IF you think that bumpers are only to be found on cars, that tilt is a tropical soft drink and flipper is a dolphin, then this game may not be for you. If all this jargon means something to you, then you probably had - or are still having - a wasted childhood.
The first thing that really strikes you about Time scanner is that the ball is not silver, but green. Aside from that the table closely resembles the kind you may find in any decent arcade.
If you are wondering how it manages to fit a decent sized table into one screen, then wonder no more. It does not. Instead the screen flips between the top half and the bottom.
You may also notice a small hole near the top of the table labelled Time Tunnel. Activating this will send you to the next in a sequence of tables. Yes, not only is this a multiple-ball game but also a multiple-table game, a mechanical nightmare not even Klaus Kinski could have dreamt of.
The first level is called Volcano. The objective here is to spot - or light-up, for non-enthusiasts - all the letters in the word "volcano" by getting the ball to hit a target at the end of a glass tube. Every spotted letter treats you to a piece of animated trickery as the volcano in the background gobs out some lava.
The second level is Ruins, the object here being to fire all your balls down the collect hole for a multiple ball finale.
The third play area is called Pyramid and features some funky Egyptian-style background music. The aim is once again to spot the letters, but this time by hitting the relevant targets.
There is an undocumented table that can only be played once you have successfully spotted all the letters on the other three. I will say no more because it is secret.
A worrying thought is that Time scanner requires one megabyte, a fact which the packaging and adverts fail to mention. I can think of few things worse than spending cash on something only to find out you cannot use it. Perhaps this was an oversight on Activision's part. I hope it was nothing more sinister.
Graphically the game is quite pleasing and the theme tunes are pretty good. But there is something missing. I think it is the physical element. There is no room to vent your frustration on the machine, no room for latent telekinetic powers to manifest themselves. The real thrill of pinball is that it is physical. Computerising it can only detract from that. Nice try though.