MT45's ratings

Pinsider MT45 has rated 10 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms MT45's personal top 10.

Rating comments

MT45 has written 10 rating comments:

3 months ago
Here’s my stream-of-consiousness commentary of how it feels to play Ultraman. This is not going to be an extensive "review". I've played about 300 games to date. To start - it's different. So what does "different" mean?? That's really the $64,000 question. What are the differences and what are we comparing it to? In my mind standard pinball starts with the "fan layout". A fan layout has ramps that return the ball to an inlane/flipper. What makes Ultraman play different is that those returns to the flippers via ramp or habitrail are missing (the left return habitrail as an exception, of course). The experience of watching a ball roll down a ramp, drop into the inlane and then mentally prepare for the shot is only a “left ramp” experience! Well EXCEPT for that “prepare” part and BTW, you don't get a ton of time or line of sight. The "mentally prepare for the shot" time exists for sure, but it is shortened both in time and visbility. Time is cut because the location of the lifter is just inches from the flipper and visibility is reduced as well. Unlike a ramp/habitrail drop, you only get to "see" the ball for maybe 3 inches of travel total. There - I said it. The largest difference in gameplay for Ultraman is the impact that the lifters have on gameplay. For the most part, I like it. I appreciate the challenge.

The other difference I've experienced is related to the above. The ball can spend a bit of time in the subway system and can move in a surpising number of paths. It's by design. That can translate to a good portion of the time that the ball is simply not visible or in those moments, not available for gameplay. Given that the game is also at times frenetic and blindingly fast. The "break" presented by subway travel is not a negative. I use this time to plan the next shot and take note of where I am in the game. I'm still surprised by how many places the ball can exit the first upper playfield. All of this can translate at times to a feeling of "losing the ball" or at a minimum wondering where it went. Some of this is the newness of the game and over time, I'll get to know all of the various ball paths. Even so, the variety of shots and ball paths lead me to add this as part of the overall definition of "different" - again though, I'll add "in a good way".

In closing, I would say that the quality and variety of the engineering is something I would also credit as additive to gameplay. This is not a simple, single level game. It's one of the most complex multi-level games manufactured by anyone, let alone a company with new designers at the healm. I think if you took away some of the (unwarranted) complaints of the lifter mechs and view the remainder of the game as a whole, you'd be impressed at what a young Spooky team has accomplished. The testament to how much I’ve been enjoying this game over 3 months is the 300 or so games I’ve played on it vs the 5 games I’ve played on my Godzilla LE during the same time period. I like GZ a lot, but the UM has me hooked and coming back every evening for more!
4 years ago
I rated this title significantly higher than most. It's a bowler that uses pinballs, instead of pucks or balls. It's not a pinball machine.
Based on what it IS not what some THINK it is or wish it was, it succeeds wildly!

In fact, I'm not sure this was ever tried in the past or since, so in that regard, this machine stands as a very unique one-of-a-kind effort.

It has menu settings to make it as hard or easy as you wish. My guess is that nobody is going to bowl a 300 game on this when set to the most difficult settings. Wife loves it, daughter plays it too and they really don't play my pinball games. Of course, its always waaaaaay more fun when played in teams/groups/partners

Fantastic addition to a larger collection of pinball games IF you enjoy bowling 'cause that's what it is!

BTW @jeremyON has a review below that is dead on - well done
7 years ago
KISS Premium Review

Put a few hundred games on our new Stern KISS Premium and thought it was time to share my thoughts on the game.
First, some background. Over 50 years old, grew up with Kiss as a teenager. My sister was the KISS fan in the house. I was mildly interested. Friends loved them too and when they would blast it on their stereos I would enjoy it but not love it. More interested at the time in Neil Young, Thin Lizzy, Boston, etc. Anyway … fast forward 30+ years and my wife is a KISS fan. When I suggested we get the new Stern, she did not object. Ordered and received it quickly from Trent at Tilt (thank you sir). So what is it like?

