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June 27, 2005
Pinball: Hall of Fame - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
9/6/2005Red AntFarSight Studios1-4G8+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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The newest table - Tee'd Off.
When it comes to pinball there's no comparison to the real thing, at least that's what most people will tell you - and to an extent that may be true. We could therefore conclude that pinball games must be pointless. When you're driving a car there's nothing like the real thing either. How about some SOCOM styled war games? Certainly in those cases the real thing is better as well. Indeed video games are a simulation of reality. Make sense? So we have a pinball game here. It will never be the same as placing a beer on the table in the pub and experiencing the real physics - but it comes bloody close. Pinball: Hall of Fame is quite possibly the best pinball game ever - and it comes with a free history lesson too!

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Top section of the Victory table!
Pinball tables aren't a new thing. Indeed they well and truly proceed video games dating back to the 1930's! This game is a little more recent and includes seven tables in total (with the original tables release dates in brackets) Ace High (February 1957), Central Park (April 1966), Big Shot (August 1973) , Genie (November 1979), Black Hole (October 1981), Victory (October 1987), and Tee'd Off (May 1993). It really is a wide collection of tables and while some are very simplistic, they each have their own unique charms. The amount of detail in the PS2 versions of these tables are impressive with every flipper, graphic, bumper and target faithfully recreated. Actually playing the games is dead simple, the right analogue stick is used to pull back the plunger and the L1 and R1 buttons control the flippers. If you want to take it that bit extra the left analogue stick is used to bump the table - however it's far too easy to get a tilt and lock the table down. The circle button is used to change the viewing angle from almost level to almost top-down and a couple in between.

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Selecting your desired machine...
Pinball: Hall of Fame also includes several bonus items such as historical artwork, trivia about the tables and a photograph tour of the Gottleib factory and custom balls among others. In fact there's quite a bit to unlock including some very early pinball styled mini-games such as 'Love Meters' and the like. All are very basic, but they date well before these tables and give an indication of the evolution of the industry.

There are a couple of minor issues I have with the game. Firstly the multi-player. The inclusion of 4- player support in this game is welcome but in reality adds so little to the game you wonder why they bothered. I mean it's pinball, the highest score wins, and the necessity for multi-player is extremely limited. Secondly while the physics are generally very good there is the odd occasion where you wonder why the ball moved a certain way, or if the flipper actually hit the ball as it appeared and so on. It only happens occasionally but it's still there.

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It's only missing a glass of beer.

The graphics in this title really are quite nice. As previously mentioned the tables are wonderfully recreated while the pinball parlor interface is quite nice. The audio isn't quite as exciting. I guess the developers were limited by the effects from the original titles however even some modern day music in the background or some better ambient effects in the parlor could have added a little more to the atmosphere.

All in all the developers, FarSight Studios, have done a solid job with Pinball: Hall of Fame. The seven tables, and many bonuses are great value for under $50 and if you like pinball then this is an essential purchase.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Amazon (NTSC Version)
GRAPHICSClean and fluid as expected but still somewhat uninspiring.
SOUNDThe tables sound realistic enough, but lacks a bit of atmosphere.
GAMEPLAYIt won't replace the real thing, but this is great videogame pinball.
VALUEPlenty of tables at a budget price show the full evolution of pinball.
OVERALLI was surprised by this title. Budget games can be very average and this game flew under the radar. If you're a pinball fan it's an essential purchase even if the audio visual side is a little below par.

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