FatPanda's ratings

Pinsider FatPanda has rated 30 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms FatPanda's personal top 30.


Rating comments

FatPanda has written 30 rating comments:


8.860/10
5 months ago
As others have said, the Standard version is the same as Blood Suckers minus the powdercoat so my review is the same as the BSE.

My honest review.

First the bad:
This game will need some tweaking out of the box. I've had 250 games or so to fine tune all of the shots and make it shoot smoothly, but then again, I have an early run game from a small manufacturer, so this is to be expected to a certain degree. It's not anything that I am personally turned off of, but I know some people will expect to be able to turn the game on and start flipping. Speaking of shots, they are not where you expect them to be and some people will hate this. It doesn't play like every other game that currently exists, and again, some people will hate this. I caught myself getting frustrated within the first 30 games or so, but had to remind myself of this.

The lighting is a bit dark for my preference. I added 2 spotlights and an LED strip in the back to help light up the PF. Other than GI, the light show is up there with TNA. Some of the best in pinball.

There are not a lot of toys in the game, to a point where it does look a empty. There's the ship on a spring, the house in the back, and the crystal. It definitely isn't on LOTR levels as far as figures go. This is purely cosmetic more than anything. Some people will want a lot of figures and molded toys. I prefer things that are more interactive.

The white elephant in the room:
Let's talk about the left garage shot and the inner loop, both from the upper right flipper. I feel these shots are grossly over exaggerated as being too difficult and unmakeable. This is simply untrue. Both shots can be made, but must be made with intention and skill. No flailing around here. The sweet spots for these shots are narrow. There is maybe a 30% window on the flipper where you have to time it correctly. Ever play a golfing video game with the sliding gauge and you have to get the bar in green area to make a clean shot? This is what this reminds me of. The inner loop shot has a smaller green area, the left garage shot is a little bit bigger IMO. For comparison, I would rate the left ramp on TWD Pro with a 60% window.

Speaking of left ramp, the steepness of the left ramp is also being grossly exaggerated. Just upping the right flipper 2 increments makes this shot feel like any other ramp.

With all of that stuff out of the way, let's move onto the good stuff:
The rest of the shots are MUCH easier to hit. The exception is the return shot just left to the right orbit. So 6 out of 7 shots can be made without too much difficulty. Short of the small window to access the garage from the upper right flipper, Scott designed a much easier entrance via the right orbit. I use this shot maybe 60-75% of the time to hit the garage so the balance of difficulty is absolutely there.

The inner loop flows quickly around. My best so far has been 3 loops. After 2 loops, the ball blazes around so fast it's hard to react. That 3rd loop that I hit was 99% fluke, but damnit did it feel good.

There is decent shot flow. Right ramp, to left ramp, to inner loop, to garage shot, back to the left flipper is certainly doable; that's a 4-way combo that is theoretically infinite using that shot progression.

The Danesi 2.0 lock is a great feature that is used well currently, but hoping that more can be done with it. Currently it is only used to lock balls and to register shots in a couple modes. Hoping there is more to the captive ball being implemented in future code. Time will tell on this.

The sounds and music are up there with TNA and what you would come to expect from Scott. Top notch stuff here and really no other contenders.

The theme integration is definitely this game's shining point. Hearing Rick berate you and Morty responding never gets old. You want to be called a b*tch? You got it. A little piece of sh*t? Rick's got that covered. Not doing well? Rick still has some compassion and helps you with a few shots. Morty encourages with the confidence of a bull walking on a tightrope. Need a break from some intense pinball action? Well, watch some Interdimensional Cable while the game cycles through attract mode! Yes! See Ants in my Eyes Johnson, Stealy, and How It's Made + more. So much good R&M stuff in here. Let me remind you that this is still early code!

With it being on early code, I am excited to see where Eric will take this game. I feel like I have a good enough handle on the shots at this point, where it's not a concern anymore. At this point, it's the code and how Bowen and Eric will implement the modes with the theme...and this is where the game has the potential to truly shine. Again, time will tell.
8.584/10
8 months ago
I picked up this game as a non-working project, and never having played it before. After getting it back up and running and playing a few games, boy was I surprised how fun this game is! The layout is great and the rules are simple. Complete the ship's wheel in the center to AAB. Make sure you get the 1 on the plunge, otherwise chances are that you'll have to wait for your next plunge. I LOVE the spinner and the moving spot to light a number.

