Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection is for everyone who misses the quarter eating, bumper and ball magic of pinball. From a time when gaming was more "mechanical" comes a rivial of one of the greatest Pinball producers in history, Williams. In its very own collection, Crave Entertainment and Farsight Studios challenges next-gen. gamers to step up and become the next pinball wizard.
Right from the start you have to know Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. This is a dose of fan-service for all those who love the classic game of pinball, the innovator of the arcade. Falling into this category means you will probably eat up whatever pinball action comes your way because we all know pinball games don’t come around too often. Unless you have grabbed a downloadable game or fired up Williams on the PSP, or Wii last year, its slim pickings on the next-generation consoles. So once again, Williams and Crave have stepped up to cure your pinball blues.
Plus HD upgrade, Minus $20
What is different about this year’s version over the PSP and Wii treatment from last year is that the graphics have been re-done in stunning 1080p HD. The game defiantly looks the part when you are zoomed into the tables with crystal clarity and excellent detail. Along with the sharp HD, the 2009 edition gives you online leaderboards support which is a "must have". In basics that is really about it. The HD remix will end up costing you around $20 more which is a little bit high at $39.99 CAN. Lower the price by $10 and I’m sold. It's not that $40 is bad for a videogame, however given this is a release with only bumped out graphics and one feature, its hard to justify such a leap in price.
"Spell My Name, Spell My Name"
The Williams Challenge
The options in Williams are fairly limited, but that really doesn’t matter when you get to the table of your choosing. From the main menu you can explore the arcade and freely step up to a table, or you can try your luck at the Williams Challenge from back in the main menu. The challenge puts you in a tournament where you have to beat the minimum score for each table to continue. The higher you score, the more challenge points you will earn to complete when you complete all tables.
The virtual arcade is three rooms filled with all types of arcade game with only the pinball ones being playable (what a way to tease). Moving around the rooms feels a little dated, but it’s not really a big issue. Once you find the machine you want you can play them at will. Some require tokens and others are free-play, thankfully you have a handful of tokens in your pocket when you start. To earn more tokens you simply play the games and collect more. The token machines can have events you can pull up and try and achieve and the free-play games are simply a high-score deal. A little touch the developers added each tables are the original flyers that accompanied the games when retail outfits acquired a machine. These are funny and interesting to look over and I suggest you spend sometime on the fine print.
Thirteen Tables, Three Decades
The tables are obviously from the Williams collection as it is stated in the name, and out of the collection you have access to 13 tables spanning three decades. If you’re any sort of pinball fan then some of these tables should look familiar. To date myself, I remember playing the "Funhouse" machine at my local arcade years ago. I have seen my fare share of pinball machines over the years, but I wasn’t too familiar with the majority of tables. It’s too bad the Williams Collection doesn’t include any licensed machines because they are the ones I likely played the most. With a little research I see Williams created a number of licensed games including "The Addams Family" and "Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure". Even these two tables could add some much needed familiarity and spice.
What the Williams Collection has done right is recreate the likeness of the tables with uncanny detail, right down to the dated sounds. Some of the old tables really feel and sound like they should like the classic "Jive Time", or the robotic chatter of "Black Knight". Supporting all this flair is a rock solid framerate at 60FPS that never budges even when things can great crazy... I’m looking at you “No Good Gophers”.
"The Madness That Is... No Good Gophers!"
The physics in the game fit in with the rest of the detail and feel perfect. The balls seem to have a nice weight behind then and the gravity in which they fall seems correct. It sounds silly to comment on this, but it’s a spot where other pinball games have failed. The only questionable physics I could see was the pull lever to launch your ball. It didn’t have any restraint to it, and as I remember they can sometimes be a little quirky.
Lastly, Pinball Hall of Fame is one game that can snag you some easy Trophies, or Achievements. The vast majority of points are picked up by getting a high score on each machine with a few others kicking around. These are amongst the easiest achievements in any given game and might be a good rental just on that fact alone.
The Williams Collection of Pinball tables are a fun retrospective look into the world of pinball. Fans of the silver balled game should definitely check out this collection because its one of the best, well-rounded pinball games ever made. Sure, it’s not ultra-fancy, or innovative, but considering the source material of three decades of Williams’s pinball machines and it starts to perk up. I would like to see a $10 price drop before I would recommend it to the average pinball fan, but take it how you will; FarSight and Crave have an early piece of gaming history frozen in the Pinball Hall of Fame collection. Pull back the lever, and check out Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection today.
Gameplay:8.0, Graphics:7.0, Sound:8.0, Innovation:6.0, Mojo:8.0 Final: 7.4 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 10.08.09