Williams Pinball Classics
Who needs bells and whistles? Before the PC was ever invented, my father secured an old Williams pinball machine for our family recreation room. My brothers and neighbors played it relentlessly. We broke it, repaired it, and played it some more. By far, the old wood, metal and rubber contraption brought more joy and whisked away more after school/work tension than any other indoor recreational device.
Encore Software has brought four of the classic Williams pinball games back from history and onto the desktops of PC users. Each game appeals to the nostalgic age when pinball was the only electronic game in the arcade, when free games were earned, not lucked, and when a quarter was worth a lot more.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Creature From the Black Lagoon is set in the Starlight Drive-in based on the classic horror flick. This table features sixteen modes of play. After hearing the "shoot the snack bar" order, the player can win bonus points associated with various snack foods. The pirate themed Black Rose is by far the fastest paced of the four games. The player fires a cannon to sink enemy ships. The sneak attack and three-bank ricochet may score a jackpot. In Tales of the Arabian Nights, the player can jump the magic carpet ramps over Baghdad to battle an evil genie and rescue a so-called beautiful princess. Lost World was my favorite game because it was built on the same platform as the Williams pinball machine of my childhood. The wide space between the flippers through which the ball can easily zoom keeps the suspense factor high. Remarkably, it maintained the same feel and character as our old machine. As well, up to four players can participate in the same game on the same PC.
What amazed me about each game was the physics. The player can actually determine the speed of the ball at release time similar to the way a spring releases the ball in a real pinball game. Once on the table, the ball bounces off of the bumpers, spins and ricochets around the table as it should. The ball responds realistically to flippers. The player can even capture the ball with the flippers, taking his time to aim carefully at his target before releasing.
The graphics for each game consist of a full screen slanted table with theme artwork beneath the glass. The metallic ball travels inside the designated corridors, then escapes into a minefield of bells, bumpers, and lights. The graphics were pleasing with no anomalies except for an annoying screen flicker in the menu interface and an intermittent see-thru flipper problem at high resolutions. Strangely, the marquee that displayed the score and ball count was not depicted in 3D as was the rest of the table.
Besides sounds of the ball whacking around the table and hitting various objects, the player hears character voice commands such as "shoot the broadside" in Black Rose and "spin the lamp" from the genie in Arabian Nights. The genie always laughs victoriously each time the "Game Over" text appears on the marquee. As with real pinball games, most of the games maintain cheesy music. Lost World was the exception.
Windows 95/98/ME, Pentium 266 MHz or faster, 32MB RAM, 100M available disk space, SVGA video card supporting 16-bit high color, 4X CD-ROM drive, and a 16-bit sound card.
Williams Pinball Classics in no way matches the fun of my family’s old table. It does do an excellent job of simulating the real pinball experience on the PC. Save tilting and smashing the glass with my fist, I experienced many of the same challenges, frustrations, and triumphs as with my family’s old Williams Pinball machine. Even for someone who doesn’t have fond memories of the pinball age, Williams Pinball Classics is sure to entertain. Williams Pinball Classics weighs a lot less and uses fewer quarters. This title has substance as well as bells and whistles.
Download Williams Pinball Classics
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP