There’s a lot of work that goes into making a digital pinball game these days. Sure, you could take shortcuts, but fans appreciate realism. Just ask anyone that’s plunked real money into The Pinball Arcade on their favorite tables. For that matter, Pinball FX3 also has its fair share of fans, across both fantasy-built tables based on franchises, as well as real Williams/Bally licensed ones. The latest table, Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure, happily joined the party last week.
If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s an actual arcade pinball game that came out back in 1993 under Williams. It not only features the official theme song and audio clips from the first three movies, but also newly recorded dialogue by John Rhys-Davies, who played Sallah. It’s as authentic an Indiana Jones product as you can get, and now Zen Studios has brought it home.
So, how does the translation fare? Surprisingly, very well. If you can get past the somewhat stickler of a price point, you’ll find it’s well worth adding to your collection.
Whip It Good
The classic 1993 table is here in all its glory, warts and all. By that I mean Zen Studios has painstakingly recreated the original in digital form, right down to the mono speakers. That’s fine by me, considering what a pinball enthusiast I am and all.
It looks wonderful, with a variety of camera angles available, from up-close following-the-ball to a full table-view. You can also get a glimpse of the original back glass by pressing up on the right analog stick, as if you were standing right in front of it. The original sound is excellent too, although some may complain it’s not enhanced enough. Hey, authenticity is everything. Again, I’m pleased with it.
Like previous Zen Studios pinball releases, there is an “enhanced” mode here. It’s where little graphics appear on the screen to make things a little livelier. These include flying planes, Indy running around, and other little effects. They’re all right, but I think I prefer the general table-only view. Fortunately, you can turn these effects on or off with the press of a button. It’s totally up to you.
But How’s It Play?
Some people aren’t entirely on board with Pinball FX3’s physics, as they can be a little “heavier” compared to, say, The Pinball Arcade. However, Indiana Jones feels like the company’s most balanced table to date.
The physics feel just fine throughout the game, and the table has a nice, fair design to it. If you lose the ball too quickly, for example, “eternal life” grants you the ability to save it for one more round. You can also keep track of things pretty nicely with multi-ball, and taking shots at ramps and other areas is relatively easy thanks to the solid flipper mechanics.
There are times that the ball can go a wee bit too fast when it’s flying around the table, but the same could be said for real pinball. A few adjustments here and there, and you’ll be shooting for high scores along with the other great players out there.
The only real downside to Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure is the price. This one goes for $14.99, which is far more than the 3-table Williams packs that previously sold for around $10. Considering the licenses involved (the Indiana Jones stars, Lucas Film, all that), I can see why that’s the case. Some players may balk, however.
Really, though, it’s worth it. Considering the table isn’t that easy to find anymore, you essentially get yours “to own” for a mere $15. Compare that to what you paid in the past for good translations of High-Speed and PinBot on the NES ($50 a pop at the time), and you should be all right.
See Ya Tomorrow, Indiana Jones
While the high price point and small things may be sticking points for some, Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure is a real trip. It’s essentially the pinball game recreated to near perfection, with little additions here and there. The online leaderboards are a nice touch, as well as unlockable awards. Plus it just plain plays great, just like the original game.
If that’s your thing, and you don’t mind paying a little more, you’ll feel right at home with Dr. Jones in your pinball collection. Now then, Zen Studios, maybe we can get a Star Wars Data East pinball home translation going…
VIBE Rating: 8.5/10
Need more classics to play at home? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection is coming!