Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection

Developer: Farsight Studios
Publisher: Crave Entertainment
Release Date: Sept. 22, 2009
System: Xbox 360 (reviewed), Wii, PS3, PSP
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The most pinball fun you can have without buying a table.

0:00 After my piece on the Pinball World Championships, I've joined a local league to rekindle my love for the game. A lot of people there have been talking excitedly about this one, so I was happy to get a review copy.

0:01 A cheesy, early-'90s-era 3-D model of a pinball parlor. The camera zooms through the big glass doors and pans languorously around the sparsely attended grounds. Some lovingly detailed close-up shots of the tables are paired with incredibly awful electric-guitar twanging. Hey, there's Dark Knight! I just played Dark Knight 2000 in the league! And there's Pinbot! I had the NES version of that one. Beautiful HD art.

0:02 After the intro movie, we're back to the outside of the parlor, complete with flashing neon sign. Ambient horns from the street fade away as I enter.

0:03 Four of the music tracks in the options menu are set to "off" by default. Kind of odd ... is that music so bad they don't really want it in the game?

0:05 Navigating the arcade with the analog stick. Each time I got to a machine, an overwrought announcer announces the name in a booming voice: "Medieval Madness! Gorgar!" etc. I pass by some faux classic arcade cabinets like "Comet" and "Egg Invader." and fake pinball machines like "Inferno" and "Space Colony" (at least, I think they're fake). For what amounts to a simple menu, there's a lot of attention to detail -- fake wood paneling, purple carpet, a neo restrooms sign ... I'm mildly impressed.



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