activates a part of the table that features a flying broom, and grants you more and more points every time you manage to shoot it.
  • Haunted House: One appears on the "Trick or Treat" table as an elevated playfield.
  • Human Cannon Ball: or Armadillo Cannonball; in "Psycho", whenever you shoot the Splash tent, the ball is launched back onto the table with great force while the screen below depicts Psycho getting fired out of a cannon.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Psycho, who's almost never seen without a smirk.
  • Mini-Game: In addition to the Video Modes, "Wild West", "Trick or Treat", "The Abyss", and "Psycho" have full-screen minigames, but they differ according to the platform.
    • In the Mega Drive version:
      • "Wild West" has "Runaway Train", where Psycho has to run across the top to reach the locomotive, dodging various obstacles.
      • "The Abyss" has "Whale's Belly", with Psycho jumping across floating rings to throw crabs at the whales' ulcers.
      • "Psycho" offers "Moonsquares", where Psycho must travel from one rocket to another across a set of disappearing platforms.
    • In the DOS version:
      • "Trick or Treat" features "Escape the Crypt", where you have to memorize a pattern in which four coffins open and close, and then repeat it, and "Spook Shoot", a game where you have to shoot ghosts that appear either left, middle or right of the screen.
      • "Wild West" has "Dodge the Express", where Psycho must avoid a series of oncoming trains, and the casino which features either "Black Jack" or "Big Deal" (a higher-or-lower card game).
      • "The Abyss" features "Blubber Belly", where the player stops a selector for a random prize, and "Fast Fishing", a game that involves catching fish.
      • "Psycho" has "Strong Arm", with Psycho arm-wrestling a circus strongman.
  • Non-Indicative Name: You'll be forgiven if you were expecting Psycho Pinball to be an edgier, adult-oriented game than what it actually is.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Seen on the "Psycho" table.
  • Numerical Hard: Harder difficulty modes started you with fewer free markers and letters, requiring more shots to activate features. On "Psycho", for instance, the easier modes spotted you one or two of the lights needed to activate each table's warp tent.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Spelling Bonus: Each table has numerous spelling bonuses, such as C-A-T, S-P-O-O-K, and G-H-O-U-L for "Trick or Treat", R-E-W-A-R-D, G-U-N, and E-N-G-I-N-E on "Wild West", and W-R-E-C-K, L-A-V-A (at least it should be, but it always looks more like L-A-U-A - compare against the V of V-E-N-T-S), and T-A-I-L in "The Abyss".
  • Swallowed Whole/Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The "Whale's Belly" Mini-Game; Psycho escapes by throwing crabs at the whale's ulcers.
  • Traintop Battle: Done in "Runaway Train", the "Wild West" Video Mode in the Mega Drive version.
  • Under the Sea: "The Abyss" table takes place entirely underwater.
  • Video Mode: In addition to the full-screen Mini Games, each table has a Video Mode:
    • In "Wild West," the player plays a simple game of blackjack (or, alternately, an even simpler game of hi-lo).
    • "Trick Or Treat" has "Spook Shoot", where the player has to hit 20 ghosts which pop up in three pre-defined positions.
    • "The Abyss" has "Fast Fishing", where the player must time button presses to catch fish swimming by a hook.
    • "Psycho" has a shell game where the player must track the letter "P" under three moving cups.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Wild West has one of Psycho the Armadillo, with the letters REWARD above his picture and the value of the jackpot below.
  • Wicked Witch: The witch of "Trick or Treat", complete with large nose, missing teeth, and a pointy black hat.
  • The Wild West: "Wild West" takes place in The Theme Park Version of this, complete with a bank, jail, rodeo, and nearby gold mine.