Quick playing 3D Realms Anthology Steam Edition – Balls of Steel

On May 5th 2015 a large dump of old 3D Realms games unleashed on Steam as a bundle dubbed 3D Realms Anthology – Steam Edition. Now, trying to review the package as a whole would take a very long time, since there are 32 games in this collection and playing through each of them to completion would take a few weeks of my time, plus, the people that know these titles don’t need much explaining about what exactly these games are. What the release means is that finally all these old relics of years past can be played on current machines without any hassle – a simple click on the game in the Steam catalogue and you’re on your way playing old video games.

After experiencing the fun, but wonky, emulated version of Wacky Wheels that is included in this bundle, I decided to go completely in the opposite direction and check out the amusingly titled Balls of Steel, a line that is famously said by Duke Nukem in Duke Nukem 3D. Balls of Steel is one of the newer included video games in the pack. Well, when I say newer, what I really mean is that it was released in December 1997, making the title over 17 and a half years old. This also shows through how it works on modern PCs, as it opens up within Windows without any emulator implemented with it, while playing without a hitch. The only issue is that you can not minimise the game,  meaning full screen is the only option, blowing up the graphics to whatever the resolution your desktop is. It actually still looks great in its own way, thanks to the use of 2D assets, and ageing hasn’t dampened its rendered sprites, which includes the shiny steel ball and its decently implemented physics.


Five tables are included in Balls of Steel, which cover a range of themes from Sci-fi, Medieval, U.S. Police, Laboratory and a very special table that stands out from the rest, a Duke Nukem theme that uses the sounds and one liners from Duke Nukem 3D, making for a nostalgic and amusing play. The layout of the flippers is similar across all five tables, as it’s the bonuses, point targets and on-screen display mini-games that alter how you target for the big points. There are some features missing that you would expect to be in a pinball game, such as the ability to alter the power of the plunger that launches the ball or feedback from rocking the table to try alter the path of the ball, because as it stands in the game, it’s hard to see a nudge on the table.

It’s not the best pinball game going, which you would expect after so much time has passed, but it sure is a blast to play, and is one of the best inclusions in the bundle.

Check out the video below (there was some issue with recording the game, due to its age, so it has a slight zoomed in effect that isn’t representative of the actual display you see) showing all five pinball tables in Balls of Steel, another title that I had never played before until now. Balls of Steel comes bundled in the 3D Realms Anthology – Steam Edition, currently on sale for £29.99