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Back to Space Station info page

Review: James Greenhalgh on 12/06/2004

station
I currently own two of these machines - to cut a long story short I like the game and just after buying one, I was offered another in incredible condition. The other is now for sale..

Space Station has a fairly open and simple layout, with a few things of note - firstly there are no inlanes, the slingshots lead directly to the flippers, which can make ball catching fairly tricky, as you catch the ball with a held flipper, it rolls back, up onto the slingshot and flies away again. Secondly the Space Station covers a rotating ball diverter and a couple of transport lanes and tubes. It can be fed in 2 ways, up the ramp or around the left orbit. Shooting the ball under it takes it back up to the blue plastic playfield over the pop bumper area.

As for aesthetics, it has nice clean side art, and some nice space themed playfield art. The translite shows a space station, and has 6 holes cut into it, which line up with backbox bulbs simulating lights rotating around it's edge (I've yet to see this happen during play, only attract). The sound and music is of the usual excellent Brian Schmidt style, although you couldn't call it catchy - it's relaxed space tunes, lots of tinkly sound effects. They suit the game perfectly but if you're into lively tunes you might be disappointed.

The gameplay is pretty fast, not unusual for an open playfield and it's definitely a good game for learning to aim shots, as there are two sets of 7 targets that must be lit to score the the lit STATION or SHUTTLE award (changed by hitting the target to the right of the ramp). This leads to a certain amount of tactical play as you might need to miss a few targets and find time to change the award before hitting the final letter. I'm not sure multiball is worth going for as a scoring method (I may be wrong!), it's started by 'docking' balls in the left and right locks. The diverter can add an interesting angle here as it's possible to end up sending a second ball to one lock, causing the original to be ejected. When the third ball hits the left orbit saucer, all three are ejected and multiball starts, during which you need to redock the balls to complete a rescue mission. The nicest part of this is the general illumination. On the playfield next to each GI bulb is a green covered bulb, and during multiball a relay switches the circuits, bathing the playfield in green light - which looks amazing! After the last ball has drained, if active you are given infinite balls during a timed period to grab some extra score, and towards the end the machine announces the countdown - nice.

My overall opinion of the game is good, it's nice and relaxing to play and attractive to look at. It doesn't have the complexity of some other games however, and it's not generally speaking a popular game. The lack of inlanes can seem a little unfair when the slingshots see fit to throw the ball down them, but to be fair it's not overly common and the left outlane does have a relightable kickback.