Three more classic tables join the Pinball FX3 lineup from the masters at Zen Studios so get ready to battle on the high seas, stop an alien invasion, and take some time to party.
Back in October last year, Zen Studios released their first volume of classic pinball tables from their newly acquired Williams and Bally's licenses. Since these were the first tables built by Zen that are based on real-life ones, they incorporated several different modes that should satisfy pinball purists and fans of the arcadey Pinball FX formula. This new pack of tables features the same classic and arcade modes and I won't spend much time talking about the differences between them here so I encourage you to read my coverage of the first Williams pack to get more details about how the different modes work. Without further ado, let's get to the new tables!
Take to the high seas and battle pirates on this nautical table from 1992. Despite being a rather difficult table, I still had a good time with Black Rose. The classic version is the most challenging due to the more realistic ball physics but it's filled with plenty of objectives to complete and an overall simple setup that pinball novices like myself can understand. At the very back-middle of the table is the action hole (referred to as the Broadside) that triggers a variety of events. Besides activating events like loading and firing a cannon, it also sometimes triggers dot matrix events that you can complete using the flipper and launcher buttons. The visual additions on the modern version of this table are my favorite of the three tables and include the pirate Black Rose climbing and hanging onto the mast of a ship. It also adds an enhanced cannon fire animation as you aim for specific ramps while the cannon rotates back and forth.Pinball FX3: Black Rose gameplay video →
Attack From Mars
Before playing this new volume of Williams tables, I was informed by a pinball-loving pal that Attack From Mars was one of the best pinball machines ever created. This set my expectations rather high and Attack from Mars definitely lived up to the hype. For starters, it's a wonderfully designed table filled with vibrant greens and reds that pop. The music and sound effects are some of the best I've heard on a pinball machine. A handful of UFOs even loom over the table and green Martians guard the sides and back.
The primary objective of Attack From Mars is to destroy the UFO located at the center of the table by first deactivating its force fields either by hitting them with the ball or via a randomized event. Once you do that, you need to hit the actual UFO several times before you're treated to an explosive animation. You're challenged to do this 5 different times to save the various locations being invaded (including USA, Italy, and Germany). However, my woeful pinball skills never actually let me get that far.
Attack From Mars is accessible for novice players while featuring enough depth to keep professionals playing for hours on end. I found the visual charm of the original table to trump the spiffed up graphics of the modern version but I still enjoyed watching a military general shoot a UFO out of the sky and also fire missiles in the form of a ball lock multiball.Pinball FX3: Attack From Mars gameplay video →
The Party Zone
After spending a lot of time with Attack From Mars, it was tough for me to get invested in The Party Zone, a bizarre and extremely bright table originally released in 1991. The classic version features the goofy disembodied head of Captain B. Zarr located right at the middle of the table, screaming at you about what to do. The table itself is bright yellow with two transparent ramps that loop around the sides. There's a ton of flashing lights and the entire thing is quite the spectacle. There's also a dance contest, a jukebox that lets you pick a song, and I think I saw a football even fly across my screen. I'd imagine this table alone could light up an entire arcade.
The Party Zone's objectives relate to its insane happenings but I was never really able to get into the flow. Zen ratcheted up the craziness even more in the arcade version, giving Captain B. Zarr a body and a rocket to ride only to subsequently fall off every time you lose a ball. Unfortunately, I felt like this table was more of a novelty than something I wanted to take seriously and learn and it ended up being my least favorite table thus far out of the current seven classic table lineup.Pinball FX3: The Party Zone gameplay video →
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for The Party Zone, the other two tables are quite exciting and provide fun pinball action. Attack From Mars is specifically a blast to play and it got me looking forward to seeing which tables are coming next from Williams and Zen Studios.