"Pinball Hall of Fame. I figured at first it was just a name, but when I popped in the disc and started playing, the game really lived up to its title. In this collection, you'll have the chance to select between seven popular Gottlieb pinball tables that originally came out during the 1950s (Ace High), 60s (Central Park), 70s (Big Shot and Genie), 80s (Black Hole and Victory), and 90s (Tee'd Off). Not only that, but each table has a different theme and a set of goals: from Ace High's play..."
Pinball Hall of Fame. I figured at first it was just a name, but when I popped in the disc and started playing, the game really lived up to its title. In this collection, you'll have the chance to select between seven popular Gottlieb pinball tables that originally came out during the 1950s (Ace High), 60s (Central Park), 70s (Big Shot and Genie), 80s (Black Hole and Victory), and 90s (Tee'd Off). Not only that, but each table has a different theme and a set of goals: from Ace High's playing card themed table where you'll attempt to rake up 16 credits to Tee'd Off's golf course environment where you'll have to sink your ball into the nine holes that are scattered throughout the table; you won't complain once about the lack of variety in this game, that's for sure.
Normally, most developers would just stop there and release the title, but FarSight Studios took the extra step with PHoF. They added a few more things to make the game more accessible to a wide audience instead of just only pleasing pinball fans: there's an in-game tutorial for every table that'll tell you how to play each one properly; it was also kind of them to actually guide you through the tables as they explain, so people who never played a pinball game in their lives can easily dive into this title thanks to this addition.
But it doesn't stop there, they've also crammed a bunch of cool bonuses into this game; the ones you get right away are brief history lessons for each table, as well as the original flyers that advertised the games. For the extras you'll have to unlock by completing goals, you'll get a Love Meter machine (it told me I'm a Love Machine by the way......... hello?), a fortuneteller machine, a Play-Boy table, and a few other goodies. While most of these extras won't last long replay-wise, they're pretty neat to have around, novelty-wise.
There happens to be a few problems in PHoF, though, namely two. The first one is about nudging the tables; if you've played a pinball game before, then you'll know that nudging is an important part in keeping the ball on the table for as long as you can. Some people may not like the nudging in this game because of one reason: the left analog stick that nudges is pressure-sensitive. If you nudge too hard, a TILT! sign will appear and freeze the table, so you'll have to be extra careful. After practicing for a few play-throughs, you'll get the hang of it, but it can still be quite a hassle because you'll never be certain if you're gonna tilt the table or not.
The second problem is the ability to save, or the lack of it. See, the only time the game will save is when you set a new high score on a table. This is a nuisance because if you unlocked an extra after completing a goal, and you didn't set a high score, you're forced to play through one of the tables again until you get one. If you don't do this, all that hard work you did for that extra will be for nothing, and you'll have to accomplish the goal again. I can't understand for the life of me why they didn't allow the game to save after you unlock a bonus, it just boggles the mind.
However, if you can manage to deal with those two annoyances, then what you have here is a pretty good pinball video game. It may not be as great as something like Hyper 3-D Pinball, but you are getting a good collection of some of Gottlieb's finest pinball tables in one Xbox disc. Hell, it beats having to track down each real-life table, paying a lot of money for them, and finding space for them in your place. Unless, you're into that type of thing.... you pervert.
Community review by dementedhut (July 20, 2005)
As vaguely implied in the review, SpellCaster would get a Sega Genesis "sequel" called Mystic Defender. Both SpellCaster and Mystic Defender are actually reworked versions of Kujaku Ou and Kujaku Ou 2, based on a manga series that began in 1986.
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