Medusa (Bally, 1981)

Medusa

Pinside rating

This game received 72 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.774 /10

7.774

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #68 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.767

Artwork: 8.479

Sounds/Music: 5.951

Other Aspects: 7.78



Rating comments

There are 28 rating comments for this game.


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 5 of us have rated this game.

8.18

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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.


Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.


Found 28 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 28 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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7.538/10
39 days ago
I like this game immensely despite hating the way it plays some times, and the generally symmetrical layout, because it revels in its oddity.

First off, a classical theme - the legend of Medusa! Complete with hunky drawings of gods, demi-gods, monsters, and heroes of both sexes so it's not sexist per se, just lurid. Did I say lurid? The artwork just gushes all over the playfield. It's a little hard to see, with darker brownish hues, but well worth taking in.

The playfield has upper and lower parts. There's three pop bumpers in the lower section. You access the upper playfield via the plunger (with a timed shot for various skill shot values), but not too hard, as it will bounce out the left side if you go full measure. So the skill shot is a combination of points reward and trying to to lay the ball into the upper playfield. You can also get back to the upper playfield through a center shot up through the bumpers, or via left and right orbits. While the orbits are symmetrical, the left has bonus X advances and the right has progressive points values.

On the right of the lower playfield is a bank of drop targets, and the big scores are made by getting the drop targets down here while getting the mini-drops and saucer value in sequence in the upper playfield. In general you want to get it up the left orbit for bonus X and work the upper playfield as much as possible, but you can't entirely ignore the lower playfield.

The upper playfield's flippers are a throwback - old school two inchers, complete with the old Gottlieb-style lock-together on a timer if you hit the A and B lights on top.

On the bottom is the devious snake-like feature, ugly outlanes with double posts that are like navigating Scylla and Charybdis (just to mix up our mythological tales a bit), plus the bumpers that are major hazards if they get hit from below. The outlanes eat balls incredibly, and if you have a tight tilt it's quite difficult to nudge them back. But it can be done, as an advanced skill, so it's a player's feature in some ways, although you'll be cursing Medusa and her stoney drains fairly certainly.

I tend to dislike symmetry, bad hazard outlanes, and survive-or-die rules sets, yet I like this machine. Go figure.
8.237/10
44 days ago
Medusa's allure is in its challenge. The skill shot requires impeccable timing and reflexes, to the extent that I have rarely, if ever, seen anyone purposely get it. After that, the challenge is to keep the zipper flippers closed (if set to open after a certain amount of time without hitting a drop target), keep the ball from rocketing down the orbits, and aim for the top bank of drop targets and upper-left saucer repeatedly. If and when the ball reaches the lower playfield, the main objective is to avoid draining (obviously) and return the ball to the upper playfield to repeat the drop target bonanza.

This is, admittedly, a bit repetitive in nature, and it is unfortunate that the general consensus is that the lower playfield is barely worth a second glance. This is, of course, with one major exception: the Shield of the Gods. Medusa has a second button behind the flipper button that activates the Shield of the Gods, a vertical kickback feature integrated into the center post. Making saves with this feature is immensely satisfying to do. I have had my Shield gently bump the ball to a flipper, as well come straight down from the top and returned, like a tennis ball, back up to between the upper flippers, and every successful save has made me smile. Activating the Shield is not a desired necessity, as it drains some opportunity for end-of-game bonus, but it does make you feel incredibly skilled for at least a few seconds on a game that can be pretty harrowing, particularly on the outlanes.
6.772/10
8 months ago
Medusa has a deceptively simple layout that challenges the player to pop all the drops possible to rack up the points. The art is fun and caters to fans of the Western mythology. My only complaint about the machine is that there are times when it can get repetitive after the zipper flipper fun is over. Head to Neptune's Cove!

I'd like to have one of these someday, but they seem overpriced for now. Play if you see it, for sure.
6.303/10
8 months ago
I understand why others like this game. Artwork is great. However this is a players pin. Had it for years and my kids absolutely hated it. They simply refused to play it. After awhile I realized I was not playing it either. It actually has a shot that deducts points. Buy this for hardcore pinheads not for family and casual players.
9.326/10
10 months ago
Probably my favorite 80's game, even better than Sorcerer.
8.282/10
1 year ago
An early 80s Bally game with ZIPPER FLIPPERS? How can you go wrong! Damn this game is freakin' awesome! Badass art, I love the upper playfield with the different drop target patterns and the saucer. The Shield of the Gods is ridiculous, I don't think I've ever successfully used it actively. Sweet skill shot on the game too.

