This is Digital Pinball, from Kaze. While Kaze is still around, they've been relegated to has-been status. Most of their new releases are crappy pinball games for Japanese cellphones. I downloaded most of them, hoping to find they retained a spark of brilliance, but... Nothing.
They started with SNES games, then Last Gladiators for Sega's Saturn, and then Necronomicon, also for Saturn. Everything before and after Necronomicon has been total crap, compromised in one way or another. Akira Psychoball, released on PS2, would have been great, with incredibly innovative table design, but it was crippled by horrible bonus stages and unskippable video segments ripped from the Akira movie. Their PS1 Power Rangers game was too easy, and relied on too many gimmick tables.
Necronomicon... Pure brilliance. Based loosely on the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, each table features a kind of gothic horror theme. Kaze were obviously passionate about pinball: the manual is full of translated-from-English pinball terms, the physics are nearly perfect, and for simple-looking tables there's no shortage of play variety.
The game features an in-game help system detailing every aspect of the tables. Kaze also released a Japanese-only guide to both Necronomicon and Last Gladiators. I've put together a pretty comprehensive guide as well.
Necronomicon offers 3 tables: Arkham Asylum, Cult of the Bloody Tongue, and Dreamlands. Each offers a variety of rounds, a different soundtrack and table-specific sounds.
The sound in this game is second to none. It is one of the few games that really shows off the Saturn's sound chip, with high bit-rate samples throughout. Every target makes a different noise, and when you light up a multiball round you're treated to audio bliss as targets ring out continuously.
I'm not a pinball fan. Or at least, I wasn't until I played this game. No other video pinball game matches the sheer thrill of Necronomicon, and despite seeking and trying out some 40 other titles I always come back to this one.
Cult of the Bloody Tongue