Swords of Fury (Williams, 1988)

Swords of Fury

Pinside rating

This game received 160 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.648 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #102 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.523

Artwork: 7.78

Sounds/Music: 7.347

Other Aspects: 7.637

Rating comments

There are 75 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.


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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 75 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 75 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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5 days ago
27 days ago
Great game of the 80's. rather simple from a gameplay point of view. But fun game to play. Love the multiball, getting up that mini playfield and getting your jackpot by hitting the lighted target. Sound is really super!

Love the dark theme!
64 days ago
Pros: Hard not to love. Excellent original theme (borrowed Tolkien influenced original that is). Fun shots, cool upper PF. Amazing music, probably #2 after Pinbot for SYS11 games. Good art and coherent design overall.

Cons: A bit easy. Rules could be better (slightly uneven scoring). Does become repetitive. Sword sounds on flippers becomes annoying.
84 days ago
A good old SS with an interesting layout and a great Synth sound track.
5 months ago
A fast action table that gets the blood pumping. The upper playfield is fun, the lock shot is challenging and the center post adds an interesting element. I really like the sound package overall - music, sounds and callouts are quite good. One of my favorite system 11 machines, although still a few more to try. There are a couple shots that often result in death when you make them, so you feel conned when the ball drains and the game does its evil laugh. But you learn and come back for more!
6 months ago
The music on this game is epic, one of the best pinball soundtracks. Its fast, fun, and has a very interesting playfield layout with hidden tunnels, sideways ramps, and a very full/tight look and feel.
8 months ago
SOF is an amazing game. Incredible layout. Very creative. Fun upper playfield (which is rare). Very little wasted space on the layout, aside from the "horseshoe" in the lower left. Right up there with Taxi vying for my favorite system 11 game.
8 months ago
I put this just next to Pinbot in coolness for system 11s: Two horseshoes, Three spinners, and a bank of non-sweepable drops.

Action/Per/Minute: high
Backhands: yes, both outside lanes are possible
Bonus Multiplier Goal: (unknown)
Dink Donk: good a little in the upper middle area
Drops: one bank top left
Drops Sweep: nope
Extra Balls: yes
Flippers: 4
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: progressive jackpot, extra ball goals
Hurry-ups: yes! good on on the upper center ramp shot
Inlane Lane Change: no
Inlane Ramp Release: no spoon-feeding ramps
Inlane Swoosh: very good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: (unknown)
Lane Change: no
MB Earning: yes, lock left lane
MB Fun: very good
Metal Ramp: none
Nudging: yes
Orbits (Repeatable): none
Outlane Fun: good
Pops: none
Rules (time/order): one good hurry up I know of
Shots (total): 10?
Skill Shot: nope
Slap-Saves: yes - it’s Williams
Spinners: 3 !
Stop'n'Go: almost none - just the ball lock (like grand lizard)
Taunting: yes
Toy/Gimmick: upper PF is very cool
Voice / V. choreography: somewhat… need more info

ART: great - love orange and light blue
SOUND: great music
FEEL: great
OVERALL: great
8 months ago
For its time this game was awesome. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to purchase one and I really love it. It takes me back to an era in time when I was young. Obviously the music is a 10 its the best music package hands down. The small loop shots are fun and I really enjoy the mini playfield.

My only gripe might be that you can backhand the lock if you capture the ball on the top flipper of the main playfield. Fun to steal your buddy's multiball and the jackpot is always a challenge worth getting.
8 months ago
Another shallow game. "Lion man" has to be the best call out in pinball.
9 months ago
Best soundtrack in all of pinball. Scores maxing out is a major flaw, but one of the only ones. I feel this game should really be in the top 100. also lion man.
10 months ago
Fun to play at an arcade, very tough. Call outs aren't the best and once you get on the upper playfield you get big points. Pretty one dimensional, but still fun
11 months ago
Nice looking game, with great artwork and amazing music, one of the more charming 80s games. Maybe not very lastable.
11 months ago
I owned this machine for over a year. I really wanted to like it, but it's the only machine (of my currently 17) that I've ever sold. If you're thinking about buying one, expect to spend a lot of time/money on that flaky strange drop target contraption on the upper playfield. Do your research.

I don't consider myself a tournament-worthy player. It's quite an easy game to play with no real challenging shots, so it just didn't hold my interest. Pretty much every time I played I would go over 10m points on Hard settings, and since it only tracks points up to 9,999,999, well.... that's not very challenging.

The way the drop targets work on the upper playfield is kind of cool, but I found it extremely easy to knock down those targets with that little flipper.

The sounds are kind of in the same vein as AFM or MM but somehow not as funny or engaging. I know, "LIONMAN!" yes it's funny but there are so few voice sounds they get old really fast. SOF's sophomoric PG13 sexual innuendo is charming, and the 80s sounds/music are solid, but it's not enough to make up for a weak game overall. I haven't missed it since I sold it a few years ago, and I don't need to play it again.
1 year ago
What a great table that I never had the chance to play before just recently!

For a game minus pop bumpers, and a unique and head scratching layout I was at first scared... but as I began to play I realized that this thing is a true classic that should not be missed. Game play wise, I can see how some may think this doesn't have many shots, but once you understand the nuances to the scoring, it becomes an addictive monster. I love the horseshoe lanes and the way the switches work for scoring and truly feel the mini playfield is one of the best out there.

