Epic Pinball Shareware was widely distributed in the mid 1990's and consisted of a single table named Android (although the playfield art reads Super Android in versions after 1.1). The Android table was arguably the most complete and entertaining table in the Epic Pinball series. As was often the case at the time, the authors released the best they had as shareware and heavily promoted the full game. The shareware version contained many well-known cheat codes and several mostly unhelpful glitches. The general difficulty of the game and the excellent graphics and sound gave the game a very high replayability factor for being a free-as-in-lunch game. The game still holds a lot of nostalgia for many PC users of the time.
Shareware version 2.1 of Epic Pinball found at the excellent http://www.classicdosgames.com
site on the Epic Pinball page
(and also mirrored here
The physics simulation used in the Epic Pinball series has some unusual characteristics.
- The balls themselves seem to have an internal energy - if you trap and hold a ball with the flipper the ball will continue to move on its own, slowly rolling up the inlane and then back onto the flipper before repeating ad nauseum.
- Momentum is not properly calculated when the ball collides with objects at high speeds which is primarily visible when the ball is bouncing back and forth between the slingshots as the ball's speed can suddenly drop significantly.
- The ball sometimes comes to a dead stop when nearing the apex of a ramp, typically when another ball is at or above the same level on the playfield.
- When the ball is on or near the flipper and the flipper is triggered the ball's resulting velocity (literally speed and direction) is artificially limited to a small subset of possibilities. This above all else is the most limiting restriction in a TAS as a shot that seems like it would be possible, well, isn't. This is especially limiting when aiming for the far left Testing sinkhole, the left lane, and the far right Physical Systems sinkhole.
- The drop target collision detection is very poor. If the ball is at all traveling quickly the shot will not register making it very hard to hit them successfully.
- Balls frequently get stuck and copied in various different sinkholes meaning the next shot to that sinkhole doesn't take, although it does clear the copied ball out of the hole.
- If an exit sinkhole (such as the Power sinkhole which is the exit for the testing sinkhole) has a copied ball in it the next shot to the entrance sinkhole will not register.
- Occasionally shots fired at a sinkhole are immediately fired back out without registering even when there's no ball stuck in the sinkhole. This annoying behavior along with the stuck ball characteristic is very noticeable when playing normally outside of a TAS and can be very frustrating as there really isn't a great way to avoid it.
- If a ball is transitioning from one sinkhole to another and another ball on the playfield is at the same height or higher the first ball may drop out of the sinkhole and fall completely off of the table.
- If multiball is in progress when a second multiball is started all balls in play may be instantly transported to the plunger lane and auto-fired; this may be a feature but it looks very unnatural.
- When starting multiball the view may get stuck at the bottom of the playfield; this can be cleared by showing the score and then re-hiding it.
Completing AI: There are two major tasks to complete. The first is bringing up the Artificial Intelligence system and the second is bringing up the Physical System. The AI system is started by shooting the right ramp to link the computer to the android and then shooting the left ramp which prints text on the screen telling the player what action to perform to install the next AI. The instructions usually boil down to "hit all ramps" or "hit all sinkholes". Installing the final AI scores the super jackpot and brings the android to life which scores 100M points.
Completing Physical Systems: The Physical Systems sinkhole is on the far lower right side of the playfield and is enabled by dropping all three of the targets on the left side of the playfield. A two ball multiball is started when some of the physical systems are completed such as the right arm. A three ball multiball starts when the final Physical System, the Torso, is completed.
- Power Up value: This is the center sinkhole. 10M is awarded when the power is Maxed out.
- Bumper value: This is accomplished by hitting the left lane which activates the center ramp which subsequently raises the value of the pop bumpers.
- Android millions: This is accomplished by lighting up the red and white circle placed above the left slingshot by rolling over it and then shooting the left ramp. This maxes out at 9 million per shot. This is the shot that usually has balls drop out of it although it isn't the only place it can happen.
- Bonus multiplier: This is accomplished by completing the four rollovers above the pop bumpers and maxes out at 5x.
- Physical Systems tests: This can be done for each physical system up to level 5.