cait001's ratings

Pinsider cait001 has rated 36 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms cait001's personal top 36.

Rating comments

cait001 has written 33 rating comments:

1 year ago
Woodrails make you think a bit differently about pinball since it's not always about SCORE, but also REPLAYS. how you wanna bring this in to the modern era, maybe say each special received is worth 400k?
It doesn't really need that modern thinking though, it's got plenty going on to shine through.

This is sequence game: you have to hit (inactive) bumpers 1 through 5 IN ORDER. Precision plunging is an essential skill to nail that 1 bumper and have it bounce to hit the 2. Getting the ball back to the top can be tough (but doable with practice,) but the center target will spot whatever your next light is. (there are also alternating lit rollovers to spot the next one)
Complete all 5 and the bumpers go from 10k, to 20k. Then to 100k! If you complete it 3 times, each bumper is then lit for a special, and you can rack up a pile of replays here, getting a satisfying KATHUNK each time.

There are 5 rollovers to spell R-E-G-AT-TA but the final two are in the outlanes. The hardest one to hit is the R at the top though. Spell REGATTA for specials, but more importantly the letters also award 500k, so they're your best bet in going for a competitive score and trying for specials via points. Mind you, aiming for the E and G lanes isn't easy.

2 active bumpers in the center + 2 slings give lots of good action. Rubbers all along the bottom make this a game for anyone who delights in nudging and patient/clever ball saves.

Flippers are normally powered, NOT impulse, which is great for this game.
Just a fabulous playing woodrail.

The art on the playfield is a bit meh, but hey there's a lot of info to pack in there. Backglass is nice and all, but I'm not a fan of the erratic number placements, though it was fairly standard for the era. The columns of flags are useful. The cabinet itself is gorgeous and has wonderful angled wooden legs.
If you get a chance to get one of these, don't sleep. They're very affordable and a tonne of fun.
1 year ago
I'm rating this game within context: this is one of the last flipperless games to be released before Humpty Dumpty introduced flippers to pinball.
With 7 kickers on the playfield this gives the most action of almost any of the era, only Bally's Rocket coming close with 5 kickers. But perhaps 7 is too many, as there are minimal opportunities for bounces off the rubber and thus less skillful nudging.
the art on the playfield is excellent, again with few examples (like Rocket) edging it out. The backglass art is well done kitsch and some people might really want the "barker selling tickets to a risque show" theme. Thank goodness the "Girls from all nations" is mostly just implied and it doesn't rely on major cultural stereotypes of the time.

Your main goal will always be to guide the ball to the bottom of the playfield, past the main trough, to the 10k-scoring "Free ball" hole so you can fire it again.
The game has a "special" condition, but like Rocket it is just hard-wired to a score, so once you hit a specific score, the special is lit, and then you advance your score and it's not lit. Ho hum. For flippless games I highly recommend the sequence games where it's much more about your precision plunging to collect all of the elusive numbers to light the special! Those games give you a sense of building and progress.

There is a "Super Special" as well but it's mostly just a waste of playfield space. there are lanes on the left+right mid-playfield and it's nigh impossible to get into them, and then hitting the super special bumpers at the bottom in the same game? Good luck. It barely feels possible, even though I know it technically is.

Bonus points for the lit ball-feed plastic dome, the same style used in bingo machines at the time.
Mine doesn't have a conversion kit, but plenty do. If an operator had replaced the lower dead flippers with impulse flippers this game could be a lot more fun and engaging, because as a flipperless machine it doesn't have the design to reward the plunging and nudging.
1 year ago
It's really hard to find things to deduct points for. 5/6 on toys/gimmicks because I want to save room for the LE/Premium's improvements. Only 5/6 on lighting because there's no crazy effects? I'm trying to be critical here... but it's just such a solid machine.
I had a Data East JP for years and I'm relieved how this situates you as a park ranger in the JP movie instead of just rehashing the movie plot points of Adventures With Children.

