DakotaMike's ratings

Pinsider DakotaMike has rated 13 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms DakotaMike's personal top 13.


Rating comments

DakotaMike has written 13 rating comments:


9.116/10
38 days ago
I owned Elvira's House of Horrors for 4 months, the longest that I've owned any game so far, and I still wasn't bored with it when it left. So that says something. I'm rating it based on the 1.01 code.

Elvira's HoH is one of the best, most fully featured Stern games to come out in years. The lighting for Mode shots is excellent. You never have to guess what to shoot for. The modes/movies are nicely coded, and often have story elements to the shots to increase immersion. For instance, in the "Werewolf of Washington" mode, you have to make an "orbit" shot first, in order to get the moon to come out and transform the werewolf, at which point you can advance the mode, but if you miss a shot the moon will go away, and you'll need to make an orbit again to continue advancing. Another example is the "Night of the Living Dead" mode; in that mode one of the first shots that you must make is the house shot. Because the characters are fleeing to the house in the movie. Good stuff.

The rules are wonderful. With lots of depth and variety. Not only do you have the movie modes, you've got several mini-wizard and wizard modes. You've also got the crypt and deadhead stuff, and the Gappy Angry mode, and the various multiballs and locks, and you've got the special items, and hand of fate wheel. I mean the rules are packed, and the game has tons of clips and callouts. Also, the skillshot is actually skillful. I can usually make the skillshot once or twice a game, but my wife can make it probably 50% of the time.

The game also has a lot of mechs, which might not be apparent at first. The house is a very complicated and cool mech. It can divert the ball several directions, it can lock a ball. It has a lift-ramp and basement kickout, as well as a backdoor entry, and it has a garage to the side with a drop target and built-in lock and kickout. The crypt is another cool mech combing a bash toy, a subway, and a vuk. It also has an opening and closing trunk with another lock and kickout. Not to mention the jumping gargoyles. I mean the game is loaded.

There are a number of great mods that really enhance the game, such as Medisynl's great mods, as well as the crypt-face mods. The official Stern Art blades are excellent and really blend in and match the existing art. The art blades have lots of nice details and touches that put it above the average blades or even mirror blades.

This game may be as close to perfect as Stern has ever done. Worth every penny of it's MSRP. It competes very well with the CGC remakes, as well as the classic B/W games, and Stern's best games such as LOTR or JP. Every pinball enthusiast should own this game at some point. Plus, it has Torgo, and Torgo is the best thing in pinball and life.

"Don't Go! Gappy Angry!" "Torgo, have you seen Debbie?" "No."
8.243/10
4 months ago
Very good game. Shoots wonderfully, and combo-ing a ramp into a hyperspace loop always feels good. Love the movie clips and callouts, although I wish they were bigger on the display. The rules, while initially daunting, are actually very easy to understand once you get a few games under your belt and lookup a few details online. I think the game is very immersive and I actually really like the player-controlled roving multiplier--it gives me something extra to think about and do while playing. I also love that you can choose your character and mission path; it really helps to keep the game from getting stale, as there are so many modes to choose from and you never have to play the same ones on back-to-back games if you don't want to.

I thought that I would hate the tie-fighter bash button, but I actually really enjoy mashing it to blow up tie fighters, and getting that risk reward. I do wish that it had a few more interactive toys or mechs, but overall I think it's a great game and very underrated. After a couple months of ownership, I still wasn't bored with it.
8.343/10
4 months ago
Very good game. Shoots wonderfully, and combo-ing a ramp into a hyperspace loop always feels good. Love the movie clips and callouts, although I wish they were bigger on the display. The rules, while initially daunting, are actually very easy to understand once you get a few games under your belt and lookup a few details online. I think the game is very immersive and I actually really like the player-controlled roving multiplier--it gives me something extra to think about and do while playing. I also love that you can choose your character and mission path; it really helps to keep the game from getting stale, as there are so many modes to choose from and you never have to play the same ones on back-to-back games if you don't want to.

