Popeye Saves the Earth (Bally, 1994)

Popeye Saves the Earth

Total rating

This machine got 97 approved ratings and currently scores 6.694 out of 10 points.

This ranks this machine #255 in the Pinside Ranking.


Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 6.206

Artwork: 7.331

Sounds/Music: 7.041

Other Aspects: 6.338

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Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this machine. 96 of us have rated this game.


Found 36 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 36 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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“This layout doesn't feel great, lots hidden by the upper playfield and it just didn't feel smooth to play. It looks impressive but it doesn't translate to a fun game.”

“Horrid machine, what were they thinking???.....A giant toilet seat obstructs views, skill shot is way over, Popeye saving animals? do people actually research a theme before making these?
Slow, slow slow...........argh did not enjoy this machine at all.

Williams/Bally did, just like others did.... make terrible terrible pins...this is one.”

“This is an absolutely dreadful game, full of terrible design choices and a distinct lack of flow or fun. Why anyone would think to create a toy that covers nearly all of the upper playfield is beyond me, but it's a real pain to lose the ball for a few seconds every time you shoot the ball up the middle. The side shots are too narrow and too far down the flippers, leading to caroms that send the ball into the covered part of the playfield. The lower playfield is just empty. The rules are needlessly obscure, the fun factor is non-existent. In short, I'd only buy this game if I needed parts.”

“The worst Bally-Williams DMD machine you can get basicaly. Previous to playing this i tought i liked and could enjoy any modern pinball machine , Popeye proved me wrong. It proves wrong also the people who worship anything this company does, i would rather play a good DataEast \ Gottlieb any day. It's a kid's themed pinball (not a problem with me, i like Flintstones for example) and it's a Widebody, not that they do take anything good from the extra space. The rules are a complete mess, saving the animals or whatever. Has a second playfiled on the top that is not horrible.

The good:
- 1 good shot, the ball goes by the right inlane and you can shoot for the loop any times you can.
- the playfiled looks like a boat, and the upper playfield is ok.

The bad:
- Theme \ Rules are all over the place..
- big blue turd of a ramp on the left that blocks the view, what were they thinking ?
- big whell motor on the right that makes a hell of a noise and adds nothing to the game
- sounds \ music (going up....going up)
- some shots with the view completely ostructed behind the upper playfield”

  • T3mpest has owned this game in the past.

  • “My family loved it ! And personally I really enjoyed to play this pinball . We had a hard time to decide which pinball to buy either a Popeye or a flinstones , but flinstones won ! Probably this will be our next pinball in our house .....I don't know why is this pinball rated so low if its a great machine”

  • 1 Pinsider starred this rating review

  • “terrible game”

    “I’m surprised this game gets bad ratings. I know the playfield is funky at first but once you play its real addicting and fun. I like the playfield now that I’m use to it. I think it should be ranked higher at least in the top 105 on pinside”

  • fish4pins currently owns this game.
  • 1 Pinsider starred this rating review

  • “Not a DMD that I particularly like, and it loses two whole marks from me for having an ecological theme, that upper playfield is just too big!”

    “After playing one, I bought one. The rule set is deep, deeper than most. PF & BG are gorgeous. Wish the blue ramp was clear towards the end. Some obstructed shots but not a game breaker. Spin2Win skill shot is fairly easy. This machine can be stingy. It continues to challenge us. Best $1300 I've ever spent on a near mint pin. Can't wait to LED this beast.”

  • Pinballocks currently owns this game.
  • 1 Pinsider starred this rating review

  • “Love this game. Not a wide body fan but this game gets alot of attention by everyone that stops by great modes fun fast flow pick one up if you get the chance.”

  • 1 Pinsider starred this rating review

  • “Poor Popeye!!! Everyone is so quick to hate this machine! The thing I've noticed is that most who don't like it either have not really played it or played a machine that is less than 100% functioning. When everything is dialed in on this game, it rocks! You need to put some games on it to get familiar with the "hidden" shots under the upper playfield, but that is really not a huge issue in a home environment as the shots become more evident with continued play. The orbit on this machine gets going super fast and will kick you hard on its way back around (from the left entrance) I love that shot!!! The upper playfield is tough which for me is a good thing as I have yet to master it. Love the music that plays while up there looking for Sweet Pea. The theme on this machine gets bashed (saving the animals) but I really don't mind it. There are so many tangents with Sweet Pea, Olive, Bluto etc, that you get far more than the animals. They needed something to build the game around, so they chose saving the animals. I just try to think of it as an episode of the show that is centered around the game's subject matter.