3 games top my list in the music department (which is such an important element for any game IMO) and this one is one of them (Mystery Castle and Phantom of the Opera being the other 2).

The theme of a game is also big on my list, as I gravitate towards the scary and darker tables, and this one fits right in with the rest of my collection. The art is fantastically retro, and the colors used throughout are outstanding. The only thing I think could have used a bit more refinement would be the backglass. It's cool but just not as amazing as the playfield or side art.

Overall I'm in love and feel that this game needs a bit more recognition for truly trying something different in an era that was slowly changing to a more toy-centric pinball experience. Right now it's one of my most recent acquisitions and also one of my favorites. Hunt one down... I bet you'll like it!
1 year ago
I purchased a non working SOF. This was the first machine I had to replace a lot of components on. It was exciting the day I got it to 100%. It is a addicting machine to play and am so glad to have added it to my collection. I had never played this game before I owned it. The music is awesome too.
1 year ago
I have a hard time rating this game. I have a very, very nice one. That being said, I initially did not like this game much but over time have come to respect it as one of the better games I have played. Yes, LIONMAN is annoying to some players, but that is not a problem for me. What was a problem was it was the second game I ever owned, and it is fast and hard, so I was a bit put off by it. My son, on the other hand, says this is his favorite game in my collection. I once started to trade it and he got angry. It is fast, and, now that I am a better player, fun. As others have commented, the music is simply the best. When it goes on, you want to slap those flippers and get that ball racing around. the mini playfield is one of the best in pinball.
1 year ago
1 year ago
Swords has some of the best music in pinball IMO. Love the intensity of it and for getting you emotiionally tied to the game play. Great game that was at my local arcade growing up.
1 year ago
I love machines with good music: this is the best in pinball history.
I love games with that magic, evocative feeling: this is one of the best of them all.
There is something inexplicable in SoF: it's a legendary pinball experience, surely one of the most iconic games out there.
1 year ago
For a williams this one plays a bit clunky, dunno if that's particularly good or bad just it's noticeably different. Multiball, a jackpot, a mini playfield and even an old school horseshoe. Not everyone likes this one but i do as it fits my notion of instant fun.

Cabinet is alright and the runes are quite decorative, could probably suit a metalhead as much as a dnd fan without actually getting the bally dungeons and dragons i suppose, playfield is nice enough but the backglass is nothing special aside from the logo font.

Main thing here though is the soundtrack, i don't know what it is about this composer but clearly he's the only person on williams payroll back in the day who actually knew how to push their fm chip to it's limits as best evidenced in this alongside black knight 2000, space station and banzai run.

This soundtrack in particular is all synth 70s progressive rock, think alan parsons project for the main theme and it's variations along with a purely goblin style prog rock organ piece for the multiball. It really is all that and imo sufficient to justify owning the game which i certainly wouldn't mind.
1 year ago
If I hear "Lionman!" One more time.... Seriously, SOF has the best music of any pin I've ever heard. Great theme and good play. The over reliance on the magic play field makes it a bit monotonous and the lack of any ball save function makes it annoying for newer players. The multiball is good but again - no second chances with it. Generally a good game but the rule set in terms of what you're supposed to do can be confusing and not obvious. When I first got it, it wasn't obvious how to play it or what the objectives were like it is on most games. Still like it though even if it's mainly for the music!
1 year ago
"Lionman! Defeat the Balrog!"
(As new young pinheads "shoot their loads" in their pants)

A game most widely known for its soundtrack.
One of the great examples of music in pinball history.
No one forgets this music after listening to the game for the first time.
Brian Schmidt's best work in this industry area.

Don't believe me?
Go here:

Gameplay is solid, but a bit repetitive.
Ruleset is mediocre, but it really does not matter in this case, the game was not designed to play for "hours".
Colorful artwork, and fun game.
Gameplay is similar to F-14 Tomcat including the right ramp shot.
Mini playfield targets and assembly get bashed pretty hard due to ball launch shot into the game.
Ramp takes serious abuse as well.
Multiball windup is pretty adrenaline rushing.

Collector's quality examples are on the rise quickly for this machine.
Mostly as stated previously that people in their 20s are getting serious hard ons for the machine.
NOS parts are getting scooped up for restorations.
Reproduction parts have now been made.

Guess what?
This game has been popular for over 30 years.
All "hardcore" System 11 collectors have one, restored with new playfields.
Not everybody is going to have one, as there just as not that many left in good shape to maintain.
I owned several, but passed my last restored classic example onto a friend, who still has the game today, 15+ years later.

If you are Williams Systems 11 fan, this is a great pairing with games like BK2K, F-14 Tomcat, Whirlwind, and Earthshaker.

FINAL NOTE: "LIONMAN!" is not a pinball review, and has the same value as the term, "New Out of Box".
1 year ago
So many fun shots on this alternative to Sorcerer / Black Knight / Metal Man themes. The upper left PF has an interesting array of shots that add up to good points, and the u-ramp has several ways off. Great fun!

Love to have one of these in my collection someday.
1 year ago
There are 75 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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