Pharaoh (Williams, 1981)


Pinside rating

This game received 37 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.332 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #176 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.274

Artwork: 7.875

Sounds/Music: 5.582

Other Aspects: 7.335

Rating comments

There are 12 rating comments for this game.

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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 12 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 12 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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7 months ago
I got sucked into ancient Egypt with the artwork, which is pretty damned good. OK, sound is minimal but it has its moments like the theme that plays when the game finishes. And sound is pretty minimal in an Egyptian tomb, no?

The game plays like an Indiana Jones adventure, but in a bad way. The lower PF is a death trap, (metaphorically) containing FAST boulders and booby traps...whose only apparent purpose is to gather magna points for the player. Unfortunately, this is about 2/3 of the PF. The upper PF is the tiny patch where you score your points.

Meh. The whole thing feels a bit claustrophobic for me; success depends upon the upper PF and the lower is just there to avoid/survive.
1 year ago
Of the early 80's split playfield games, this is my favorite. I am a huge fan of the theme and the artwork is amazing. Although it's not very deep, there are certain shots that are real rewarding and create a challenge that keeps me coming back. The two level playfield creates a fast game and can be unforgiving.
1 year ago
Underrated in my opinion. Maybe the two ball multiball drags it back a little in public opinion.

In my humble opinion, Solar Fire is the best of the 4 double playfield games, followed by Pharoah/BK tied for second and JL trailing behind.
1 year ago
I really loved Pharaoh! It stayed in my collection for quite a while and I played it a ton.
I didn't really want to sell it, but I had more pins coming in than going out; so...

The artwork on this game is really good. I always found it fun to point out the suggestive stuff in the backglass.
The gameplay rocked! It is a upper playfield heavy game, but the shots to get up there are satisfying. It's critical that the upper drops work correctly, or the game isn't worth playing.
Getting multi-ball gets easier over time, but keeping it alive and up is a challenge. I think the most satisfying is getting the extra ball. The target light to hit moves back and forth from upper and lower, so timing and accuracy is key.
I miss having it around.... But, some pinsider in IL is happy playing it now.
2 years ago
Great game for the early 80's. Love the 2 playfields. Magna save is cool.
Artwork on playfield and back glass is great
2 years ago
I played a modified version of Pharaoh at Zapcon 4 (2016) that was set up with no legs and odd controls. Still, it was fun and of the four Williams in the series, I like Pharaoh the best (then Solar Fire, then BK, then Jungle Lord, if you're curious).

The raised playfield is fun, but almost takes up too much space on this particular table. It's neat to watch the ball go off and explore on its own (where you can't see it), but I really need a little more room to shoot. Besides the cramped feel, I also think the raised pf shots are too hard or lack the capacity to allow the player to make a variety of shots. Still, the theme is great, the art is very detailed and eye-catching, and the overall game play is still fun.

I'd like to own a Pharaoh one day, so it's on my list. I recommend playing it several times with special attention to getting that raised pf shot to go through (you'll know the one when you play it).
2 years ago
Fun game, with great art. The shots have a good curve of difficulty. Good sound for its age as well. Rules are a little strange though.
3 years ago
Very fun two level playfield game. Often overlooked because of the incredible and classic Black Knight but still a very good and fun game. I prefer it over Jungle Lord for theme and the weird bagatelle on that one. Slightly prefer Solar Fire mainly due to theme but this one is a solid and fun pin as well.
3 years ago
One of my favorites. Love the color schemeing. And the design of pharaoh himself. I don't care for split level games but this one gets a free pass on that.
5 years ago
Some people really love Pharaoh. My opinion is out of the fabulous 4, this is the weakest of the brothers.

The Pros:
An interesting PF design. Artwork that will keep you looking at the game for months and still finding new and interesting things in it. 3 sets of targets, a trapped ball and 2 lanes on the top. Lots to do! Shots from the kicker on the left are timed. Magna saves are always sweet.

The Cons:
The game turns into a trap/backhand game with the shot to the upper p/f from the lower left flipper being your moneymaker. Lower PF is a non-factor. Play is, well, it's boring.

The Takeaway:
I'm happy to get a real tour from someone who knows this game in and out... but I'm just not getting a good feeling from this deck and the more I play this game, the less I like it. Not a good sign at all. Out of the Fab 4, this is the runt of the litter by a longshot. Jungle Lord has new respect in my eyes, even with the random bagatelle. BK is a great game, and Solar Fire is the best playing of these 4 tables.

There are some interesting strategies on the upper PF, but the lower PF is not where you want to be. Trap, post pass (if ya gotta) and put the ball in the hidden tomb for the safe shot and feed to the left flipper on the upper PF. This game may be a candidate for a few PF mods:

1) Small flippers on both sides of the upper PF.
2) A rubber band across the entrance of the Hidden tomb.

This may make this game more challenging. Or it may make it just downright un-playable. I'm curious to know if someone is willing to do this to their deck. Any willing test subjects out there?
7 years ago
Good looking machine with rather limited ruleset. Somewhat unbalanced layout, as the purpose of the lower - and very narrow - playfield is limited to rack up MagnaSave(tm) units. For the main feature you need to keep the ball on the upper playfield, multiball is a rather "useless" - playfield scores double - and the memorizing capabilities of the SS technology are completely wasted, as no achievement/value is held over to the next ball. The only "pros" beside the great artwork are the MagnaSave(tm) feature and the Bonus-Ball feature for two or more player games, IMHO.
7 years ago
I always play this game when I see it. The fact that it has a small lower play-field makes it tough for a novice. It looks great but it seems pretty shallow to me.
There are 12 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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