Popeye Saves the Earth (Bally, 1994)

Popeye Saves the Earth

Total rating

This game got 134 approved ratings and currently scores 6.855 out of 10 points.

This ranks the game #269 in the Pinside Ranking.


Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 6.436

Artwork: 7.488

Sounds/Music: 7.104

Other Aspects: 6.534

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Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has rated this game.


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 56 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 56 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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2 months ago
I read so many reviews about this game and glad I did not listen. I am with some of the guys that are recently catching onto this title and give it positive comments. The only good thing about the negative comments is that I was able to get one at a reasonable price. What a fun game - animations are awesome, and really look forward to installing a color DMD into this one as it will fit the theme as Simpsons does with the DMD - cartoon theme. Don't let those comments about the upper play field steer you away from this one ... it is ABSOLUTELY NOT as bad as some say it is, and doesn't even come into play as a complaint of mine at all ... I mean there is a window you can see the roll over lanes just fine, and the upper play field covers the pop bumpers - so what. I love the play on the upper play field, very cool and challenging. I also like the rules, and so much more to this then just collecting the animals. Do folks even care to give this title a change?!

I was just trying to figure out what I would change in this game looking at the negative reviews. The upper play field is a cool idea, and wouldn't change this. Honestly, the left blue ramp is more annoying and wish they would of made this transparent/blue so you can at least so the play field through it. Wish there were more call outs, but once you get to play the game it's pretty obvious so not a huge deal there.

If you're looking for something as a cartoon theme and grew up watching popeye, you really cannot go wrong. I've paid more money for the newer sterns like TRON and AVATAR LE and I hate to say this but Popeye blows them away :-)
3 months ago
Totally under rated pin in my opinion. Finally got my hands on one and I love it. Art, sounds and gameplay are neat. Find swea pee is a nice feature. Loop shots are pretty satisfying. I might upgrade to a colordmd.
5 months ago
I LOVE THIS GAME. Deeper rule set, fun call outs, animations, toys. This game is amazing!

This game really snuck up on me...and I LOVE IT! I had heard a few things about it, none really good. Then played it briefly at the Asheville Pin Museum. Didn't really make a big impression on me there. I think there were some flipper issues with that one. Also game lighting wasn't stellar there.

Then I had the chance to play it again a few months later at a league night. And it really made an impression on me. Fast forward a little and Color DMD put out the rom for the game. I took another look at it, the rules the toys, the full package and WOW.

A lot of people say it's hard to see the shots on this machine. I KINDA see where they could be coming from but I find the shots to be very intuitive. This game is just plain FUN FUN FUN! Give it a second or third look. You'll be surprised.
5 months ago
This is a fun machine that has a few things that hold it back from being top tier. While a bit odd, the saving the planet theme really isn't too much of a stretch for Popeye. The hand drawn art on the cabinet and playfield is good. As with many Python games, there are lots of little humorous details that can be found upon closer inspection. I like the integration different characters like Popeye, Bluto, Olive, and Wimpy in the artwork and call outs. The music is decent during the main game and during the multi-ball. However, the somber tunes that play during modes are a little lackluster. There is a ton of content in the dots and the DMD animations are great overall.

The game is fairly deep and there are a handful of tasks and modes that have to be completed to get to the very satisfying 6 ball "Save Olive" wizard mode. The loop shots are fun and the game offers several multi-ball modes to work for. On the negative side, the upper playfield takes up a bunch of valuable playfield space and would have really benefited from some other shots or drop targets to hit. The skillshot wheel is an interesting idea, but a bit too easy to get exactly what you want every time once you learn it. There are some visibility issues since the upper playfield partially obscures the pop bumpers and the animal ramp partially covers the left outlane.

Overall, Popeye is an enjoyable game that's much more fun than many ratings I've read would suggest. I grew up with Popeye cartoons, which makes the overall package more appealing to me. Popeye is a game that has flaws, but it features a deep ruleset, good callouts, lots of interesting shots, and great DMD animations.
5 months ago
Not a bad game for the price, but could have been so much more. Excellent theme, but the biggest knock IMO is it should have been a standard body game. I actually like the upper playfield and don't mind the fact it someone obscures the shots on the main playfield. I just found the shots unsatisfying and ball times on the longer side.
6 months ago
Why under rated game. Yes, it is strange. But there is a lot to do with great modes and animations.
6 months ago

- Deep ruleset with tons of cool modes to activate.
- Great DMD animations.
- Wizard mode is difficult, you have to work for your awards!