The shots are a delight. The upper loop, the raptor tower. The off-the-tip side shots to the helicopter, raptor pen, and control room. Even that dang 'O' shot is satisfying, even if it's the hardest in the game to nail.
I love the animations, the thunderous classical score, the mix of new voice overs with familiar movie themes. The T-Rex modes, the dino rescues, the raptor pen, even the bonus-count screens are well done.
The theming even nails the story, bringing you in as a new employee before the systems start failing.

The newton ball car is a great bash target, and I like there are consequences of placement, like having it on the left side can be important if you're looking to take your Smart Missile shot. The use of up-posts is subtle and effective.

Elwin has brought younger blood to pinball design, and it's striking. There are no cheap drains.
The coding keeps pace, too. There is almost always multiple things to build and work towards.
This feels like one of the most luxurious "Pro model" machines I've ever played.
5 years ago
It plods along, but I find the extra patience and different physics really appealing. And the theming is kind of perfect. I always play a bunch of games whenever I have the chance. A very unique and pleasant experience if you can find one that works.
Probably the lowest-rated game that comes with the caveat that I'll ALWAYS want to play it when I see it.
5 years ago
I thought that Top Score was one of my favourite EMs, until I discovered Super Soccer.
Take Top Score / 300, remove the bagatelle lane on the right and put a reciprocal spinner in. Also add more rollovers for an advancing skill shot.

The backbox animation is incredibly satisfying, and the need to shoot for the bonus collect hole makes the game a tonne of fun. So basically Top Score, except you can easily rip a spinner from either flipper.
One of my favourite EM games.
5 years ago
Kick Off (and I am assuming the 2-player equivalent Quarterback) is an excellent and vastly underappreciated EM game. It is probably one of the best 4-player titles, up there with Surf Champ and Top Score.

First, this game needs to be set up properly: fresh bouncy rubbers everywhere. Very steep slant. You want each drop catch to be a real risk.

The game will test your mettle as a player, and will force you to play by it's rules. You have to learn when to wait, to predict the bounces, to know when you can or can't drop catch, to play it live...
Down by the flippers there is almost no safe moments. Even if you catch the ball, if it rolls upwards on the bottom flippers, it might just roll the short distance straight to the outlane.
There are 5 ways to drain, so get ready.

The rules are pretty great, too: Get 10 soccer balls to advance a 10 yards marker. Spinner advances a soccer ball. some rollovers and switches give 5. When lit, the standup and rollovers give a full (and lucrative) 30 yards instead.
Get a 1000 bonus increment for each 20 yards. Get to the GOAL once, get 5000. A second time: extra ball. Third? Special.

Get the drops all down, get the next GOAL award. Getting them down a second time gives a special, but should also almost never happen if you have the game set difficult enough.

Nudging is a must to keep the ball under a semblance of control. Bumpers in the outlane give a chance to nudge the ball back in if you can raise the top flippers up. Nudging is needed to hit the lit lanes whenever you get the ball to the top.
Even slap saves are different on this game. Slap it and perhaps project it up from the bottom flipper? Or do you need to keep that other flipper down lest the ball is "saved" only to be projected to the outlane?

The playfield art is basic, but I love the colours. The backglass vibrant even has an unlicensed FIFA mention. Would highly recommend grabbing this game if you ever have the chance. An excellent game, even if you don't have much room for EMs. Also great for competition.
6 years ago
A classic game dragged down by some major flaws.
Let's start with the good news: Lots of shots have great flow, and the music and sound effects can't be beat.

Cons? Having logos advertising on the playfield was a crass move.
The Wall shot is too specific to hit casually, especially to loop. Thankfully Ritchie corrected that mistake in later games.
But the biggest disappointment is the wall of standups on the left that are basically inconsequential. It would be amazing if they maintained the original drop target bank there, and had it really factor in to the game play.
Achieving Williams letters, which persist from game to game, is just tedious. Oh and did I mention locks carry over between balls/players/games? So don't expect to use this in a tournament ever.
Really, so many things about this game seems designed for it to be a coin-sucker on location, and not to be a great game for the player.

