Giant Bomb Review

30 Comments

Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection Review

4
  • X360

Eagle-eyes will notice a few rough spots, but there's enough good, solid virtual pinball here to keep players satisfied.

The Williams name has appeared on some of the world's finest pinball tables, and a handful of Williams machines have been virtualized and compiled here in Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection. The pinball physics are pretty sharp, and the real-life tables included here are faithfully re-created. While there are certainly some other, better tables that could have been included, there's plenty in this budget-priced collection to keep fans of digital pinball going.

Let's start with a quick list of what, exactly, is contained in this package.

Fun fact: The voice of Rudy (Funhouse) was supplied by Mortal Kombat's Ed Boon. 
  • Medieval Madness
  • Whirlwind
  • Taxi
  • Pin*Bot
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights
  • Sorcerer
  • Jive Time
  • Firepower
  • No Good Gofers
  • Black Knight
  • Funhouse
  • Space Shuttle
  • Gorgar

It's a pretty hefty list with some heavy hitters that span the different eras of pinball. Medieval Madness represents one of the last great hurrahs for mainstream pinball, while stuff like Pin*Bot and Black Knight sum up the 1980s pretty well. There are definitely some heavy omissions that I'd consider to be "hall of fame" worthy, like High Speed and F-14 Tomcat, but the spread here is pretty good.

The game's main menu is a virtual arcade, which is totally needless and makes moving from one game to the next take longer than it should. 
These re-created and emulated pinball tables are also pretty good. There are a few spots where I wish the art was higher-resolution, and I found myself having to fiddle with the game's camera options a lot to find the right setting for each table, but they play properly and feel like they should. Though there was one weird case where the ball somehow broke out of the pinball machine and flew off the screen. The error was quickly noticed by the game, which spawned a new ball so that play could continue. But still, that... probably shouldn't happen.

On the surface, the main goal is to just play these various tables for high scores. Each table keeps its own set of high scores, and you can view online leaderboards, as well. If you dig a bit deeper, each table has a set of goals for you to attempt to accomplish. The Xbox 360 version's achievements are tied to these table goals. There are two sets of five goals for each table, and the second "wizard" set doesn't unlock until you complete the basic set. This can get a little annoying if you're having a good early run on a game. There were multiple occasions where I satisfied all of the basic goals on my first play, and I would have achieved some of the wizard goals, as well, but they don't open up until your game ends.

You don't need me to tell you that digital pinball isn't for everyone. And Pinball Hall of Fame isn't a perfect re-creation of the original tables. But if you're already into playing pinball on a TV, the variety of tables and the bargain price makes Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection a solid addition to your library. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
30 Comments
Edited by damnboyadvance

Wow. This game out like, over a year ago. Way to go back and review the game Jeff!
 
Also, first comment!

Posted by Bigandtasty

Digital pinball? I have a hard time picturing myself paying for that (though I have been known to partake in that pinball game that came with Windows on occasion). Sounds decent for pinball enthusiasts though.

Posted by wrecks

Rockin' good news! 

Posted by erinfizz
@damnboyadvance: 
 
 This game was out for the Wii/PS2/PSP in February 2008, the PS3 and 360 versions just came out this week. 
 
I enjoy this on the PS2, but I'm likely not going to buy it again.
Posted by EndrzGame

Good to hear this is a solid title. I'm an old pinball nut and will be getting this for Black Knight alone. The other games are just gravy.

Posted by addictedtopinescent

I didn't know a review of this was coming 
Anyhow, solid game I picked up for 15$ at my local wal mart

Posted by thecleric

Man
 
The virtual arcade is the best part, Jeff. ITS A PINBALL SIM

Posted by Artemis_D

Brendan Sinclair is extremely happy somewhere, right now.

Posted by Jayzilla

As always, mad props to the Gerstmann.

Posted by Diamond

I love the game on Wii, but I'm so on edge about rebuying it for 360.  I may still do it...
 
Best pinball game ever, IMO.  It just feels so right.