Well let's start by saying that I actually love the KISS music on the pin. None of the songs are new to me but I really do truly enjoy them fully for the first time. Several reasons. They might be remakes of the originals BUT they sound so good! I'm an audio snob that has spent a fortune on equipment over the years. I care deeply about the sounds quality of everything. With that said, everything is a comparison and this pin is no Macintosh amp or Krell or Mark Levinson BUT for a pin - it's amazing! Full disclosure, I added the Pinnovators subwoofer and headphone/volume control output device along with a Polk SW10 sub. The sub is a must have. So … the sounds is amazing, the volume level you can take it up to is deafening (it will literally drown out all the other pins in my room except maybe WOZ)

Just drop dead artwork on this pin. No other way to say it. Kevin O'Conner just nailed the design. Of course the muscles are "over-the-top" but so what, it's hand drawn art and it's supposed to be fantasy! The back box is beautiful but beware that it is BRIGHT and without PDI glass, you will get significant playfield reflections. I added a DMD glare guard (Comet Pinball) and that completely eliminates the DMD as an issue.

The playfield is simply stunning from a finish perspective. The clearcoat is as deep and clean as the one I did personally to my BOP. It looks like glass and is impressive. Of course the thicker the coat, the deeper the dimples. You get plenty of them in this game and they are simply unavoidable. Given the fact that the ball "drops" out of Gene's mouth, dimples are going to be there and they will be slightly more pronounced. Put 3,000 games on it and you'll never notice them

The ability of the playfield to change GI colors for each major multiball mode is really nice. Purple for Love Gun and Red for Demon multiball. Really adds to the gameplay

The controlled inserts are placed perfectly. Right in between the slings and easy to see your status in descending order of: KISS drop targets, KISS army, band members and then finally the Instruments . The Spike system has the benefit of what seems to be improved sound, but also has some negatives. One is the LOUD fan noise from the system. When playing the game this is NOT an issue. When idling it IS an issue. I'll walk into my game-room and wonder "what is that noise?" only to remind myself that the new Spike system has a fan (so does my WOZ but not as loud).

The center metal lane guide in the left in-lanes cause a fair number of left drains - particularly when the ball is moving left and hits the top of it (instead of a nice bounce "up", you will get more of a "skid/bounce" left to the drain).

The flashers at the slings are "weak" compared to others (they are surface mounted SMDs on a small circuit board) but not so terrible that it takes away from the game. The games lighting after all is one of its strong qualities

The Paul Stanley figure above the Starchild bullpen is animated but don’t expect much - he barely moves (this is a disappointment). The spotlight that is aimed at him does not do a great job due to its location. Others have moved it and the results are much improved.

Gene's "Demon Head" was a major issue with delivering STDMs just about 99% of the time. With just ONE game adjustment, this has been reduced to just 10%! Make this adjustment in the "Adjustments" menu area, the "KISS" sub-menu area. Find the "Demon Lockup Power" I set it to 22. Factory setting is 32. When set at factory, I got STDM almost every single time. The other setting is called "Demon Eject Power". The factory setting is 32 and that is what I have mine set to. I know this reads like I have it backwards, trust me - I don't (you can always set this back if you don't like the result).

The only other problem I had with mine was the SD card. Had sound cut-outs/skipping from game one. I copied/cloned the SD card to another (higher quality class 10) card and replaced it - fixed it perfectly, no more issues since. The game has been rock solid from an electronics perspective - no lock-ups and no freezes, etc. Running code v1.05 at this moment

OK, the most important part … how is it as a pinball machine? Killer fast and crazy fun! Fastest machine I have for sure and before that I would have said Star Trek Premium was - but no more. KISS gives you NO rest. It is literally non-stop action. The only breather you get is the center ramp (and any you create for yourself by flipper cradles, etc.). The speed in the game is reflected in ALL aspects, including ball save, where the next ball is served up so quickly that you had better not take your eyes of the game. Scoring is quick too. Whereas my Star Trek Premiums processor can "get behind" what the ball is doing on the table, the KISS Spike system is crazy fast. The combination of the speed along with the music makes you feel like you're actually at a concert and there are times when I lose focus on the game and shift to the music - weird I know, but true. When it happens, I'll usually make a dumb love and drain. Honestly one of the best games I've had to date (around 90MM) was when I was dancing, singing and generally acting like a kid at a concert while playing. I can easily say, it is the most fun I have when playing any of my pins - that's saying a lot!