The left outlane is a chasm, but I kind of don't mind that considering how accessible the standups for relighting the ballsave are. Some risk/reward.
6 years ago
This game was almost boring me until I switched the flippers to super rubbers and suddenly the added control really opened the game up.
I am playing the fan-modded ROM and the rule improvements make this game oh so much better.
6 years ago
This game needs to be modded for home use: make the Special also reward 50 points. If not, you're just racking up free games when it doesn't matter, and not getting points for all of your hard work.
Central Park is all about the upper playfield. Far more points to be had at the lit bumpers than making the risky standup targets.
Still lots of fun, and who doesn't love that dang monkey?
6 years ago
There is no denying that this game is a classic. So many toys, great sounds + animations, lots of great shots.
But for some reason the longer I have it in the lineup, the less and less I come back to it.
Maybe I have found a type of pinball machine where I actually just prefer to play it on occasion in someone elses's lineup?
6 years ago
Stars is a great game available for what I think is a bargain. The early Sterns are having a bit of a collector renaissance, with most touting Meteor, but I dare say Stars is superior to Meteor in some crucial ways.
The key with Stars is that it constantly offers shifting situational play. You can work towards lighting the Stars via standups to build the right spinner (and collect the roving 50k if you get them all,) or you can work the drops. Left spinner is 200 + 400 for the center target of each drop target bank. First time you drop a trio, they all reset, and your left spinner is back to 200. Next time(s) requires all 6 down. But maybe you really want to finish and take the 3x multiplier reward? Maybe you now have the right spinner built enough to take that bonus?
The dynamic value of the left spinner, with the right spinner value that builds, offers very unique gameplay strategy. It makes Meteor feel more one-dimensional in comparison.
A caveat is that if your an A-group player, Stars might not be so amazing as you can probably call each shot and make it. But for the C-level and even B-level players, the situational play will come forth in a big way.
Chimes and art are classic for the era. Only thing to dislike is the one Star target that you can't hit directly.
6 years ago
Bright and colourful and loaded with goodies on the playfield, I really wanted to like this game more than I did.
The playfield has a fundamental issue that it is so cluttered, it is almost impossible to get the ball up to the top.
That becomes an issue since the most important scoring features are at the top: to build the drop value, you have to collect pairs of holes/standups, but good luck shooting for the first 2 sets at the top. You're best bet is hope for a good plunge and get them.
But that's another issue: A skillful soft plunge will get you 500 points at the center lane rollover. 5 balls, 5 skillful plunges, and you can get 2500 points without flipping, which is a higher score than a typical game where you miss the skill shot.
If there as a clear path to shoot to the top, this game would be a lot better. But as it sits, it's still a bunch of fun and a great value for the price it commands.
6 years ago
Apollo 13 is my goto example of how to implement a theme to perfection, but tragically not make nearly as much fun as it could have been.
I found all of the shots tight and non-intuitive, to the point where I am just not enjoying them. The mode start is an awkward shot to the far-right that sometimes does not quite stick. That sadly drags it down right there.

The sounds and animations? Fabulous. I hadn't seen Apollo 13, but it made me want to. The game artists did a wonderful job of bringing the movie to life in pinball form. No complaints there.

13 ball multiball? Meh.
Not really fun, and you enter your initials every time you get it, regardless of score. ick. I eagerly await an enhanced ROM where each player has a fresh BLASTOFF to spell, and that is saved to each player, between balls. 13 ball should be the wizard mode, earned fully by each player. Or at least that should be an option.
Why does the rocket need a subway? So unnecessary.

I wish you could start modes on the mystery scoop, and I wish 13-ball multiball had to be earned by each player. An extremely well integrated theme, but considering other titles of the same year, would not recommend.
6 years ago
As it sits, Alien Poker is a game that is willing to divide an audience in to fans and detractors. I am a fan, but sympathize with those who find the faults overwhelm it. To me, the key to this game is to never play solo. This is a game made for COMPETITION. Even if against yourself.
Solo, your path is clear: complete kings, get the 4X, then complete the drops. Lather rinse repeat.
In competition, you cast your die and realize the scoring opportunities of the bonus are often enough to crush your opponent, and then things get really interesting.
This is a GREAT competition game!