- Well, blow me down! A widebody that has less playfield space than Safecracker!
- Find Swe'Pea could be the most difficult mode in pinball.
- Lock shot doesn't register most of the time + must be designed by someone 4 feet old because of size
- Rules are way too subtle for many pinball players to understand.
- Put your finger in the skill shot wheel to lose it!
7 months ago
Now that I've owned a nice quality Popeye, I now know enough about this underrated pin to give a fair rating.

The good:
1. Completing all the 3, 4, & 5 ball multi-balls & modes and getting to Olive Oyle's 6 ball multi-ball is nearly impossible and keeps me coming back for more. Popeye is getting more play time than my TZ lately. The upper playfield Swee' Pea mode is frickin' brutal, but super fun. Ball must be shot in either left, middle, or right lanes on the upper playfield. Swee' Pea is hidden in one of the rooms and the map to find him is displayed on the DMD. Follow the arrows on the DMD and save Swee' Pea. Incredible use of video and flipper integration.
2. The skill shot wheel is brilliant and allows the freedom to control the direction of the game. I love collecting the spinach can and hitting the loop shot right after to collect both the spinach can and spot an animal. This is a cool hidden feature.
3. Spinach cans are awesome because when lit throughout the playfield, gives player double the award on that particular shot. A quick way to earn high points is to get two spinach cans lit, obtain the 3-ball Bluto multi-ball, and sink the jackpot on the left ramp for double points (normal jackpot 30 Million--with spinach can lit jackpot is 60 million AWESOME!)
4. Animal kicker is a great! I'm surprised because at first, I did't care for it. Now that I really understand the importance of the animals (not only to the story, but balancing gameplay to reaching high scores), the blue ramp is an essential toy.
5. The theme is a bit of a risk, but I'm glad Python took it & created an original deep story around saving animals and the earth and putting an end to Corperate Bluto! Python was all about creating original content and he did an awesome job here. I'm sure all pin designers were getting pressured from the "money men" to create pins around "popular" licenses. Python did a wonderful job creatively under the license options that were available.
6. Extra ball shot on the (right) upper playfield is one of the best shots I've ever discovered in pinball. Get it for an instant knock--Brilliant!

The bad:
1. Upper playfield and animal ramp block the player's view on several key shots. This is not a game breaker for me, but can be frustrating while trying to nudge a ball away from left outlane. This is the big public complaint about Popeye, but I don't find the animal ramp obscuring the outlane any worse than STNG's cannons...funny!
2. Shots and awards are not called out regularly. Now that I understand the modes and rules, callouts are not all that necessary. I can understand why Popeye can be frustrating to a player unfamiliar with the ruleset. If you listen carefully, a ding or sound effect will alert the player to the newly achieved award or shot, but there' snot enough attention brought to the awards as compared to other 1990's high-mode pins.

There you have it! Popeye is great and I am really enjoying it. I will be posting a Popeye gameplay video and tutorial as soon as I can wrap my head around a few more strategies. If you see Popeye in the wild, give it a flip!
9 months ago
This is a very hard pinball machine because there is missing shoot again option when you start playing the ball and the final mode is also very difficult to reach but you have many posibilities to get "easy" extra balls in the elevator / replay / left ramp so it balances the difficulty. I think that the worst part of the pinball is a left animal game. It is not very nice but I can accept it because other game parts are really excellent! I loved this machine when I saw it first time. The light playfield is very nice and the design of the cabinet is excellent! The upper playfield is also great part and the wheel is a very good idea for a skill shot. You can also shoot the wheel from the upper plafield. I think that it is better option than play Swee Pie mission for ONLY 50 mil. At the end I would like to tell you: "If you have any possibility to buy thiis machine - DO IT! It is very funny and you will like it very much when you learn the rules." I like it with another games still more and more!
9 months ago
Disappointed. This game plays slow, the angles are poorly conceived... I wanted to like this.
10 months ago
Really enjoyed this game, wish I bought it when I had the chance. Theme is odd at best...when was popeye saving animals? Really liked the layout of the playfield...upper playfield was pretty cool. Rules weren't crazy deep, but enough to come back for more.
1 year ago
This is an excellent pinball machine .I have owned 5 of the machines in the top 30 rated games on this site , Popeye belongs among them , I still have Popeye . There is many little complexities in the gameplay that sets this game apart from other titles, I guess this is also why people don't like it. Somebody asked me once what one has to do in Popeye pin and I honestly did not have a short answer , there is just so much ! This table is much better at steeper angles.
1 year ago
It's fun but it is really easy.
1 year ago
My one-liner rating is:

I would rather play BBBB over PStE Any day of the week.

