XBOX REVIEW: PINBALL HALL OF FAME - THE GOTTLIEB COLLECTION

Pinball has always been a favorite of mine. I know with all the new games it may seem odd to seek out a pinball machine in an arcade. If you ask Vaughn, Cole or me about pinball machines, we could tell you about the good old days. A quarter would give you five games and the machines also gave you five balls a game. I would love to watch as the numbers rolled over on a good game. I actually go to the beach and check out all the arcades in hopes of finding some of the classic machines to play.

Gottlieb was the maker of some of the best pinball machines ever made. In Las Vegas where the Pinball museum is located, you can find several of their machines and actually play them. The game focuses on those machines from Gottlieb also known as Premier, who own the rights to this day. This new game is like a history of pinball featuring machines from the 60's, 70's 80's and the 90's. It also has some cool facts and plenty to unlock. It has one of my favorite pinball games ever made, Tee'd Off, which is a spoof on Caddy Shack. The original machine featured a mechanical gopher that sat on top of the machine and would move to the music and action. He also would insult you and could keep the insults coming as fast as the action going on in the game.

Gamers will have to make their way through all 7 pinball machines and beat certain goals on each machine. Doing so will unlock special modes, movies and more arcade machines and a special pinball machine. If you are thinking it sounds like it would be easy and very quick to beat, you would be dead wrong. The goals are based on the date of the machine and how easy it was to score points on that machine. They even include a step-by-step guide to each machine where every chance to score or target is explained in full detail. You can even see the original arcade flyer for that machine. Controlling the game is almost like every other pinball game. Left and right triggers control the flippers while the right thumb stick is the plunger to launch the ball and the left is the bump feature. The controls are great, however; there is a learning curve. Each machine has it's own tilt setting and using the bump feature can take some time to get use to. It not only bumps the machine but you can use the thumb stick to bump it to the left side or right side of the machine.

Graphically, the game is great as well. The only thing that looks a bit off is the size of the ball. It offers several camera angles and switches automatically. Or you can set the camera to the setting you wish while playing. They really took time to recreate the look and feel of each machine. As good as it is, at times, the angles and details may get a little blurred. Playing PHOF is great for anyone who enjoys pinball. While you're playing, you also can hear the other machine in the background. It even allows you to upload your high score on Xbox live and accept messages etc.

For a budget game it certainly is worth the price. While it can get very challenging at times, the way the game feels and switches for each table is fantastic. If you love pinball, of course the value will be higher than the price of the game. The fact you can have 3 of your friend join in is a blast. I would certainly recommend this game to anyone even if you just rent it. It's a great way to learn the history of Pinball and have some fun at the same time. For die-hard fans this one will be a great addition to your Xbox collection and the price can't be beat.

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System: XBOX
Dev: Crave
Pub: Crave
Released: Nov 2004
Review by Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
3.5