Almost every single Bally game from around 1979-1982 is a top tier game in my book, and Medusa is no exception.
7.397/10
1 year ago
This game plays as if it has two playfields and it's fairly brutal, there's no pause in the action whatsoever unless you want to count trying to set up a shot with the closed zipper flippers or the one kickout hole but really they don't do much for respite. Instant fun yes but boy is it hard for me.

In fact because it's so in your face i think this would be a good candidate for a game where i do not mind the absence of multiball in the slightest as i can just picture it leading to even more and swifter drains, also for some reason the emphasis being on timed shots which i normally dislike really makes sense and fits.

Synthesized voice is spooky and the sound effects are good, background hum is functional but otherwise meh.

Cabinet is quite an attractive gold on crimson, playfield is a touch cartoony but it works and looks good and it has very striking backglass.
7.735/10
1 year ago
"Challenge Medusa..."

Another collectible Early Bally on par with EBD, Centaur, Fathom, and Xenon.
One of the few games that included upper level "zipper flippers" in the early SS era.
Outstanding artwork on the playfield and backglass, resulting in both being reproduced for collectors.
Solid game play, but less invigorating than Vector or Fathom in terms of difficulty.
Harder to find overall based on production, but worth the effort.
7.865/10
1 year ago
Medusa is an awsome game with a great theme, awsome artwork and backglass, the post is a cool feature, and it has good rules and a good layout.
9.333/10
2 years ago
Great looking game. Fun player. I have played two of these in real nice shape. You should see more of these now that the targets are being reproduced. I hope so as I want one.
9.684/10
2 years ago
This game is amazingly different to my Lost World. It's incredible to think that Bally made this machine 4 years after Lost World and packed as much as humanly possible into the game. I haven't figured out the entire ruleset yet, but it's got so much going on and just reeks of 1981! (in a very good way). I have found it to be quite fun with the upper playfield and the extended time option is great! Not to mention the Shield of the Gods feature which has saved a great many drains. I popped in some color changing LEDs behind Medusa's eyes and it looks great to see some color shifting there. Although, I think I'm going to swap out for red LEDs since my color changers get out of sync after awhile. Overall, an awesome game from the early 80s!
8.147/10
3 years ago
In my youth, I spent a lot of time and money on Madusa. Now I want to buy an old lady in good condition for my own exclusive use.
10.000/10
3 years ago
Medusa is one of my all time favourite pins, in fact, I'd have to say its in my top 5 pinball games of all time!
I was born in 78, Medusa came out in 81 when I was 3yrs old. I discovered this game at age 36, I took one look at it & a few little plays & that was it for me, I was taking this baby home with me no matter what!
And take it home I did. I have enjoyed playing Medusa regularly, I would say not a week goes by where I don't have a play. I could never sell it, ever. I would never be able to replace it, these early 80's Bally games are not only rare & hard to find but the value on them keeps going up year after year & for good reason, these early Bally's are the best pinball games ever made.

Medusa takes a long time to learn the complex deep rule set. It is not an easy game, & scoring over a million is considered a good game, but take the time to learn the rules & you can achieve much bigger scores. You can't really learn all of Medusa's rules by just reading up on them, you need to play the game plenty & you will have a lot of "ahaa" moments.

Medusa would have to be the best looking pinball machine ever. With such beautiful playfield artwork & plastics not to mention the lighting on this thing, love the silk screen backglass too.

I would also say IMO Medusa is one of the best & most challenging pinball games ever made!

I will wait till my son is a bit older & then teach him how to play it & one day I will pass it down to him.