    In the end, I really enjoy this game (as do my kids) and I am sad for those who never give it a chance. GREAT GAME!!!”

  • dapperdan24 currently owns this game.
  • 2 Pinsiders starred this rating review

  • “The most interesting part of this game is the rule set. It is a bit slow and ponderous to play, and many playfield items are obscured. You can't really see the pop bumpers and what goes on up there.

    The game seems rather random and meaningless until you somewhat understand the rules, saving animals, etc. Then, there is something to concentrate on and work towards, and the slow game play doesn't seem to be that much of an issue.”

    “I actually really enjoy this pin. Sure there are a few things that could have been a bit better, but I still find myself having a blast playing it. It is beautifully lit and the artwork is great. I actually wouldn't mind owning this one.”

  • Gov has this game on the wishlist.
  • 1 Pinsider starred this rating review

  • “Great rules, lots to do and nice DMD animations. I have no issues with the obstructed view or the save the planet theme so for me the game is really enjoyable and fun.”

  • flipperilaakso currently owns this game.

  • “Very under rated game. One of my favorites and in my collection. Still a great deal to buy one as they generally cost less than you might think for a wide body pin. I would recommend this game to anyone.”

  • clarksonrj currently owns this game.
  • 1 Pinsider starred this rating review

  • “I only played it a few times but was immediatley hooked. A fun machine that makes you smile as you play it. Challenging, but not too challenging. Multiball was fun. Animations are fun. Large bluto/brutus head is fun. Just an all around fun game I would love to add to my collection one day.”

  • jesster64 currently owns this game.

  • “Popeye is an unusual game and it seems to occupy it's own pinball (sur)reality.

    The Pros:
    Lots to do and lots to shoot at. "Hidden" aspects of the game require you to really discover and look hard for your shots. The upper PF seems to have quite a bit to do on it. The maze idea takes a bit to get used to, but actually works.

    The Cons:
    For a widebody game, this game plays like a narrow body table. The unusual mechs on this game slow it down and seem to keep the ball out of play as compared to being a fast and furious deck.

    The Takeaway:
    I like the character of Popeye. However, within this theme with saving the world ... Popeye makes no sense to me. Then again, this is pinball and we are entering the theater of Python... and there, anything can happen. Read the proposed game theme on this game's entry if you want to see how deep he wanted to go on this game. I still have not gotten to know this game and have yet to form a real opinion on it other than it just seems strange and does not grab my attention. Not good. I'll play it again when I can and update the scores accordingly.

    After about a dozen plays, I still have no real idea how to play this game... not a good sign at all.”

    “i played this in a little bar and grill. i dont get the bad rep this game gets. its not a great game. its not a bad game. i found it fun over all. it has some good shots.the upper play field is challenging and over all i found it fun to play. dont let any one's review or opinion dissuade you from giving this game a try. you may find it a bit of fun.”

    “Played this game a lot as a kid. Nice game which captures the Popeye theme quite well. The mini playfield is a nice gadget.”

    “So much push and pull in either way. Popeye, I bet, cost more to make than TZ, and I bet was the single most expensive machine to produce. The hidden shots are a nuisance. Despite what you might think in aiming at the inserts should suffice, it doesn’t, and about 4 shots, all important, are kind of a pain.

    The theme is unanimously agreed upon as flat out stupid. It should have just been Popeye. Why we are helping Popeye save endangered animals while collecting wrenches and baby bottles as a theme for Popeye is beyond me, and everyone else.

    The skill shot is a nice idea, and cool at first glance, but is really a lot of wasted space and a waste of a very expensive and complicated toy. I would have preferred after the choice is made, that you have to hit a ramp or the scoop or something. Given the deep rules, which I will get to, that would have been a nice addition.

    The overall designed is one of the few games where it feels Williams just did not put this thing through QC and rushed it out the door. The ramp alone has two major issues, in that balls fly off the rear when they enter fast (needs a clear cover) and the ball gets stuck in a common spot on a back left rear corner (needs a post), and secondly the exit from the ramp to the wire ramp is not smooth and does not transition well (raise the union screw with a spacer). Neither of these issues are seen on any other Williams machine, and this alone tells me that this game was not manufactured in the same manner, which is a rarity from Williams, even until they closed.