The artwork? I am not a fan, but nonetheless I will champion this machine. I want to see full backglass, playfield and plastic repros on the market merely for the satisfaction that the game will survive, not as a testament to the art and design.
Sounds though? I am in love. the lo-fi digitized speech, the pitched-up drones as your ball goes on, the oh so satisfying spinner noises, this is everything you'd want to hear in a pin from this era.

Fully shopped and properly dialed in, this game can be delightfully brutal. It is a wonderful ambassador of that "ONE. MORE. GAME." feeling
7 years ago
I try hard to love the underdogs of the pinball world, but Raven has fallen flat for me. The first time I shot for the orbits to get the rollovers done to lower the ramp, then made that ramp... and scored only 50k... well, my heart drooped. That was it? That was the big reward?
The key shot is going over the inlanes to light the spinner for 10k a spin momentarily.
So many standup targets, you'd think it'd be more interesting to shoot at all 10? In the end the sniper modes tend to be more tedious than anything, and at first I had such high hopes for them.
Props to the developers for having so many rules controlled via the dipswitches, but even with them I couldn't find an intriguing ruleset that made the game more fun.

With a modern CPU and new programming this game could ACTUALLY be tonnes of fun. My mind spins with the clever rules one could theoretically put in place. Progress saved between balls! Completed standup banks build rewards! Better ramp utilization! Pops modes!
But alas, we are currently stuck with what we have, and it's just not that great.
7 years ago
While county + western pool hall, as a theme, might not interest me in the slightest, the beautiful artwork, appropriate rules, and well executed digital speech make everything integrate extremely well.
I can only imagine the splash this must have made in the arcade when it was released!

I really enjoy the simple rules of this game, and very much appreciate the strategy that arises because of them. It is addictive to the highest degree and a GREAT game for competing against friends.

The drops are individually controlled, allowing your progress to saved after others play. This gives a satisfying linearity to the game, since each balls builds on the prior (bonus carries over,) and that allows you to adjust whether you're going for the rack, the 8ball + bonus collect, or the bonus multipliers.
7 years ago
The code for this game needs to be entirely overworked. The playfield is unique and has much promise, but the game is 1-dimensional due to crap programming/scoring.
The feed from your skill shot hits the "T". Shoot up the center for "I" and "P", then hit the ramp for the million shot. DO THIS FOREVER AND EVER.
Nothing else matters.

The million shot needs to be 200k, tops.
The skill shot should only be enabled by killing the guards (fun + hard!) or by raising the multiplier by 2x or 3x via the CYS targets (fun + hard!)
maybe also via launching the 3rd ball for multiball.

This game has so much fun potential. The sounds are AMAZING. the wall crumbling sound effect alone is worth the price of playing. But if you at all have any inclination to play with strategy, the game is a total bust.

Someone please rewrite the code and save it from the pinball history books.
7 years ago
Hit the dragons! BAO! Hit the other dragons! BAO! It's novel, it's awesome, it's... totally not what you actually need to shoot for.
This is a really cool original game that is entirely ruined by the scoring imbalance of 10k for the lit pop bumpers. They should have made the dragons 10k and the lit bumpers 1k.
Huge center gap and frustrating outlanes that want to suck down balls that roll up the inlanes means the ball times are often short.
Quick strategy: Always plunge for the 5 rollover. 2 and 4 are death. If you have to hit dragons, hit the bottom 2 because if they are up they tend to deflect the ball down the center drain. Then, head for the bumpers and hope you get more uber valuable rollovers and light the other pops.

The art is INTENSE and bright and site to behold.

Get drunk and play Dragon. This is a party game for the whole family. Just don't expect more than simple fun.
7 years ago
The layout is iconic but the gameplay is a bit of a snooze since it lacks any real rules! I really thought I'd love this game since I love drop targets, but there needs to be rhyme and/or reason for what I'm doing.
You can get a bit of risk/reward going if you have it set to 3-ball, then have the lower drop back only worth 500 each instead of 2k. This bank is easier to finish, and thus light extra ball rollover, so seems strategic to make it worth slightly less than the upper bank.
But, the extra ball rollovers, even when lit, are a crapshoot. You can't really aim for them.
So you drop the banks... Then what? They do not reset mid-ball, so you're stuck taking wild shots off for the rollovers.

