Ripley's Believe It or Not! (Stern, 2004)

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Pinside rating

This game received 343 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.007 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #43 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.237

Artwork: 7.652

Sounds/Music: 7.473

Other Aspects: 8.162

Rating comments

There are 162 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 4 of us have rated this game.


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Ranking history

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Rating history

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

Found 162 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 162 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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10 days ago
This game has a pretty cool layout and a surprisingly deep rule set. It plays a lot like dialed in with the modes being the main focus and completing them is how you make it to the final wizard mode. There are plenty of modes and things to do but unfortunately the art is pretty bad on this game. Other than the art I think this is quite a good game from stern.
80 days ago
Playfield is packed - rare to see a Stern game with this many goodies. Code is very deep almost to the point of being unbeatable. Has the feel of a Williams/Bally game. Quality of build is very good!
4 months ago
Lame..What can I say ... Seems cool..I just couldn't get into it. To many roller skating Penquins.. LoL The ModFather
4 months ago
RBION may be one of those love it or hate it machines, but it's all Lawlor at its heart, and this is a champion's game among the early Y2K era Stern.

The playfield doesn't break a lot of new ground, but you'll instantly see self-quotation from Twilight Zone, Addams Family, and the 80's classic Lawlor machines such as Earthshaker. Among the familiar features: a between the bumper shot to the left (although relatively inconsequential for scoring in RBION), two tight up the middle shots and a close standup bank almost dead center set against a scoop, multiple top flipper orbit shots, and low side features. It has a second plunger lane, albeit an autofire one for locked balls, another Lawlor standard feature. There's even a talking giant head (the shrunken head), although thanks to the vintage and manufacturer it's not an actual moving head ala Red, Ted, Rudy, et alia.

The final product is a maven's variety of shots - fore and backhand options for almost every shot are available, none of them too easy (although the right ramp is pretty low difficulty), and while there's a little start and stop with some of the scoops, in general the action is pretty free flowing and can get fast. It's extremely easy to get a multiball of some sort (half the modes are multiballs) but the "main" multiball of three balls takes a reasonable sequence of shots, and the wizard mode is hellaciously difficult to get to, requiring successful completion of all the modes. There's a sort of bonus multiball, the slyly named RIPOFF mode, that's independent of the modes or the main multiball.

What sets RBION apart, though, is the layering. Modes can be stacked, and using the tic-tac-toe gimmick temple up the center ramp to time things like the 2X playfield in combination with one of the multiballs - or if you're truly amazing, the Atlantis mode - can lead to amazing point totals for rounds that normally feel like chicken feed. Because there's a set of several progressive goals, while it doesn't have the extremely deep rules set of some more recent vintage machines, it makes for a variety of game play and goals.

The Stern engineering is a blessing and a curse: game control is relatively easy, and outlane drains are boring (none of the panic of the left outlane of TZ), but flipper touch isn't as elegant as the classic Lawlor Williams machines. There aren't as many playfield toys -- a Bigfoot or a Rollerskating Penguin, or an actual Idol instead of an illustrated one, wouldn't have added more than a few bucks of cost and would have added to the fun factor.

Now, as to the theme (and artwork). This is where the love-it or hate-it aspect comes in. Ripley's itself is an old school throw back to a pre-internet time when a lot of weirdness in the world that was real, some that was fake, and whether any of it was significant or not was hard to evaluate. The Sunday RBION columns and the even older newsreels and traveling super-side-shows, only a few steps away from a carnival freak show, weren't exactly textbook anthropology or natural history, nor were they culturally sensitive by modern standards, but they did pique interest in people about things outside their sphere of experience. Fun, yes, even if you were left wondering whether it was all BS.

This is where I think it's a great Lawlor theme. Even though it's licensed, there's quite a bit of Lawlor whimsy built in that pokes gentle fun at the theme (not taking Ripley seriously, having him as a pseudo Indiana Jones figure as he painted himself in the 20s and 30s, the occasional self-deprecating joke such as "Ripoff" Multiball) while incorporating the essence of the old Ripley's books and strips (the Odditorium, with its one-line weird facts) and incorporating a sort of 1930's travel the world feeling. So it's supposed to be sort of dark, dusty, and leathery, like one of those local museums you stumble upon that hasn't been updated in sixty years. I can fully see why this might not appeal to some people, but if you're in the right mindset, it can be lots of fun to go along with the theme. My kids have enjoyed talking along with the Shrunken Head and reading the "facts" and looking for jokes and easter eggs. It's strange. And very unlike a lot of playfields in that regard. An acquired taste, yes, perhaps.

