Monday, June 16, 2008

Review: Pinball Hall of Fame - The Williams Collection

Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection (2007)
Developer: FarSight Studios Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Purchase Date: 06/03/2008

The camera zooms in when the ball is at the top portion of the table.
During my teenage years, I frequented the arcades almost on a daily basis. Back then, I was often curious about the big, flashy pinball tables but I always felt intimidated by them. They all looked too complex to play and they were mostly played by adults. Thus, I never touched any of those gigantic devices. Devil's Crush on the Genesis was the one game that made me fall in love with console pinball games and ever since then, I was always on the lookout for the genre's next digital revolution that led me into the purchases of games like Metroid Prime: Pinball and The Pinball of the Dead.

The virtual arcade presentation is cool.

PHoF contains the recreation of 10 Williams pinball tables released between the 1970s - 1990s. As I mentioned previously, I had never played a real pinball table so I cannot comment whether these have been faithfully translated. I don't even remember any of these "classics" during my arcade visits because I never really paid close attention to them at that point. The tables have distinctive themes ranging from those that are fantasy related (Black Knight, Sorcerer) to the sci-fi inspired creations (Firepower, Space Shuttle). I can definitely say that all of them are a lot of fun to play with. The gameplay is made sweeter by a fascinating and very detailed instruction tutorial that accompanies each table. These instructions encapsulate all the scoring system using clear visual and audio presentation and they definitely show how brilliantly these tables were actually configured. I never knew that these things have very deep gameplay elements. The game also includes a number of unlockable table features, a tournament mode, and a large amount of goals to reach.

"Sorcerer" is one of my favorites.

The table graphics look great but this game cries for a 1080p native resolution upgrade to really enjoy the exquisite art details. An online ranking could have completed the overall experience as well. It makes me wish that the game was released on X-Box Live or the PSN Store. The beeps and bumps sounded great, complete with badly compressed yet charming digital voices. The game uses both the nunchuck and the wii-mote to trigger the left and right flippers. Shaking each will also shake the pinball table to help steer the ball while risking a possible tilt. If this collection is fun to someone like me, I can only imagine its value to diehard pinball lovers out there.

RATING: 4 out of 5

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