The pin does a nice job of calling out the "next shot" via the arrow inserts. Easy to see them and they are color coordinated based on what mode you are working. This is important as each shot is both critical and challenging due to the tight posts and sharp angles of the most difficult shots. With the speed of this game, you need to look quickly and understand "what's next" - the game does a nice job of this.

The hardest shots are the Starchild "bullpen" area and of course the right ramp. I find the spinner shot to be a little easier and is one of the most satisfying on the table. Another VERY satisfying shot is the Peter Criss drum shot up through the pop bumpers. Nice double bass drum call-out as you pass the switch!

Cradling is very easy on the game for either flipper. Post passes are a challenge but can be done. Bounce passing from flipper to flipper is incredibly easy and helpful and this is a "target" style game with very specific and difficult to hit targets. Rolling passes from the in-lanes are easy. Cradling the ball on the right flipper is a sure way to drive the ball into the Demon head, a slight flick and its 100% intro Genes head every time.

The left and right drains are the biggest risk and for the most part will not be caused by the player - they are either random or forcible from the pop bumpers action. Because of the table design, drains down the middle are actually the least frequent. The only almost guaranteed drain down the middle is if you hit a weak shot up the center ramp that does not make it - watch out it's coming back!

KISS drop targets are challenging to hit from the right flipper but they need to be and this is a good challenge. Same goes for the ARMY targets on the other side of the playfield.

The Gene spinning disc introduces just the right amount of randomness to the play. There are times when the eject puts a crazy amount of spin on the ball. It's your job to coral and control it again. Once in great while this will produce a drain but it's rare and not annoying at all.

The levitating ball initiated by the Starchild bullpen is a cool feature and although it appears simple, the work that the team at Stern did to incorporate Paul's callouts, the DMD animation and music really do a nice job making it "more than it really is" - simple but still cool.