Amazing art, but quickly becomes tedious when you're just shooting for rollovers..
7 years ago
Corvette is a super fun game with great flow. Not a lot of depth or tonnes of modes, but a few ways to build towards the main goals, and the modes that are there are lots of fun.
I kind of consider it a Tron-lite.
Great animations, good use of music, and some very satisfying shots. One of the few 90s Williams machines that haven't inflated out of an approachable pricepoint, so grab it while you can.
7 years ago
Sinbad is the snooker table of the pinball world.
No slings, minimal pop randomness. This game is just you vs 4 symmetrical flippers. Judge your trajectory 3 bounces ahead. Become a master of the drop catch and dead bounce. And you best believe you have to refine your accuracy picking off the one or two remaining targets you need.

I really love this game, and it's helped by have the Pascal Janin board in there. There are 3 extra features that add to this: Skill shot along the top rollovers, ball saver, and change the Special award in to a 50k award.

There are 2 weak points to this game:
The left star rollover lane is pretty much useless, except to send your ball in to the right outlane. shooting for it is ill-advised as the ball almost always comes right back down that left lane, instead of dancing along the tops of the rollovers. But it also acts as a trap requiring you to be active in shaking the machine just-so to avoid deadly bounce to the right outline.
The spinner is a disappointment too. You'd never purposefully shoot for it. I wish that after you cleared all of the drops and collected the bonus, the spinner would like for 1k/spin for a while. Really take advantage of it. Maybe a future code revision?

The main rules are a lot of fun:
Each coloured bank awards a bonus multiplier, but you can't get a larger multiplier until you've collected the smaller bank-sizes. So you could have all of the drops down except for the single bank, and drain without any bonus multiplier.

Fresh rubbers are essential. This is like the more civilized version of Joker Poker. ;)
7 years ago
I guess I can understand the appeal of this machine, but I just don't find it all that fun. The theme wears on me pretty quickly and it doesn't feel like there is any depth to any of the modes.
Mind you, I'm not a fan of AFM either, so YMMV.
7 years ago
I have never seen an episode of Baywatch in my life, so with that out of the way, this pin is an amazing value experience. There are few pins that have as much pinball action in them for the dollar they command than this one. But I imagine your satisfaction diminishes with your familiarity with the franchise.

First thing to note is the shooter lane wireform which opens up the playfield immensely. You basically have a wider body game in normal cabinet thanks to that.

Animations are top notch, and you can turn off the obnoxiously sexist match sequence. Squid pops FTW! The sounds are great, even when cheesey ("I am a life guard!")
Plus, lots of dolphin and shark noises.

The main place this game suffers is the lack of stacking ANYTHING. You enter a mode? Chances are you are going to drain before finishing that mode, so you either have to chop wood or time it out.

But the mode variation is quite excellent. 5 shots, 1 for each letter in GUARD. Spell guard to start the lifeguard mode. Shoot them all twice to start Tourist Season.
Shoot any shot 3 times to start that specific mode.
Then start all 5 modes to enter Earthquake wizard mode.