    The entrance to the escalator causes bounce outs, and needs dampening foam all around both sides. The ramps in the upper PF are hard to aim (Clay recommends moving the lightning flippers up there, and I wish I had seen that before I sold mine). The ramp itself is too steep, and hard perfect shots will often fly into the PF glass and back out. The ball will even, once into a shot/door in the ramp, sometimes roll to the right and activate the wrong door, despite making the desired shot. The entire animal ramp/plastic thing should have been in a clear plastic at the least, and really isn’t pinball and is a lot of action for little fun.

    The outlanes are horrendous. Even if you install bumper posts where they should be (factory only put a screw in the PF to the under PF rail supports), and lower the side star posts to the lowest setting, the opening to the outlanes is still larger than any other machine with the posts to the highest point. When this is how it was factory, the game is virtually unplayable, and balls drain faster than pinbot, A LOT faster.

    Everything Steve Ritchie posted about this machine in his rant one time on RGP is bang on. The game was a complete and utter disaster, given the height that pinball was at, and this thing should never have been produced.

    Having said that, we are now in the home use environment where we can alter/mod and appreciate in a new light. Once the changes are made, and the game becomes playable, we can begin to review the rules - and the rules in this machine were IMO **ground breaking, deep and as a whole impressive**.

    In the time of mode mode mode, this game was the first to start an objective completion type of play, similar to AFM, MM and other later wpc95 machines. You have to save all the animals, collect all the (stupid) items, start the 3 ball MB, complete the 4 mini modes, and then starts another MB, where you have to make most of the shots in the game. There is a 4 and 5 ball multiball as well, and once the objectives are complete, and some other things to complete, and then you can attempt to save olive, which utilizes all of the main shots in the game and is a 6 ball mulit, and is very hard and challenging to get to. I only beat the machine once. I beat TZ almost every night I play it, and AFM once a month in relation.

    The skill shot comes back into play big time in the objectives, as you can basically get a free whatever you need towards starting these objectives here, and this is a great idea.

    As well, the finding sweat pea is I believe the only pinball play/vid mode interactive thing in pinball. It is very hard, and I have only completed this once as well. I believe this to be the greatest vid mode in pinball, as you not only have to keep the ball on the upper PF, which in itself is very hard, but you have to aim at the right doors, get ready for the ball to return fast, and keep your eye on the map on the screen as well. Why oh why could more vid modes not be like this?

    Call me crazy, but this idea was a theme and vigorous testing from QC away from being one of the best machines of the 90s. Instead, most consider it a joke.

    My rating is hard to complete, as this depends on if you take the time to make the changes noted, as such I averaged out some things. 1 out of 6 for theme is even too generous.”


    Pinball guru
    5,459,250 2

    “Popeye has one problem and that is .... you cant see where the ball goes when you shoot , but do you really neef to?. But it has some great rules , animations and sound. Give it a try , and dont be someone who judge a machine by someone elses experience.”

    “My first impression of this pin was "why does this game get bashed so badly?" Does it have some obstructed shots? Yes, but not as bad as you would imagine. I played a Popeye with the Bluto big rubber head replaced with the Bluto plastic, center shot was not as obstructed). The short lightning flippers can be cruel, but that's why they are used, to make the game more difficult. I have overlooked the poor choice of theme. My overall opinion of this game is I see a title that is fun but also challenging to play with deep rules, good art, great sound (funny vocalizations) and solid family title. A great bang for your buck DCS title.”

  • tilt-master has owned this game in the past.

  • “I am going against the grain here and rating Popeye high. Some of the shots are hard to hit and bounce off posts or are hidden underneath the upper playfield but I think that adds to the challenge. I love the various multiballs including the 7 ball multiball. The theme is pretty good too for those that are "green" / "save the whales" type folks. For the money, this is a great widebody game as far as value goes. Don't knock it till you have tried it a few times. My kids absolutely love it.”

  • MAJRob has owned this game in the past.

  • “Not a terrible machine, I certainly had fun playing it, but it just doesn't "pop" for me. The ark takes up too much playfield space IMO for what it is.”

    “Art work is good. There's lot to do to keep the game interested long time. Some faults in playfield design but nothing that can't be overcome. Much better game than getting credit for.”

    There are 36 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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