This game is so horrible, it doesn't deserve my time typing in these characters on my keyboard.


Horrible visibility on most anything on the main PF.

This game should have never been allowed to be made.

1 year ago
I like Popeye. Kids playing in the gameroom like Popeye. He saves the planet and the animals. I think that is a good influence of the younger generations. If you don't like that, you will probably change your mind later in life. About the planet that is.
1 year ago
I think is an incredible underrated machine
1 year ago
This game is awesome. On ipda Sumone wrote a bad review in the game rules/specs.
THIS ACTUALLY MADE THIS GAME AFFORDABLE! I'm so happy with the game play and upper playfield
i like this game better than a lot of others I've played. Even top rated games.
Give this one a chance u might like it..
1 year ago
Not great, could be so much better with this theme, look at the Popeye arcade. Upper playfield looks like a toilet seat. You can't see where to shoot. Left blue ramp obscures shots.
1 year ago
I don't know why this machine gets as much hate as it does. It's no TAF or TOTAN, but the gameplay isn't bad at all.
1 year ago
Popeye is destined to become a more sought after game when people start actually playing it before hating on it. In fact I get a kick out of reading ratings on it where people make negative comments that show they don't even know some of the most basic elements of a game they hate so much, like "The rules are a complete mess...saving animals or whatever." Nice try, but saving animals hardly equates to "the rules". You also need to find Sweet Pea, collect and return all the items to their owners, defeat Brutus in all 4 modes, rescue Olive Oyl and more. That person obviously never played the game more than once much like many of the haters...if even once. I was even guilty of this before. I used to say it was the worst modern era DMD game cause I heard other people saying it was...even though I hadn't even played it. For the longest time it was the only modern game I had never played or even seen. Now that I finally found one, I am glad I did. The layout is super unique, unlike anything else in a modern pin. The animations are top notch, the sounds and callouts are great, the rules are deep and the game is very challenging. Lightning flippers and huge outlanes make it very difficult. People freaking out about the eco-friendly theme go way overboard. I don't get the connection to Popeye, but it is integrated well nevertheless. The upper playfield obscuring shots is also blown out of proportion. It does obscure two shots, but with the pops there, many times you get a rebound into those holes just by throwing the ball up there, you don't need to see and hit a super accurate shot for those. Is the game perfect, absolutely not, but it's a great game for home use, since the depth and challenge are there it keeps me coming back for me. Some day, much like Congo and Shadow more recently, people will start playing Popeye, forming an opinion for themselves and actually start appreciating the game.
1 year ago
Wow. Popeye is truly a disaster. I so wanted to like this game! It can be found for so cheap, looks absolutely gorgeous, has tons of cool gimmicks, and is a very cool theme! It's just terrible though. I don't even mind that I can't see 1/2 the shots honestly, but more that it plays SO slow. I mean SLOW. Why this game was a widebody, I'll never understand. The toy on the left side of the game is terrible, and it's next to impossible to skillfully (vs accidentally) get your ball on the top playfield. For as much of the bottom of the PF the top one covers, you would have thought that it would have been more central to the actual game!
Definitely family friendly, but that's about it. I never want to believe the hype (good or bad) here on Pinside, but this one has an accurate reputation: pass.
1 year ago
Love Popeyes but didn't get into this one too much. The playfield is too open and hidden in the back. Did not have a good flow to it. Not a great pin and not much fun to play
1 year ago
I have owned this machine for 6 months and still have not completed every mission. That is why popeye is such a fantastic pin . It keeps you playing game after game . This game is probably too hard for a lot of players so they rate it low . The game is sometimes super fast and can then be slow which is cool . I love the upper playfield and the jackpot ramp is way harder to hit on multiball when it is worth 30 or 60 mil , when there was no jackpot you could hit it with ease . Also popeye is a great role model for kids to copy by consuming a green leafy substance through a pipe .
1 year ago
Don't understand why they would make 1/2 of the shots blind. The game is fast, yet I can't get over the fact half way up the play field you lose the ball. Liked the theme and this game is unique just not fun to play a ton.
1 year ago
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.
There are 56 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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