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Balls of Steel is a pinball computer game developed by Wildfire Studios and released on December 12, 1997. It is the only title to be published under the Pinball Wizards label, a division of Apogee Software (today known as 3D Realms).
The game's realistic physics and highly interactive and imaginative tables have been lauded.
When the game was originally released, it was possible to upload high scores to the WorldScores server, for a global ranking. This feature has since been discontinued.
Balls of Steel features five original pinball tables:
- Darkside: Set on a remote space station under attack by alien creatures, missions include fighting bugs which appear on the table, and a "super-cannon" mode in which players can shoot at eggs with a cannon that pops up out of the table.
- Barbarian: A classic medieval fantasy quest with a huge dragon on the table. Missions include collecting the four elements, collecting the five gemstones, and fighting the citadel guards with magnetic axes.
- Firestorm: Set in a crime-ridden US city, a mad bomber is on the loose. Missions revolve around defusing bombs and rescuing people from various locations around the city.
- Mutation: Set in an underground science lab where a bio-hazardous accident has occurred and a large, slimy monster has taken over the lab. Missions involve subduing the beast and containing toxins.
- Duke Nukem: A special table featuring the Apogee video game character Duke Nukem. Missions include Nukem monsters and powerups. (See below.)
A sixth table, Devil's Island, was dropped from the game when Wildfire was given the opportunity by Apogee to include a Duke Nukem table. Devil's Island was later released as a standalone game.
Duke Nukem tie-ins
The game includes a table based on the Apogee/3D Realms video game Duke Nukem 3D, including graphics from that game and original voice-overs by Nukem actor Jon St. John. Pinball missions include fighting monsters like octabrains and pig-cops, and using powerups such as jetpacks and the Holoduke, from the Duke Nukem 3D video game.
Graphics of a pinball game named Balls of Steel appear in Duke Nukem 3D itself, in the first level, "Hollywood Holocaust", when Duke encounters the table.