Pinball Hall of Fame - The Williams Collection - PS2 - Preview
Two years ago, an incredible thing happened: I added several new pinball machines to my game room. They were large enough and accurate enough to feel like the real thing but small enough to fit in my pocket. How was this possible? No, it wasn't a stroke of magic. It was the creation of the first stellar pinball game – Pinball Hall of Fame. The choppy gameplay, zany mini-games and unrealistic ball physics of other pinball games had been replaced by true-to-life mechanics. For those of us who didn't have the money (or the space) for a dozen pinball machines, Pinball Hall of Fame gave us the next best thing.
The series' update – Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection – is once again headed to PSP and PlayStation 2, as well as Nintendo Wii. On PS2 you can look forward to a starting lineup of four new pinball machines, each with different sizes and interior obstacles to keep us excited. Arcade, Challenge and Tournament modes are offered, the first of which contains numerous objectives – finishing them will give you access to four additional tables. But you won't have an easy time completing them. In fact, you might want to grab a pillow or cardboard box to beat on when things get rough.
"I missed the score goal by 5,000 points!? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!"
Credits are earned by playing the Challenge mode that combines all the pinball machines together. You'll defeat them by achieving the high score, which is much lower than the score requirement in the Arcade mode. Two continues are provided per table, so keep your pillow within an arm's reach.
"I lost? At the seventh table? Now I have to start all over again!? Ahhhhhhhhhhh!"
Like the first Pinball Hall of Fame, The Williams Collection is insanely addictive in spite of (or perhaps because of) its exasperating, frustration-thriving gameplay. Taxi, Gorgar, Space Shuttle, Funhouse, Pin-Bot, Whirlwind, Firepower, and Black Knight make up the pinball collection. Each has a distinct feel that matches the types of gameplay from their respective eras.
Taxi, a classic table from the ‘80s, has a fast board with two ramps/overpasses, a roulette-style spinner for a launch bonus, and a taxi fare that racks up additional points for every second of play. Firepower’s futuristic design (for its time) contains four circular bumpers, five rectangular bumpers, six elimination targets, and one pause slot. The Black Knight table, however, has just one circular bumper but offers three ramps, four flippers, and 12 elimination targets.
Gorgar is the most basic of all the tables. But basic doesn’t mean easy. With few things to bump into, the ball is more likely to fall between the flippers. Space Shuttle, the table that should pique Buzz Lightyear’s attention, has a large shuttle to soar under for extra points. Funhouse, the strangest of all the tables, has three flippers, two trap doors, one ramp, one extra ball slot, and a creepy mechanical face that talks.
Pin-Bot doesn’t have much going on, but there’s a large bonus area at the top that can be opened up for a point bonus. Whirlwind is sort of like the Funhouse stage, offering three flippers and two trap doors. It also has three spinning areas built into the floor of the table – when the ball rolls over them, the ball is slightly gripped and veers into another direction.
As far as the controls are concerned, nothing seems to have changed. The table-bumping feature is back, allowing players to jerk the table and hopefully thrust the ball to safety. Balls are fired off at the start by pulling back on the right analog stick, giving realistic precision to the game. The camera pre-sets are the same as before and work great. On the closer views, the camera seamlessly follows the ball as it travels across each table.
This preview build seems to cover the gist of the game, and though the final version may not offer much more, the new tables are difficult to put down. Pinball fans can get theirs in just a few more weeks – the game ships on February 28th.