Last year Crave Entertainment did the impossible, they made me fall in love with a pinball video game. While I have been a longtime fan of traditional arcade pinball machines, I've had mixed reactions to the numerous video game adaptations over the years. The best pinball games (Alien Crush, Devil's Crush, etc.) are too fantastical to be taken as a traditional pinball game and everything that attempted to be realistic never quite felt right. But Crave bucked the trend by publishing the excellent Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection for the Wii.
Here we are more than a year later and this collection is finally making it to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Along with improved visuals, this version of Pinball Hall of Fame offers three more arcade machines, upping the number to 13. The new games include Medieval Madness, No Good Gofers and Tales of the Arabian Nights. All three are from the 1990s and feature complicated boards that will require a lot of patience and skill to master.
With only days to go before the game's September 22nd release, we thought it might be fun to take a look at what sets these three additional tables apart. These are not tables you will need to unlock; all three of these machines are available right from the get-go. Will these be the machines that win you over? Find out when we spend a few minutes picking all three of these tables apart.
This 1997 table is the very first game you see when you walk in to the dark and dirty arcade. It's a deadly serious look at the fantasy genre, complete with magic, ogres and catapults. At the very top of this table lies a large castle. Your job is to break through the various points of entry (the wall, the gate, etc.), all while making sure to battle any bad guys that pop up and rescue the various damsels in distress. Like Tales of Arabian Nights, Medieval Madness is a highly technical pinball machine, with a lot of daunting lights and secret areas. Unlike the other new machine, I found this game to be manageable. There may be a lot going on at once, but all it took was a few virtual quarters to see that there was a method to the madness. Even after going through and getting high scores on all of the tables, it was Medieval Madness that I ended up coming back to. I'm glad to see this table make it into the collection, it's easily one of the best reasons to pick up the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 version of the game.
No Good Gofers
FORE!! Fans of 1980s Bill Murray movies will no doubt slice their way to No Good Gofers, a colorful new addition to the Pinball Hall of Fame. Okay, so maybe this mid-1990s table doesn't bear the "Caddyshack" name, but it won't take long to see the similarities. No Good Gofers is a table full of whimsical golf humor, starting with the weaponized golf cart, annoying hazards and of course the angry gofers. Of the three tables new to this Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 collection, No Good Gofers is by far the funniest. But don't let its quirky humor fool you, at its core is a complicated pinball game with all kinds of areas to explore and bonuses to reap. No matter if you're a fan of golfing or simply making fun of it, this Williams table has a little something for everybody ... even gofers!
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Released in 1996, Tales of the Arabian Nights is one of the most complicated tables in this collection. While most pinball games have a lot going on, I was awestruck by the depth of this game. This is a spectacularly complicated table that has you playing through a series of different storylines. The overall object is to collect all of the jewels so that you can release the Princess from the evil Genie's bottle. To do that you have to play through a bunch of increasingly difficult tales, such as The Tale of Sinbad and the Rocs, The Tale of Ali Baba, The Tale of the Flying Horse, The Tale of Scheherazade, The Tale of the Great Camel Race andThe Tale of Forty Thieves.
Got all that? If you're confused then you aren't alone. The truth is, Tales of Arabian Nights as so much going on at once that even after putting several hours into the table I wasn't completely sure what I was doing. Still, this advanced board features enough depth to keep the hardcore pinball wizards busy figuring it out. And who knows, maybe after you've read the 83 page instruction manual you'll have a firm grasp of this overly complicated pinball machine.
These three games round out an already line-up of pinball machines, including Black Knight, Firepower, Funhouse, Gorgar, Jive Time, Pin*Bot, Sorcerer, Space Shuttle, Taxi, and Whirlwind. All 13 machines feature two sets of challenges, original sound effects, authentic graphics and a strong control scheme. Find out if the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports can live up to the must-own Wii title when we review the full game next week. Until then, get your flipper fingers ready for this impressive pinball collection.