I thought that I would hate the tie-fighter bash button, but I actually really enjoy mashing it to blow up tie fighters, and getting that risk reward. I do wish that it had a few more interactive toys or mechs, but overall I think it's a great game and very underrated. After a couple months of ownership, I still wasn't bored with it.
7.704/10
6 months ago
Fun game with excellent art and sound. Playfield is a thing of real beauty, and it's chock full of nice touches and small details that you can only see with the glass off and the pf partially disassembled. Music is excellent and the organ sounds have great spiky-punch. As was typical of DE at the time, the rules are pretty simple, moreso than System 11 games of the era. But even though the rules are shallow, the game is fast and fun to play, and the organ mech that opens to reveal a secret passage/subway to the ball lock is a great toy.

Bottom line: Great pin with shallow rules, but beautiful art and music. Has an addictive "one more game" quality. Would fit in especially well next to a deeper, slower-playing pin.
6.544/10
7 months ago
Owned for about 6 weeks, and couldn't get rid of it fast enough. I had high hopes when I bought it, but in the end I found the combination of side-drains and clunky shots to be very frustrating. There are moments of good flow when you can make the ramps and loops, but overall it's a very bricky game, particularly any shots that have to go up the middle.

The glove mech and it's tic-tac-toe feature is very cool, and it has one of the best video modes out there. It's an actual video game, as opposed to a timing/rhythm exercise. Trouble is, the glove mech is very finicky, and I was always worried that it was going to break. Theming as it relates to the movie is good.

JM has a lot of good elements, but they are ruined by the frustrating drains and oft-clunky gameplay. At least for an average-skilled player like myself. I think JM is probably a bit of an over-rated game. It went from being underrated for years (mainly due to the theme), and now I actually think it's gone over to the other side of being a bit overrated.
8.211/10
8 months ago
A truly great game. Everyone should own this at least once in their lifetime. Has a very nice layout, with satisfying shots. Has some of the best/deepest rules of any system 11. The way you work your way to ball-locks and eventually a storm multi-ball feels very mode-like. The flashing shots change from ball-lock to ball-lock, forcing you to make a variety of different shots. Plunge is great allowing for a challenging skillshot with a psuedo-ballsave, or a loop around the orbit to the upper flipper.

Topper fan and spinning playfield discs are very fun, as is the moving ramp and the double scoops. Fan feels great in a hot room--I wish more pins had fan toppers! Jackpot shot through the left ramp from the upper-flipper always feels great. Not much that you can complain about really. Doesn't have as much depth as newer pins, but more depth than most pre-DMD games, and it feels great to shoot.

Layout was so good that Pat Lawlor largely re-used it for TAF, and DataEast basically copied/stole it again for their Jurassic Park.
7.072/10
10 months ago
I've owned Mousin' for about two months, and I feel ready to provide a rating.

Mousin' Around is very fast playing when setup right, and will make you a better player. Has good flow, but the outer left and especially outer right shots can be frustrating to make at times. The theme-integration is great--I love the mouse-trap ball locks, and the mouse hole in the back of the playfield. Shooting the locks or mouse-hole always feels good. The center-visor is a drain monster, as is the game in general. It's very fast and brutal, but also very fun. Rules are good, but probably too simple, and the jackpot is hard-to-attain. Would probably work better in a larger collection, rather than a small one. Has lots of nice ramps and plastics everywhere. Has a lot of charm.

Must-Have Mod: Remove the end-of-ramp gates to increase the speed and flow of the game. At first you'll barely make shots that come off the ramps, but after a while you'll get used to the speed and it will feel normal. Game is definitely more fun for me without the ramp gates.

EDIT: Forgot to add that it has a good skill shot. You have to actually change how you plunge to get it, depending on which lane is lit. Far left lane=full hard plunge, Middle lane=standard strength plunge, Far right lane=soft plunge.
7.490/10
1 year ago
Personally prefer the pro. I like lower/upper playfields, but this one does nothing for me. Feels too disconnected from the rest of the game, and you stay down there way too long if you keep making your shots. When I'm down there, all I can do is wish that I was back up top so that I could get back to the real game.

Granpa's Lab was an interesting concept, but ultimately doesn't work for me. Recommend the pro, but you should really try both.
8.081/10
1 year ago
Great theme. Great art. Great topper (when it works). Shallow code. Overall, a great location-game. Not enough meat on the bone to stay in a small collection.
6.664/10
1 year ago
Very loaded for a 1980 pin. Has enough different rules, satisfying shots, and playfield gimmicks to easily match plenty of pins 5 or 6 years newer. A landmark machine in a lot of ways, and the upper-playfield is very fun to shoot. Speaking of the upper playfield, the ball-lock shot from the upper left-flipper is very satisfying, and the sneak-in shot from the upper right-flipper is still nice too.

