Williams Pinball: Volume 5 features three classic tables from Williams and Bally which can be added to the Pinball FX3 game as a DLC for about $10. Tables in this pack include the well-known Tales of the Arabian Nights and Cirqus Voltaire as well as the lesser-known No Good Gofers.
All of the tables feature a classic mode where everything is basically a simulation of how the games would have played in an arcade, and from what I remember, games like Cirqus Voltaire feel pretty real compared to the real thing. The ball physics are certainly almost perfect. You can almost forget that you are playing the game on your TV instead of in some classic arcade cave.
Each table also features an enhanced mode where extra computer graphics are added to the fun. In that mode, things like fireballs fly at you, lighting strikes the board and colorful characters like a genie or a circus ringmaster dance around and sometimes taunt you as you play. Some folks, especially arcade purists, might feel distracted by the enhanced mode. No worries there, as you can easily switch between the two modes with a single button.
If you’d like to get some practice to get acquainted with the tables prior to actually playing the games, or just need to get some practice in at any time with a particular table, there is a practice mode available for each pinball game. You just select this practice mode, and it allows you to have continuous balls with nonstop play for 60 minutes. This mode is greatly helpful in allowing you to get a feel for each game. It helps you in learning the objectives of each table, aids you in vastly improving your skills and is a great way to figure out all the functions available on each table with none of the pressures of the regular games with their three balls and your done allotments.
Before each game, you are given a quick visual tour of the table you are about to play. While the game table features are being shown to you during the tour, you can read facts about the history and the special features of the table. Once you’ve learned about the machine sufficiently to your liking, you can skip the tour by starting to play the game.
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of the three tables being offered in the new Williams Pinball Volume 5 collection.
Tales of the Arabian Nights: I remember playing this exact game in the arcade years ago, and this Zen Studios version does not disappoint. I think I actually enjoy the enhanced version of this game better than the original arcade pinball game version. The enhanced version offers a 3D blue genie who taunts and harasses you throughout your game play. At times, he changes your pinball into a fireball and hurls it back at you (and your flippers) at a high rate of speed. You must then attempt to hurl the ball back at him in a given short amount of time, or else your ball returns to its normal state and you don’t complete this particular challenge. In the enhanced version, the table also features a large lamp toward the center of the table. When you hit the lamp, it spins around. If you are making the lamp spin multiple rotations in a short amount of time, you get to see lightning bolts shooting all around the table. This helps you to achieve a lot of points in the game.
Tales of the Arabian Nights has you attempting to collect all the jewels with the help of your faithful companion, Dimira. She is the enthusiastic female voice who talks to you and cheers you on throughout the game. She gives you suggestions of things in the game you should be attempting to do to help you collect all of the special jewels (you will need these to help empower your scimitar for the final battle with the genie, if you get that far in your game play), achieve points and hopefully, eventually save the princess from the genie who is holding her captive.
Cirqus Voltaire: This is another table I remember playing at my local arcade back in days of yore. Again, as with the Arabian Nights game, I enjoyed playing the enhanced version of this game and found it to be more entertaining than the original arcade pinball game version. In the enhanced version as in the arcade version, you have a large Ringmaster plastic head that emerges from the table and taunts you during your game play.
Exclusively in the enhanced version, you also have a 3D Ringmaster off to the left side of the table that throughout your game play taunts you, dances around in delight, juggles balls and also waves around a large spring looking object (which he sometimes hits himself in the head with when things are not going well for the Ringmaster’s side of game play). As the name suggests, this game has a lot of circus themed activities, music and sounds in its play. If you lock three balls during game play, you get to watch the tightrope walkers stroll across their electrified ropes on the screen and then you get to play a wild game of multiball.
No Good Gofers: I never heard of this game prior to playing it for this review. It was a lot more challenging (and much more frustrating) for me than the other two games. The “flippers” felt a lot more clunkier and sluggish than the other two games. You hit the button on your controller and there is a small delay before the flipper reacts. That took a bit of getting used to. Also the space between the flippers felt wider, but could have been an optical illusion or just my mental block of growing frustration with this table.
This was an excellent game to use the practice mode with until I got more comfortable with its game play. Then, I was better able to try and tackle this game with a lot less frustration. This title has a golf theme with two troublesome gophers (Buzz and Bud) that you must contend with during your golf game, which is an obvious homage to the Caddyshack movie. During the enhanced version of the game, you have a golfer to the left side of the game who is swinging and reacting to your game play. When things aren’t going well, he often throws his golf club which either flies off screen or ricochets and flies back and hits him. He celebrates when you get a hole in one. Buzz and Bud sporadically pop their heads up from the dirt and you are able to hit them for some major points. Buzz enjoys taunting you during your game while Bud is a lot less verbally aggressive towards you. They attempt to wreak havoc with your golf scores as you travel around the golf course.
Like with most games in the Pinball FX3 collection, all three tables are available for about $10 to add to your collection, or can be purchased individually for a few dollars. The base game which acts as the collection homepage, and which comes with a single free table which is quite good itself, was free to obtain. Most tables also have a demo mode, where you can play them for a few minutes to see if you like them before you purchase. This all contributes to a pretty amazing value if you like pinball.
This pack offers a solid recreation of some classic pinball games. It’s beautiful in classic mode and even more fun when using enhanced features to marry classic pinball with modern videogame technology. If you enjoy pinball, then these are among the best of the best.