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Nintendo Wii Review - Pinball Hall of Fame : The Williams Collection

51Ny9-Pz1nLOkay, the first impression of this game is terrible. I'll warn you of that right now. Because when you first start the game you get this HORRIBLE full motion video of walking into an old school arcade and going arouund looking at the different tables and watching a little demo and whatnot of the tables being played. It's blurry, choppy and a mess. Just skip it, I don't even know why they even put this in. I've seen better on the Sega CD. Once you actually get into the game however, it's a completely different story. Forget emulation, forget every other console, this is the best way to play pinball outside of having the actual table. This comes with 10 tables from the 70's on up through the 90's and each and every one of them are perfect down to the last little detail. And the tables you get with this are some pretty famous ones ... Black Knight, Firepower, Funhouse, Gorgar, Pinbot, Space Shuttle, Taxi, Whirlwind, Jive Time and Sorcerer.


Graphically, the game is damned impressive. Now, granted, I haven't played it on either the PSP or the PS2, so I have nothing to compare it to. But graphics on this thing are absolutely gorgeous. Sure, it's a little jaggy, but this is the Wii we're talking about here. This thing is NOT  graphical powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. All the tables look like they would have brand new, and they each have their own little details about them that sets them apart. The art, the backglass, everything looks awesome. The virtual arcade that you choose them from however, doesn't look all that great. It just doesn't give me that feeling of being in an arcade because everything i so "on rails". Like, you can't just walk around and look at stuff, you press left or right and it automatically selects a table for you. It's not that big of a deal, but a little freedom would've helped. Other than that the game looks fantastic.

The sound and music are all top notch, and really sets it apart. When you go through and select which table you want to play there's 80's type music playing in the background, all the tables have their familiar sounds. Hearing the small but memorable selection of words from Gorgar is always a treat. Black Knight sounds as awesome as it did when I was a kid. As well as all the background noise from various other pinball machines and arcade games that you would've heard back in the 80's. This game really excels in the sound department.


The real draw here is the gameplay though, because this is where that Wiimote and nunchuck really stand out. It almost feels like you're at a real pinball tables and works GREAT. I was kinda worried about using the analog stick to control the plunger, because while I'm not a good pinball player by any stretch of the imagination, I do TRY to get skill shots. But the analog stick works well. You use the left and right triggers on the wiimote and nunchuck for the flippers and you flick whichever one for whatever side you want to nudge. It all works wonderfully and the way you can space them out almost gives that feeling of standing in front of a real table. Something that actual controllers would miss entirely. And don't worry, I'm not forgetting about the ball physics. They're perfect and behave the same way they do on a real table. It's really quite amazing.

Each table has their own goals to get which are easily accessible, the game supports up to four players and even has tournament play. They have their instructions and flyers and everything else that you could want for almost limitless replayability. Because that's the beauty of pinball, you never get the same game twice. From the main menu, you can just head straight into the arcade, or play a Williams Challenge where you play various tables trying to beat whatever goal they set forth for you. Like I said, I suck at pinball so I don't do too good here, but it doesn't keep me from coming back and having a blast. Then there's the Tournament, which I honestly haven't done because I don't know anything about pinball tournaments. I've always been kind of a solo player because I'm so horrible at them and I'm a sore loser. You also get a slideshow of the tables after getting certain goals in the Williams Challenge, which I WILL unlock ALL of them one of these days.


9.0 - All in all, for us folk who don't have the money to get a real pinball table and wouldn't be able to keep up with the maintenance on them even if we DID get one and you want a great pinball collection, get these Pinball Hall of Fame collections, especially on the Wii because the control method used by the system is perfect for these and the system is just powerful enough to give you a great experience. More tables would've helped this immensely, but in the end it DOES have more tables than the PS2 version. Though having Star Trek : The Next Generation in there would've made it an automatic buy rather than waiting as long as I did.

Just please for the love of God DON'T GET Pinball FX on the Xbox 360. Just get this. You won't be sorry.

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