So, calling it "Stern's Twilight Zone" or "The Poor Man's Twilight Zone" are both fairly apt descriptions - it's not quite the equal of TZ or TAF but it's a very playable machine with its own rewards, and a celebration of odd and funky like the best of Lawlor with his fascination alternating between disaster zones and freakish characters.
4 months ago
Trying to find Atlantis isn't easy!
4 months ago
Just got this machine and so far I'm stuck on it! The ramps are cool but not easy to hit and the orbit shots are really fun too. The game is pretty deep with rules but that's the way I like my pins. It has a tic tac toe game that you play with the left ramp that makes hitting it more interesting. The sounds are not that great but not that bad. Overall I'm liking the feel of this game.
6 months ago
Not a bad game from stern
6 months ago
The closest a Stern game came to being an original Lawlor theme, and overall it's pretty good. The playfield layout has Lawlor written all over it, but with enough variety such as the vari-target and tic-tac-toe ramp to set it apart from the crowd. The rules are relatively simple to understand, but there's plenty for seasoned players to work with as Atlantis and Frog Frenzy are not easy to reach. The audio and music is quirky, almost annoying but passable. The art isn't as great as Youssi's previous efforts but still looks okay and at least it's handdrawn! Overall I've spent alot of time on Ripley's and whilst I wouldn't own it I still think it's a tonne of fun :)
8 months ago
Just like Road Show, this game is problematic in its depictions of people of color. It is a really fun game, however, and could benefit from a little 2.0 adjustment...
9 months ago
Cool layout, great rules. But, lacks excitment which hurts fun factor and in turn makes the game a bit of a grind.
10 months ago
RBION is a game I keep wanting to come back and play.
I don't own one, but a few locals do, and I always think about wanting to buy one I like it so much.

I'm a huge Ripley's fan, so the pin appeals to me aesthetically as well as for a fun pin to play.
Would pick one up in a heartbeat if I could.
1 year ago
Is this the ugliest great game, or the greatest ugly game? I love it! So much to do. It's so ugly it makes my eyes hurt.
1 year ago
Ripley's is a very good and underrated game.

Really fun gameplay!
The playfield is packed but doesn't feel claustrophobic
Lots of shots from all 3 flippers
Mode based gameplay with balanced scoring forces you to play different areas of the playfield
Good but not great theme integration, artwork, dots, and sound
Difficult skill shot

Tic-tac-toe board is essential to gameplay but a boring as the central artwork feature. In general the artwork fits the theme but could have been better.
The sound and dots could use more variety
Both sets of pop bumpers underutilized
Awkward left exit from upper pops
Vari-target doesn't do much. It resets immediately so it ends up functioning just like a standard mode hole
1 year ago
I can't stand that fake rasta sounding voice, it totally ruins the game for me, along with that stupid crap in the upper left corner that's way too big.
1 year ago
I have only played this title a few times it was a little confusing at first due to its deep rules . But the shots felt good and played well. It also didn't feel as cheaply made as some other sterns. The think the game is under rated.
I'll be adding this to my collection soon I think this machine is a good value as "A" list and new pinball prices rise to unobtainable levels. I'll revisit this ratting after I put some more time on it.thanks.
1 year ago
I never liked this pinball game. I gave it numerous times, but I just couldn't get into it. I didn't like the rule set that much, and it wasn't very exciting. I got bored very quickly. I will never drop another quarter in this game.
1 year ago
It's a very interesting pin. The theme is travelling around the world. Didn't quite click with me but I can see how it could be interesting.
1 year ago
For the family one of the best all around games. The kids love it because it's fun and the lights and calls are fantastic. For more experienced players there is a deeper rule set that is challenging.
1 year ago
Ugly pin, regrettable theme, but a blast to play. Deep and satisfying ruleset, it is probably Lawlor's best Stern pin.
1 year ago
I love the looks and the theme. That's the best part of this machine. The layout is great too. It was the first pinball machine that really got my attention. It's fun for beginners, but lacks the challenge beyond that imo. The sounds got annoying for me, and the music was lacking. It went from a machine I really wanted to play to the machine I avoided over and over again. I did like the lighting. I also had a lot of fun with the ramp and number lottery. That's fun to me for some reason.
1 year ago
theres a decent amount to do in this game but overall fun level is low.
1 year ago
The HUO unit I played was stunning. One of the fastest pins I've ever played. Deep rules, 3 different multi ball modes & non stop action. Believe it!
1 year ago
1 year ago
Very underated game. Would have one if I had more room.
1 year ago
A respectable design effort by Stern.

Solid, deep ruleset and great variety of shots.
The game design was definitely a tribute to Pat Lawlor's creativity, and did not constrain him.
The game is generally very confusing to new players, as the callouts are not always clear.
The talking shrunken head and announcer voices dominate the game, which some do not like.
Music is uniquely identifiable from other pinball machines.
Build quality is average.
Mechanical design is above average
Artwork quality is average.

If you do not mind the artwork, it is a very good player's machine, but still has that Stern "cheap production" quality feel about the construction unlike most Bally/William machines.
There are 162 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 7.

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