To sum it up, Bally Medusa gets an easy 10/10, cannot recommend this game highly enough, flippin fantastic!!
7.958/10
3 years ago
Just bought Medusa as my first non-DMD era game. I was looking for a game that played fast, had some cool, unique features, and had attractive artwork. Medusa had all these. I could have purchased a Fathom or Paragon, but for the price point (Fathom) and game features Medusa won out. The zipper flippers are very unique allowing a separation between the upper/lower playfield which consequently allows separate "rule areas" or effectively two playfields. The center, numerical display in the playfield is unique for me and helps keep track of extra ball match counters and two other game play counters. Easily seen. Has a "flippable" center post too. I love the backglass and playfield artwork. The game play rules are a little hard to understand at first, but once you understand the basics shots and awards, it becomes obvious how to score big points. There are a lot of ways to score points and the challenge is to collect/advance these awards in parallel. This is a single ball game, but I really don't miss multi-ball on this game. This must have been an advanced game in its time, but it still is attractive today for its game features, challenging play, and artwork.
7.104/10
3 years ago
Good for its era
8.846/10
3 years ago
Epic machine from the best year for bally and possibly pinball itself. I own it and love it. Great voice call outs, ok "music" / sounds. Awesome cabinet art and the playfield art is sweet mcskeet. Backglass is pretty cool looking. The game is loaded with features. The 7 rear targets are mesmerizing, they roll like a wave its quite a sight your first time seeing it. And what other machine has mini zipper flippers, I dont think any. How cool are the zipper flippers, I mean really? Those two things in itself would be enough to earn this machine respect, but they didnt stop there. The lightbar in the rear, 4 pop bumpers 4 more drop targets 4 flippers, lights underneath the flippers. Alright i get it. Badass machine to own or play. I love it.
8.578/10
3 years ago
Medusa is one of those early 80's Bally pins that has beautiful and creative artwork.

The sounds are also vintage early Bally with the cool voice similar to Centaur and Fathom.
Upper playfield with zipper flippers is a neat gimmick but the game isn't easy. The challenge of a good game adds to the respect many players give it. Rules are pretty cool for that time period and lower playfield is tough as outlanes are usually unforgiving.

They also didn't make many of them so it could be considered a collectible piece much like many of the above mentioned Bally titles.

Great pinball machine in my opinion!
7.031/10
3 years ago
Very cool and unique table layout, love the use of small flippers on the top playfield, very cool indeed!
9.340/10
3 years ago
awesome game for playing and art work is unreal bonus is the zipper flippers
6.404/10
3 years ago
Very colorful game. Kind of a one trick pony with the upper playfield and Neptune saucer being the best way to score points. Outlane setup is odd and ball saves are dependent on fate alone. Middle display takes some time to figure out.
9.176/10
4 years ago
love my medusa!
9.014/10
4 years ago
Splending game. Beautiful artwork. The upper part of the PF is great. Deep rules. Zipper flippers and the "movable" central post make this game very interesting. The skillshot itself is very interesting - you do not only need to launch the ball with the proper strength, but also at the proper time.

Cons:
The lower part of the PF is a bit less interesting. Outlanes are unforgiving.

Edit: played it again yesterday... even better than what I remember!
8.457/10
4 years ago
This is easily the most fun early Bally SS. Love the theme. Stunning artwork. Great light show for a game of this era as well.
6.637/10
4 years ago
Very cool game neat layout
9.059/10
4 years ago
Medusa is a Bally game that needs to receive more respect that it gets. It's a great playing table and a shooter's delight.

The Pros:
11 drop targets and zipper flippers. How cool is that! Feels like there are 2 pf's when there is only 1. The only other table that really does this for me is Grand Lizard. Action is fast and you need to keep your eyes on the ball to keep it out of the inlane/outlane mazes. A different in/oulane layout requires nudging skills all the way down past the posts. The Shield of the gods requires skill to get that ball back onto the PF. This table has one of the best skill shots ever.

The Cons:
Not too many were made. The Art on the PF is incredible, but it gets trashed to the qood quite often. This game is screaming for multiball, it has the saucer for it... How does extended play work?

The Takeaway:
A brilliant game with lots to do. Shooting all the variants of the drop targets will keep you on your toes for a long time. Check out the secret Hoo-ha shot on the flyer image here on the site. Kevin O'Connor is the man!

Update:
A friend got a nice copy and I got to session it out with TrenTaur. He showed me a few new things on this table. This deck has the best skillshot for timing and ball speed. If you can roll over all 5 targets in sequence, that makes the spinner valued up to 2500 a spin! Good luck, it is a true skill shot in every sense. The game really is about keeping the ball on the upper PF and collecting bonus from the saucer. This gets lit every time you complete a drop seq. The outlanes on this game are frikkin' death!!! Stay away from the sides! Even with a rubber bumper between the lanes it still seems to be 75/25 - 80/20 outlanes to inlanes! Learn to use the shield of the gods as an inactive as well as an active post. It WILL save you on this table. The sound pax is interesting with a few Defender sounds thrown into the mix and the voice on this game is well done. Between the zipper flippers and the Shield of the Gods, this is a very interesting and feature laden deck. Find one if you can and learn some skills!

In summary, upper PF good. Lower PF bad. Play on...
There are 28 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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