Posted by BranDong
@damnboyadvance said:
" Wow. This game out like, over a year ago. Way to go back and review the game Jeff!  Also, first comment! "
this game was released September 22nd 2009 for the XBOX 360 and has a few more tables than the Wii version.  It's an awesome pinball simulation.. looks like the guys from visual pinball/PINMAME made these tables.  I've only come across one thing driving me nuts in it... on the Tales of the Arabian Nights table it seems impossible to get the HAREM multiball to work.  I've been trying to get this achievement to no avail. And the sad part is they put that under the basic goals list.
Edited by Crono

I was recently up in Pennsylvania and while there I went to an amusement park named "Knoebels" and they had an arcade there with a few pinball machines in good working order.  I ended up spending about 10 dollars on the machines because I was having so much fun on them.  Played Theater of Magic and Lord of the Rings.  Theater of Magic was a quarter muncher, Lord of the Rings gave me quite a few free plays.  It was a lot of fun and now I stop and play a pinball machine if I see one somewhere (which is becoming increasingly rare unfortunately).  All of that said, I just can't imagine pinball being quite as fun and thrilling in video game format.
 
Hopefully one day I will be able to own my own.  I would love to get this one in particular:
http://www.bossyman15.com/gallery/ca08pic/simpsons%20pinball%20party.JPG

Posted by megalowho

I don't think I'd ever want to own this on a disc, but I'd probably buy a few as downloads. Also, Funhouse is awesome. 

Posted by Branthog

I actually bought this on the Wii over a year ago and, surprisingly, it's one of the best things I've ever played on that platform. I wonder if you can see any more of the playing field on the 360, with HD.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Sort of a short review but sometimes concise is good. Bullet lists in reviews do usually make me shiver though.

Posted by Gamer_152

That colourblind game reviewer sure plays a mean pinball.

Moderator Online
Edited by Lepuke

If you ever spent any time at all in a arcade in your youth, and liked playing the various pinball tables available, this game is right up your alley and you are sure to recognize at least some of the games. (I've played nearly all of em at one point or another.)
 
While I bought this game for the PS2 over a year ago and absolutely loved it.  The new 360/PS3 version of the game has 5 new pinball tables available. (13 total over the PS2 versions 8) and all of the tables in the game are meticulously recreated and as true to life as possible and the new high resolution textures really make the game pop.

I just re-bought it for the 360 and gave my PS2 copy to a friend and  feel really good about it. :) The budget price point is nice as well.

Posted by Brym

The Wii version is one of my favorite Wii games.  I'm seriously considering getting this now for the new tables (Medieval Madness, Tales of the Arabian Nights, No Good Gophers).

Edited by Th3_James

Played a few days ago, while playing the arabian nights table my screen went black, then came back with fucked up colors. Now i have no video.......2 broken 360's my video fucked up a year ago and i xclamp fixed my box, its messed up again. Gotta go pick up some more thermal compound and reapply to gpu and cpu......i really wanted to play this game more though
 
edit: oh he reviewed the wii version, tables look great on 360, can't say anything bout the wii version. but i thought the menues and sub arcade stuff looked really shitty, but hey. The tables are really the only important aspect

Edited by jonny_eh

No mention of the INSANELY disappointing lack of the ability to see your friends' scores? It's ridiculous that a pinball game doesn't provide you with a leaderboard filter to let you see either the top scores or your friends' scores. Other than that, I thin this game is great. It doesn't have the graphics or the online features of Pinball FX, but it at least has pinball machines that only don't suck, but are awesome. Medieval Madness is such a great game, I'd love to own it someday, but I'd probably have to sell my Guns N' Roses pinball machine to afford it :(
 
And I agree, both High Speed and F-14 (especially F-14) should've been in there.

Posted by MeatSim

I wanna see a pinball break out of a machine in real life.

Posted by EndlessMike

Brendan Sinclair is salivating right now.

Posted by ptc

If I like Pinball FX for XBLA, will I like this?
Posted by Lepuke
@ptc:  As an owner of both I can easily say, you will like it way more.
Posted by LordAndrew
@EndlessMike said:
" Brendan Sinclair is salivating right now. "
Brendan Sinclair loves him some Williams Pinball Hall of Fame. :)
Posted by Media_Master

I haven't played pinball in a long time...

Posted by fynne

I bought this for my PSP a year ago.  It's one of the few games that I'm constantly popping back into my machine.

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

Sounds better than that crappy pinball DLC on XBL.  I got bored with that really quick.
 
You know what they should do is stuff these Williams pinball games into a game like GTA & any other modern RPGs.  It would make for a good distraction in a main game.  I'm wondering if Rockstar will ever sub-license their mini-games to add to the overall enjoyment of their crime fantasy RPGs.

Posted by MacGyver

i need to gamefly this game, i forgot about due to all the MW2 and all

Posted by Kraznor

Finally got this a couple weeks ago. Really fun stuff, but yeah, some weird glitches and the interface could be better.