Gottliebs have the best chime box of all EMs and this sounds like the rest of them.
8.860/10
1 year ago
My honest review.

First the bad:
This game will need some tweaking out of the box. I've had 250 games or so to fine tune all of the shots and make it shoot smoothly, but then again, I have an early run game from a small manufacturer, so this is to be expected to a certain degree. It's not anything that I am personally turned off of, but I know some people will expect to be able to turn the game on and start flipping. Speaking of shots, they are not where you expect them to be and some people will hate this. It doesn't play like every other game that currently exists, and again, some people will hate this. I caught myself getting frustrated within the first 30 games or so, but had to remind myself of this.

The lighting is a bit dark for my preference. I added 2 spotlights and an LED strip in the back to help light up the PF. Other than GI, the light show is up there with TNA. Some of the best in pinball.

There are not a lot of toys in the game, to a point where it does look a empty. There's the ship on a spring, the house in the back, and the crystal. It definitely isn't on LOTR levels as far as figures go. This is purely cosmetic more than anything. Some people will want a lot of figures and molded toys. I prefer things that are more interactive.

The white elephant in the room:
Let's talk about the left garage shot and the inner loop, both from the upper right flipper. I feel these shots are grossly over exaggerated as being too difficult and unmakeable. This is simply untrue. Both shots can be made, but must be made with intention and skill. No flailing around here. The sweet spots for these shots are narrow. There is maybe a 30% window on the flipper where you have to time it correctly. Ever play a golfing video game with the sliding gauge and you have to get the bar in green area to make a clean shot? This is what this reminds me of. The inner loop shot has a smaller green area, the left garage shot is a little bit bigger IMO. For comparison, I would rate the left ramp on TWD Pro with a 60% window.

Speaking of left ramp, the steepness of the left ramp is also being grossly exaggerated. Just upping the right flipper 2 increments makes this shot feel like any other ramp.

With all of that stuff out of the way, let's move onto the good stuff:
The rest of the shots are MUCH easier to hit. The exception is the return shot just left to the right orbit. So 6 out of 7 shots can be made without too much difficulty. Short of the small window to access the garage from the upper right flipper, Scott designed a much easier entrance via the right orbit. I use this shot maybe 60-75% of the time to hit the garage so the balance of difficulty is absolutely there.

The inner loop flows quickly around. My best so far has been 3 loops. After 2 loops, the ball blazes around so fast it's hard to react. That 3rd loop that I hit was 99% fluke, but damnit did it feel good.

There is decent shot flow. Right ramp, to left ramp, to inner loop, to garage shot, back to the left flipper is certainly doable; that's a 4-way combo that is theoretically infinite using that shot progression.

The Danesi 2.0 lock is a great feature that is used well currently, but hoping that more can be done with it. Currently it is only used to lock balls and to register shots in a couple modes. Hoping there is more to the captive ball being implemented in future code. Time will tell on this.

The sounds and music are up there with TNA and what you would come to expect from Scott. Top notch stuff here and really no other contenders.

The theme integration is definitely this game's shining point. Hearing Rick berate you and Morty responding never gets old. You want to be called a b*tch? You got it. A little piece of sh*t? Rick's got that covered. Not doing well? Rick still has some compassion and helps you with a few shots. Morty encourages with the confidence of a bull walking on a tightrope. Need a break from some intense pinball action? Well, watch some Interdimensional Cable while the game cycles through attract mode! Yes! See Ants in my Eyes Johnson, Stealy, and How It's Made + more. So much good R&M stuff in here. Let me remind you that this is still early code!

With it being on early code, I am excited to see where Eric will take this game. I feel like I have a good enough handle on the shots at this point, where it's not a concern anymore. At this point, it's the code and how Bowen and Eric will implement the modes with the theme...and this is where the game has the potential to truly shine. Again, time will tell.
6.555/10
1 year ago
While there's a lot to like about this game, there are also some things that bring it down that could make it better. First off, if you take it for what it is and when it was made, the art, sounds, and theme definitely fit the pin in the era that it was produced. It certainly exudes late 80s/early 90s in everything you see and hear. For that, it does a perfect job and shouldn't be downgraded compared today's tastes (late 2010s at the time of this review). The layout is quite fun, and Steve Ritchie's signature left loop to side ramp via upper right flipper is present and prominent. I like the magnet hold for the upper flipper, allowing new players to see and acknowledge, that some games, do in fact, have more than 2 flippers. Good call!