The game has many great shots, tonnes to do, and I don't see most players getting close to the default high scores any time soon.
7 years ago
This game takes a while to really tweak people's brains in the right way, but once you learn that you have ONE BALL but with a long and extendable ball saver, people start getting in to it.
The theme is whatevs, some default idea to fit the concept, but it features a classic layout that plays oh so well on other machines. Drop bank, third flipper, bonus collect hole, and bonus hole at top amidst the rollovers.
Very rare, so do not hesitate to play one or pick one up. The playfield design is emblematic of that era of solid state machines, even if the rules have been upended.
7 years ago
For a 4-player EM, this game has some incredible rules, aka wizard modes. Light all 5 rollovers to light the side lanes for bonus multiplier, and lighting spinner for 100...
Knock all 5 drops as well for a 5k bonus plus lighting special.
I especially enjoy this game on 3-ball settings, as you get the extra bonus rollover light at the top (toggled via the spinner), and 2 of the rollovers are linked.
7 years ago
An extremely fun layout that is just waiting to seduce players who only have played games with ramps before. I love the play in this game, the ball locks, and the scoring.
The programming drags it down: sound cues get stacked, and sometimes you hear a sound from an event happening 6 second ago.
The artwork and animation, to put it politely, is totally douchey. It benefits from its liberal use of moose.
8 years ago
Each outlane has a toy that can potentially save your ball! A gate to the plunger on the right, and an early example of a kickback on the left!
Playing for the 100x scored drops requires a shooter's patience. Blasting them all down and going for double bonus is also very rewarding.
Lots to do, but the playfield doesn't entirely gel.
8 years ago
None of the jokers really lend themselves for being targeted, and most tend to be acquired through a good bounce.
Getting the drops down is a bunch of fun, as well going for the 3k target once all drops are done. But the disincentive for shooting the jokers reduces the game depth a bit.
Great classic art package, and the game does flow very well, forcing you to learn which shots from each flipper are likely going to return down the drain.
8 years ago
I love these mid aught Stern titles with the wacky ideas on the playfield. Let's put a tight center ramp in there! Why not? How about a small spinny flipper?
I really like the rules of rolling the dice, collecting property, and relighting your roll shot, and opening the bank door is a fun toy.
I wish someone would rewrite the rules to give it contemporary complexity and balance, but it's still a lot of fun. I always look forward to playing a few games on this machine when I see it again.
8 years ago
While the "rock crusher" and brontosaurus are obvious toys, the thing that makes this game is the gates that allow the ball to go behind the flippers and come up to whichever flipper the game wants it to be at.
The modes are a bit ho-hum, but there are a number of them when you combine the left-standup ones with the ramp modes. Getting to the mystery mode is no easy task! (even if that mode itself isn't that amazing)
Screams for the owner to mod it and add GI. Doing so solves one of its biggest issues.
The slings are tiny and if you have all fresh rubber and suberbands on the flippers, the game can be intense and unforgiving. It's a kid's theme, but a game that can challenge everyone. And bonus points for John Goodman and Rick Moranis doing custom voice work for it!!!
Regardless of what you have going on, bowling is always an option, and always a viable path to multiball.
8 years ago
When I try and put it in to words, this game sounds a bit one-dimensional: RIP THE SPINNER! DO IT!
But really this is one of the most fun EM games for me.
The whole playfield flows really well, even if you're not going to be aiming for the standup targets too often. The bounce course on the right adds a great chance for nudge control and the gate to the shooter lane is a nice touch. The gate is also not too rare to active.
But what pulls the rules together for me is the bonus collect hole to drain the balls from the backbox and collect your bonus in waiting.
The "random bonus" hole, giving 1-3 bonuses, is a nice touch as well.
Oh yeah, and that delicious CLICK-CLACK of the bonus balls being shot up!
8 years ago
This is a pretty cool playfield that is begging for an entire redo on the programming front.
Delete the animations altogether to speed up the gameplay. Balance the scoring, add more dynamic modes. Find clever ways to utilize the cool toys like Chun Li's kick and the car smash.

There are so many good shots in this game that are entirely underutilized. If you can get in to certain modes, the game intensity ramps up quickly and can actually be a tonne of fun. But most people walk away before defeating the first 3 fighters.

Someone please reprogram the Gottlieb system 3s. I beg you. There is a renaissance in waiting.
8 years ago
Everything about this game is superb, except for the need for outlane rubbers, and a massive overhaul in the programming.
If someone tweaked the code this game could be so much more fun. The mode timers need to be longer, too many modes are too basic, the WABAC wizard mode shouldn't be awarded via the puzzle, ball saver needs to be longer than 3 seconds, "double score" award should be disabled in tournament mode, etc.