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.
- Medieval Madness
- Tales of the Arabian Nights
- Jive Time
- No Good Gofers
- Black Knight
- Space Shuttle
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.
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.