The music is definitely an earworm, but I have to say, has one of the best jackpot tunes in pinball. Pretty awesome!

The major flaw, and what really keeps this game from being great, is the ruleset. You're basically just going for Multiballs, and exploiting the random Sudden Death "mode." What this means is, drop targets, pit, and side ramp all day. Or if in Sudden Death mode, Pit and side ramp all day. There is really no other reason to shoot anything else.

With all that said, I'll likely keep it for a little bit to get my money's worth, but at some point will move it on. I do enjoy the "novelty" factor of owning a late 80s/early 90s time capsule, but the ruleset keeps this game from being anything more than just a few fun flips every now and again.
7.579/10
2 years ago
Picked up this game as a project a couple of weeks ago and now that I've been able to work on, and get a buncha games on it, I really enjoy it! I've always enjoyed Alien Poker, and when I saw this one for sale, had to pick it up. The rules are simple, collect the balls from 1-15. The 5 individually controlled drop targets will force you to make accurate shots. Shooting them out of order will set you back! Such a simple, but fantastic rule and will weed out the "flailers" quickly. I have the bar behind the right flipper but will remove it to make it more challenging on the right side. Flipper skills are a must on this game, as it was in AP and other games where "scissoring" was a threat. I also really liked the extra ball ball saver timer. It was a surprise rule that I thought would have been ingenious at the time, but still didn't take away from having to pick down the targets (with wild flailing). Overall, a truly underappreciated game that not enough people know about.

And all those comments about the artwork, well, it's gotten to the point in its life that it's awesomely bad. So get over it and put on a few games on this gem!
9.244/10
2 years ago
This has to be Lawlor's best game to date. The layout is nearly perfect. I find the left loop shot a little bit clunky, but the shot itself is gaping wide, so that sort of makes up for it. The rules accompany the layout perfectly. Though it is a mode driven game, the modes are meaningful and in order to score well, you need to actually complete modes and collect Sim cards. This is in stark contrast to classics like TZ and TAF where you can qualify and start modes, but there are points elsewhere, so you can essentially time them out and still get to the final wizard without too much effort. Dialed In takes that rule progression, but makes it so that the better you do in a mode (ie complete the mode), the higher each subsequent mode will be worth, in the form of Sim cards acting as score multiplier for modes.

The shots are buttery smooth. The whirlwind combo is awesome! The Theater is very innovative, as well as the camera built into the backbox. Never before done in a game, and a JJP trademark. There's also the Bluetooth feature, but it feels more like a "this is what we can do" type of feature, as opposed to fully integrating it into the game. I would like to see some more features added into the bluetooth capability of the game.

The light show is second only to TNA, and the sounds, music, and callouts match the "news cast" theme perfectly. This game has to be one of the best pinball games produced to date.
8.164/10
2 years ago
What to say about Frontier? If you see one, play it! If you know someone that has one, play it! It's simple but deceptively fun! The crickets background noise are a nice touch to the Frontier theme. Collecting predators, and scoring the Predator saucer is always challenging and a blast. Inline drops are tighter to shoot on this game than others of the same era but still fun to play. The center target is a trap! The artwork good, not my favorite, but it doesn't look bad. Won't be leaving my collection any time soon!
9.352/10
2 years ago
This rating is for a Magneteo LE. Probably Stern's best art package of all machines, including recent games like Maiden and Deadpool. The Magneto art package is gobs better than anything before it and rivals Stern's latest offerings. The layout is fun with several different shots from the upper right flipper. The game rules is where this machine shines. Each of the different heroes have different things to shoot for, with nice nods to the comics and animated TV series. The lighting effects are amazing. Stern could have done great things with RGB lighting, if it was commonplace at the time for this game. The game suffers most from two poorly voice acted characters. The others are passable and mimic what we know from the animated series well enough. Again, lots of thought was put into the rules, modes, and character relationships as found in the stories. A great shooting game!
8.236/10
2 years ago
AFM is a fun shooter with great callouts. A classic game that never gets old.
7.831/10
2 years ago
What more can be said about TAF that already hasn't been said? Classic Pat Lawlor, has some of the best callouts of all time. The multiball start is probably the best of all time. The sounds and light package really make this game shine. Rules-wise, it's a bit too easy to get to Tour the Mansion. Jackpots are nice challenging shots. Thing hand is always a winner. Can't go wrong really.
9.221/10
3 years ago
What's not to love about Flash Gordon?! Awesome layout, exposed pop bumpers, inline drops for bonus multiplier, "Emperor Ming Awaits!," the spinners; an awesome game that is brutal and punishing for making poor shots! People complain about the linear flippers, but I actually like them. Rebuilt, they are not as sloppy as some people say. Compared to Williams of that era, they are a bit, but compared to the previous style Bally, they are a bit more precise.