Really nice design from Steve Ritchie. I'm amazed at how much ball-action he got out of a single pop-bumper. That being said, the 25v flippers mean the only real way to get back up top is on the fly. No cradles up to the ramps. But when the ball does get moving, it can really rocket around.

Magna-save is very fun, and once you get the muscle-memory for it, you'll start trying to phantom-press it on lots of other machines! Also, a surprising amount of customizability in the service menu. You can tweak a lot settings just to your liking. For example: setting the locks to carry over from ball to ball really does a lot to make it feel like a more modern machine.

CONS: 1. It is very level-sensitive. If you don't have it just right, then the saucer-kickout/cave is an instant drain, and a lot of shots won't work smoothly. 2. Can be frustratingly-mean. You can easily go from a 1.5mil game to a 70k game. And I find I just get tense trying to beat or re-achieve a high-score, and I can't focus on having fun. 3. BIGGEST ISSUE, and it somewhat relates to #2, but the LASTABILITY of the pin is not good. Its fun to learn all the ins and outs of the rules, but once you do, and once you crack 1 or 2 mil, or the high-score, then there's not much to keep you coming back. It has a lot of broad, but shallow rules compared to modern pins. The satisfying shots are too hard to consistently make, so you can't just play and enjoy the flow. It lasted about 6 weeks for me, before I decided I wanted to let it go. But I only can fit in 2 or 3 machines in my space, so YMMV.

Final Thought: Landmark game, with a lot going for it, but probably won't last in a small collection.
8.577/10
1 year ago
Amazingly fun game, especially for novice pinball players. I never get tired of hearing, "Its...ALIVE!". That being said once you get familiar with this table, its a bit too easy to get extra balls, and multiballs, and just blow up this pin. Not a deep ruleset either. For me, I wouldn't want to own it unless I had a big collection, because once you've mastered getting the Monster Bash and super Monster Bash, there isn't much to keep coming back for long term. Very fun location-pin though!
7.186/10
1 year ago
Had this in my house for about a decade as a child/teenager. Its a very early SS from 1978, so it plays a like an EM machine, and it still has bell-chime sounds instead of the mostly-awful early-digital sounds. Its a double-flipper pin that I've always gotten a kick out of. While learning the table, its a nice challenge to get all the pop-up targets down before your ball drains. Its got a fun spinner and some nice rules. Really love it for a 70s machine.

EDIT: I've spent some more time playing older pins, and I've got to say Sinbad is really a cut above most other 70s pins. Its one of the ultimate shooter pins, as its basically all drop targets! I think its actually a better shooter than even the famed El Dorado. One of the few EM/early SS pins that I'd consider owning if I had the room. Lastability-wise, once you get all the targets down, rip the spinner, and finally roll over the score, then you're kinda done with it for another 6 months.
8.656/10
1 year ago
Initially this pin wasn't really on my radar, but after someone mentioned it had a good cannon-shot, my interest was piqued. I got to play it at a local arcade, and boy was I pleasantly surprised. Its a really fun and challenging machine to play. I love the fact that there are about a dozen different AC/DC songs, and that you can choose one at the start of each game; you never have to hear the same song over and over if you don't want to, and I love the sound effects and lighting. The flashing lights and cheers when you pull off tricky shots feel great, and make it seem like you're really at a rock concert. The ramp shots are very tricky, not where you'd expect them to be, but they are rewarding once you can start pulling them off more consistently. This pinball has a nice level of challenge, and plays very fast. And I can't help but smile every time I pull off a bell shot, and listen to the "gong" sound. For those playing on location, this machine is pretty fair with earning free games, at least at the arcade I play at. I think AC/DC will have a good level of lastability due to the challenge, and enjoyable music tracks. That being said, I do like a lot of AC/DC's music, so that probably affects my enjoyment of this pinball by quite a bit.

EDIT: I should add that like most DMD machines, this table is a lot more fun when you can hear it. Recommend playing it in a low ambient-noise environment, or with the volume up to get the full effect.