Pinball video games are quite rare, so it’s nice to see that System 3 have published Williams Pinball Classics on to the XBOX 360. It’s unlikely if you’re from Europe that you would have had the chance to play the 2009 game, Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, which was only sold to the North American market. System 3 has worked at improving the existing title, which was released by Crave Entertainment, and have made Williams Pinball Classics a PAL region release.
The main screen presents you outside the Pinball Hall of Fame Arcade, which appears to be located somewhere in a busy city, as you can hear busy traffic sound effects; cars hooting, police sirens and more. This gets you immediately in the mood to have a game of pinball. Enter the Arcade and choose from the 13 pinball games on offer: Medieval Madness, Gorgar, Space Shuttle, Arabian Nights, Pin Bot, Taxi, Whirlwind, Sorcerer, Jive Time, Firepower, Funhouse, Black Knight and No Good Gofers. All of these games are William’s real-life arcade pinball tables, some of which are from as far back as the 1980s.
You will need to use credits in order to play on each table within the Arcade mode, or if you have gained a lot, then you can buy something called Free Play mode, which makes that particular game permanently free. You don’t begin with many credits, but don’t worry, as you will soon be earning them as your score becomes higher.
The second mode on offer is Williams Challenge, which challenges you to move from table to table by beating the minimum score set on each one. In this mode you will earn challenge points, and the better your score, the more points you will get.
If you fancy some multiplayer, then head over to the Tournament mode, which allows you to take on up to three friends using cycle based gameplay. Although this mode is great fun, it is quite disappointing that neither this mode nor game has any online features.
Each table and game comes with something called Table Goals, which gives you some extra challenges, such as earn the jackpot or score so many points. Check the Leaderboards screen to see where you stand for each game against other AI players.
As you would anticipate from a pinball video game, the controls are very simple and easy to use.
Graphics and audio:
The graphics are brilliant and capture the pinball tables with precision and realism. Textures and lighting effects are impressive, and ball physics are near-perfect. A nice addition to the game is the ability to switch through different camera angles, which allows you to select the position you prefer.
You will also find the audio effects to be well placed throughout the game, with all those pinball noises you come to expect. I also liked the background music on offer.
Williams Pinball Classics is one of the best pinball video games to date, offering many hours of entertainment value with the 13 pinball machines and the 3 game modes on offer. The arcade action is enjoyed with brilliantly captured graphics and near-perfect physics. My only disappointment is with the lack of any online facilities. This game is available from the off at cut-price, making it fantastic value for the majority of gamers.