The upper playfield is challenging, and your ball doesn't stay up there for long, but the 15 seconds of 2x playfield with lit spinners and the lit bank of drops is worth it. There are also two opportunities to collect bonus. You can really rack up your score this way. A basic set of rules, but you'll kill yourself trying to line everything up, and that's a good thing.
9.028/10
3 years ago
A breath a fresh air during a time when the same ol' same ol' is coming out from the other manufacturer. The music and sound is the BEST in pinball. The gameplay is fast, fun, addicting, and will have you pressing start one more time. Just gotta lock the ball, just gotta hit the keypad, just gotta start the reactor...Just gotta stay alive! The layout, lights, music all done by Scott Danesi; the incredible art done by Matt Andrews. I can play this game all day every day.
7.166/10
3 years ago
Target Alpha is one of many rethemes of this layout but in a 4 player variant. What makes this game different from its other iterations is that the drop targets only reset between balls, plus there isn't an extra bonus dot that gets moved around in its 2 player iteration in El Dorado. Once you've gotten all the drops, there isn't much more to shoot at other than the rollover lanes.

With that said, hitting the drops is still just as fun. The chime box sounds fantastic and the layout is great for a game of this era. I do enjoy the space themed cartoonish characters with the pinks and yellows.
7.956/10
3 years ago
The game's brutality is what really draws me in. Set up with a high pitch, this game is fast and in your face. The lower right two flippers and left inline target set up make for shooting the left drops challenging but rewarding. The lower left pop bumper is a nice change to the traditional inlane/outlane area. The games of this era are simple to understand, yet challenging and enjoyable. It definitely makes me want to press start just one more time. The art package is arguably one of the best in all of pinball.
8.212/10
3 years ago
Baywatch is very underrated. It's not the best pinball ever, but it's much more fun than what people give it credit for. The theme is why most people don't like the game, but in all fairness, there is MUCH worse theming out there, and the theme integration is fantastic. There are a variety of shots and all of the modes are fun. The wizard modes could have been better, but I can live with it. a 5 ball multiball is frenetic and catches new players off-guard. ChadH's code is a must have!
7.338/10
3 years ago
Between AFM, MM, and MB, this one is the weakest of the three, and honestly, more of the same between the three. The layout, flow, play, it's all the same, but it definitely draws in newer pinball people which is a good thing. It shoots well and the shots are smooth, but the gameplay and ruleset bring nothing new to the table.
9.416/10
3 years ago
A love/hate game for a lot of people, but for me personally, more love than hate. This game is challenging, and you have to know that going into it. This ain't no buttery smooth combo after combo shooting game. This game requires shooting skills, ball control skills, and nudging skills. Because of this, there are a lot of people that don't like the game. This game is meant to drain you, and 99% of the drains in this game can be prevented with better shooting, nudging, and ball control. This is probably one of the furthest away from a "flailing" machine where you can randomly flip balls and good things happen. Randomly flipping balls in this game will result in a drain!

With that said, this is one of the most fun games I've played. The modes, multiballs, rules, dots are all exceptional. Two musts for this game, the Cleland sound package, and a small subwoofer. I downgraded the stock sound package. If Cleland's sound package came stock, it would get full marks.

