Pinball FX3 – Universal Classics™ Pinball
One of the most exciting things about the announcement of Pinball FX3 wasn’t just the new enhancements and features, but also the new set of tables that would be accompanying it. Don’t get us wrong, we love the wide assortment of Marvel and Star Wars tables already featured in the game, but it was definitely time for something fresh. This is why the Universal Classic pinball pack is such a big deal as it is not just three brand new tables that highlights the new features of Pinball FX3, but could potentially mean further movie tie-ins appearing in the future. Universal is definitely not lacking when it comes to classic films, but Zen Studios picked three of the best for this pack. Included with Universal Classics pinballs are tables based on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, as well as Jaws.
Back To The Future
First up is the Back To The Future table, based on the movie trilogy of the same name. Since the table is based on all three movies, it opens with players getting to choose the time period for the table. Options include 1955 from the first movie, 2015 from the sequel as well as 1885 from the Back To The Future 3. There is a total of six different locations and while they don’t influence the table visuals too much, they do play a big role in the types of main features and hurry up modes that the table offers.
Visually the table is not as colorful as we would have expected from the license, but does manage to capture the look and feel of the movies. The table artwork features a shot of Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly, along with the famous DeLorean time traveling machine. The two characters have their back to the camera in the shot, but don’t worry as the table also features detailed 3D models of both on opposite sides of the table. In addition, the table also features a mini DeLorean model, a flux capacity incorporated with the ramps and a model of the clock tower from the film. Finally, movie stills of locations from the films are displayed at the back of the table. Playing with one of the zoomed out views reveals that the pinball table is located in the Cafe 80’s from the second movie. It is sandwiched between some tables on the left, complete with a hoverboard casually leaning against one of them, and a Wild Gunman arcade machine to the right. The new lighting engine is put to good use with this table and it features a host of cool effects like lightning and balls leaving fiery tracks during multi-ball modes.
Although the visuals are great, it really is a pity that Zen Studios were not able to include the licensed music for this and the other tables.
The music that is on offer isn’t bad, but obviously can’t live up to memories that fans have of the movie. The table does feature a lot of voice acting for lines from the movies, but these are done by new actors instead of the original cast or samples from the films. The voice actors actually do a fairly decent job, especially the person who voices Marty, but once again it can’t really compare to the originals.
Back To The Future is quite a high scoring table and it is easy enough to activate the multi ball modes. It is quite a sight to get multiple multi-balls going at the same time and doing so also opens up the potential for massive scores. The missions all make sense and the table fuses the pinball elements nicely with the movie. This means you’ll be doing everything from shooting the spinner to raise funds for renewing the clock tower to locking balls in the flux capacitor to activate the multi-ball mode. With the ability to score five extra balls on this table if you are good, it is one where a single game can go on for a long time. It is also one of our favorite tables in this pack, thanks to the variety on offer.
Unlike the Back To The Future Table, the Jaws table is based only on the first film, which is a good thing. What makes the Jaws table unique is that it features main modes for both the great white shark and Quint, the shark hunter. This table is backed with props and features from the film, complete with a shot of Jaws leaping out of the water as the table graphic. Jaws also makes an appearance as a 3D model on the table, with Quint being the only human character that is featured. Quint’s boat, the Orca, also features prominently on the table along with a shark cage, lighthouse, and lifeguard post. Other cool touches include the fishing road that is used to launch the ball, the Amity Island sign on the right of the board, buyo bumpers and radar spinners. There’s even a pier that can be shot during one of the modes to knock Quint into the water and a ship wheel below the left outlane. Zooming out reveals that the pinball table is set on the deck of the Orca, which is really neat. The “night sailing” mode, which plunges the table in darkness, also offers a nice showcase of the new lighting effects.
The table designer didn’t go overboard with ramps and the bottom area is wide open, so most of the action takes place at the top. The table does feature three flippers, with one on the top left joining the two at the bottom. Interestingly enough, the table doesn’t just feature modes for Quint and Jaws, but one can be activated while the other is already running, which results in a showdown. Another impressive feature occurs during the “Raging Sea” mode where the entire table begins to rock back and forth like it would if it really was on the deck of a ship. Needless to say this makes scoring a bit trickier and might even leave a few players feeling a little seasick!
Jaws is another great table, but accessing the five extra balls or activating the multi-ball features felt a little trickier than the Back to The Future table. It is also the table that loses the most by now having the licensed music as that Jaws theme song is so iconic that it just feels wrong to not have it playing. The music that does play is probably as close as you can get to the original tune without breaking any copyright laws, but it is just not the same. The voice acting on this table primarily consists of Quint mumbling to himself or barking orders. Of course, when the ball drains you get a variation of the iconic “bigger boat” quote. Overall, Jaws is another great table and one that has a lot of longevity thanks to the two main modes.
E.T the Extra-Terrestrial
Last, but certainly not the least is the E.T table that is based on the hit 1982 film. The table itself looks great and features a ton of neat mini-games as well. For the table background the artists over at Zen has chosen an image E.T posing with his glowing finger in front of his spacecraft on a moonlit night. E.T also features as a 3D character model on the table, along with Elliott. The other big 3D model on this table is the spacecraft, which must be shot until it begins to hover, opening up the mission hole.
The missions on this table are a varied bunch, ranging from shooting frogs in jars to free them to collecting candies while avoiding the police. The latter is particularly interesting as it takes place on a separate mini paying field and requires you to tilt the table to move the ball around instead of making use of flippers. Other unique mini games on this table include one at the back of the board where you have to press a button to make Elliot jump his bike over obstacles as well as one played using the dot matrix display. This table has a total of four flippers, with two at the bottom and another two in the middle of the table. Five extra balls can be earned while playing this table by completing tasks such as collecting a certain amount of candies or jumping a certain amount of obstacles during the bike mode.
The E.T license lends itself surprisingly well to a pinball table and once again also acts as a great showcase for the new lighting of Pinball FX3. Elliot’s cluttered room dominates the lower half of the table, while the top is taken up by a forest. The visuals are not only colorful, but detailed enough to see small touches like the clutter on the floor of Elliot’s room and the blackboard with E.T. written on it that hangs from his bunk bed. The table even uses objects like a football helmet and a miniature model of the globe as bumpers. The location of the table appears to be the stairs of Elliot’s house, with the iconic red bicycle on the left of it and the red wagon to the right.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, E.T. is yet another table that could have benefited a lot from using the licensed music found in the film. Once again, there is nothing wrong with the music that does play, but it is just not the same. Like the other tables in the Universal Classics pack, E.T. uses a lot of quotes from the movie, but performed by new actors who try and sound like the original characters. These sound decent enough for the most part, but can become a little repetitive if you perform the same actions over and over
All three of the tables that are included in the Universal Classics pinball pack are a lot of fun to play and we’ve already spent hours on them since their release. It really is a pity about the licensed music, but in terms of visuals and pure fun there is little that can be faulted here. The tables are all definitely up to the task of showcasing why Pinball FX3 is one of the best virtual pinball games on the market and hopefully we will be seeing more Universal themed tables in the future.
- OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10
- Processor: Dual Core CPU @ 1.6GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvida GTS 450 or AMD equivalent
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 6 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card / integrated