The PF artwork is mediocre at best. Still looks like the photoshopped variety, which is a bit disappointing. The cabinet looks nice, and the zombies on the PRO backglass are just eh. I would have preferred hand-drawn art as opposed to what they used. I'll probably get one of the several alternate translites one day, but for now, I'm going to be killing zombies...
5.354/10
4 years ago
If you're not making shots, you're hitting posts. If you're hitting posts, then it can be a long drawn out and frustrating game. The jump ramp is cool, but other than that, there's not much else going on for it.
8.036/10
4 years ago
A solid pin overall. The turbo loop combo is really fun to hit, even though the turbo shot is the only shot available with the upper flipper. The turbocharger toy, with matching sound effect, is an awesome part of the game that will make any gearhead smile. It is challenging to hit all of the modes in this game, and there isn't a wizard mode, but getting all the laps and modes is a challenge all in its own.
8.701/10
4 years ago
A very good and challenging pin with a lot of shots and objectives to go for. The loop combos are so fun to hit and the call outs and music are well done. This is definitely a challenging game! Really surprised it's not ranked higher than it is, and I'm sure the original translite art has something to do with that, but the alternate translites really make that a non-issue. The battlefield is a unique upper playfield that makes this game truly stand out.
7.914/10
4 years ago
A great flowing game with nice shots, a cool trunk toy (with multiball startup sounds and lightshow) and great artwork on the cabinet and playfield. The rules are a bit shallow, and the modes really don't pay off or are necessary to play out (much like many other games of this era) but still add some variety. The final wizard mode is lackluster and kind of anticlimactic, but the game is still a good player. Non-pinheads generally like this game the most out of others in my collection.
7.152/10
4 years ago
Love me some TFTC. This table has it all: strong modes, achievable multiball, strong layout, great call-outs! It has the typical Data East sound quality, but if you can get past that, it's not so bad. It also has the typical Data East flashing when multiball is ready. When playing in a dark room, this can be quite distracting, even blinding. Wish there was a way to get rid of that. Otherwise, it's a ton of game for the money. Would love to add to my small collection one day!
7.676/10
4 years ago
A fun pin overall, but I really need to own one to really play a properly set up machine. All of the machines I've played have either been improperly working or haven't been set up well. The modes are ok and can be hit or miss. The call-outs are the best thing about this game. After being in the hobby for a while now, this game is solid but not as good as I use to think.
7.203/10
4 years ago
A really great second offering from JJP. How can you not love Gandolf screaming "JACKPOT!." There is an open playfield but the pf toys that pop up underneath, along with the rollover, and drop targets make up for that. The many modes with multiball add on is great. There's just so much to do. I don't care for the "arrow" left outlane kicker because I've had many a ball shoot directly into the opposite (right) outlane, but I can live with it.
5.630/10
4 years ago
I'm not a fan. The outlanes and wide flipper gap make this game almost unplayable. Look at that gap! And not in a good way. I think this machine is very overrated. The theme and art package are great, but the playability greatly diminishes that. I really wanted to like it, even after several plays, but just can't get into the GB love that so many other people have.
6.914/10
4 years ago
This is a deceptively challenging table. The outlanes are ball gobblers, but that's part of the challenge. This table is pinball at it's purest. Clear and simple objectives but reaching them can be difficult on a well tuned table. The simple sound effects and speech work well. The heartbeat is one of the best implementations of sound for the era. It really does add the the pressure when performing well!
8.636/10
4 years ago
This game is a great game. If they ever make a remake, this one should be it. The theme is timeless, the music and sound package are top notch. The ruleset is deep and challenging and getting to Lost in the Zone is very satisfying. The Gumball Machine, the Power mini playfield, the multiballs, the call outs, the layouts, this table was innovative and has everything that makes pinball great. The best jackpot sound package in all of pinball.
7.442/10
4 years ago
I own a table so I am biased, but I love all aspects of this game. The music and sound package is top notch! The call-outs are memorable and funny! You can't beat PinBot saying "Taxi, Taxi" and the tunes that play when picking up passsengers for each character are well implemented. I love all the music clips on the different modes.

Some people may not like the symmetrical set up, but hitting left ramp/right ramp combinations is satisfying, as well as properly aimed Gorbie and Santa Clause shots. The playfield art is simple, and just ok. Definitely not busy like some other tables and the top down perspective is very simplified but work well for the game. The cabinet art is great! The taxi driver on the translite is just downright creepy.

I love playing this table! If you find one on location, give it a few games!
8.923/10
4 years ago
I really enjoy playing LOTR. The theme, toys, shots, callouts, and deep ruleset make this a table that I can push start on over and over again. Theme integration is top notch, using key moments in the movies to set off modes and other important tasks in the games. I have flipper fidelity speakers installed on my game and the sounds are great. One knock is on the artwork. The resolution on the images aren't that great, but doesn't detract from the quality of the game at all. One of Stern's all time bests.
7.453/10
4 years ago
I can understand why the machine is so highly rated, but this is not one that I would own in my own collection. The are a variety of mulitballs you can achieve and hitting the shots can be fun, but the flow can be slowed down dramatically if wanting to complete the castle objectives. This, with the repeating music, can make for a less than stellar gameplay experience. The callouts are probably the best thing in this game, which are just funny. Otherwise, there are definitely other tables that hold my attention better.