There are not as many mods available as for other games but there are some that are awesome and really add to the game. These are the ones that I did:
• Yellow fluorescent plastic protectors (slings and lanes)
• Polk SW10 Subwoofer & Pinnovators Spike sub-output
• KISS letter separator (Mezel Mods)
• Shaker motor (Spike system version)
• Mantis scoop protector (fits from underside)
• Pingraffix inside cab artwork (Ordered the LE version)
10 years ago
Finally at a point where I can share my thoughts about Fire. I've owned an HUO version of this now for 2 months and play it often. Of the 8 pins I have this one is most certainly the most challenging to score well on. It's also the most beautiful and BY FAR the fastest machine I own. I can see why plastics could easily get broken on this pin - the ball moves so fast that you quickly lose track of it as it runs the horseshoe ramp! It's an addictive game as it does not give up shots easily so scoring high and often simply doesn't happen. Skill shot on plunger is great and with practice and a clean plunger spring, new tip, you can get 100,000 points at least 2/3rds of the time. Center "ladder" shot is much harder than it looks but it can be done and is hugely satisfying when you hit it. The steep ramps with target stops at the top are very narrow and I still can not aim to hit them with any degree of regularity, this is good and keeps the game challenging. The outlanes are merciless and drains both left and right are common. This is a pin where it pays big time to stay out of the slings and control the ball,hit your shots. Love the fire bell and I have it set to minimum rings - just enough IMO. I ordered the repro plastic set JIC I ever need it as there are not many new sets left from the last production run. The speech portion of the sounds is terrible, very hard to understand what they are saying BUT the music is super and seems appropriate to the theme and time period. Overall play field lighting is a little on the dim side BUT the "light show" (inserts, flashers) is exquisite in that it really gives that feeling that the designers (Oursler, Sprenger) built the city of Chicago "under glass". A great, beautiful & very challenging pin that will stay in my collection permanently. Love it!
10 years ago
This is a pin to play when you're exhausted from playing an intense deeper pin like TOM or LAH. Relaxing slower pace than those but fun in a different way. Like the western callouts and theme. A little unbalanced in scoring when the 9 ball awards 500,000 million but so what, this is not a pin folks tend to compete on, they just play and have fun. Ramp is harder to hit than you think. Skill shot at start is really easy but well integrated into theme. Time your plunger shot to make the 8 ball in the upper PF hit the blue switch targets and get 5MM. Upper PF is used on skill shot opener and during gameplay to send cue ball in lower PF into targets that trigger the upper PF 8 ball to move - that particular shot is very satisfying! Very nice light show on this pin, even without LEDs. The artwork is not over the top but well done surrounding the western theme. Just a 2 ball multiball AND it's very controlled in that you determine the launch time of both balls but that is part of the "relax" and enjoy elements of the game. Buy one cheap and enjoy!
10 years ago
Does not matter that this is Data East or that it's based off a pretty bad movie . . . it's a great pin! Everyone says it's under rated but I'm not sure how it could even get low ratings. Fast, fun and flow are all outstanding. Only nitpicks are backglass art and GI lighting in middle above flippers (it's too dark). Other than that, lot's of fun. Great skillshot using gun, nice feature of missile to collect all lit targets. Bets multiball of any game I've played (6) and the shaker motor is VERY well integrated into game adding a ton to the experience and fun. Add cliffys to all 3 holes and add a new translight from Ebay and you're good to go!
10 years ago
Played but not owned. Beautiful GI on playfield. Artwork is very nice both on playfield and backglass. Would love to see one in premium shape as the one I saw looked great (though used well)
10 years ago
Very fast game! Bought this one because my wife wanted it. Now I like it just as much. Watching the balls runs around the wireform together (just like a real roller derby). Not heard much talk about lighting and GI but this game is outstanding! Lots of red flashers and playfield lights. I plan to LED the entire machine next week but even without it, the lights are amazing. The artwork needs to be regarded for what it is . . . roller games was a real TV show and back then it was mostly men that played unlike today. Music IS repetitive but it works well in the moment of the game. This is a KEEPER at our house (also have TOM and DE Simpsons)
10 years ago
Have owned this about a week and can say that my wife is hooked! Lot's of fun even if seemingly simple rule set and play. Large ramp that disappears into the backend of the machine is fun and not as easy to hit 2x in row as is necessary to "score big". Addictive but simple gameplay. Popup bowling pins sometimes get hit hard enough to launch ball into glass but no damage! Ball gets stuck behind closest cooling tower to player . . . game soon discovers that ball is stuck and runs all coils to clear it. Right drain does not often get used (good) but left drain sees lots of action, good news, in that is has a "return to play" plunger that puts the ball back in play. Overall a fun pin to play that scores lower than others in areas of: Sounds variation and game rule set.
10 years ago
Purchased TOM as my first pin and really enjoy it. Have played it enough to know that if can be both easy and challenging at the same time. My daughter plays and it's simple enough for her to stay interested but has plenty of "depth" if I want to get involved in a marathon game. This seems like the perfect "first pin" due to many factors. Can be slow/steady play in mid field or mind blowing fast if you loop the ramps! There is a "skill shot" on the ball plunger on this pin even though many reviewers drop this pin a few points and say there is not, the designers simply placed it on the playfield after the ball is in play (just hit the box right away). This is an unbelievably beautiful game and playfield AND adding key mods only makes it better. I added the Tiger saw, Clock, Lighted mirror and full LED set, non of this takes away from the native beauty of this pin but simply adds to it. The use of magnets throughout the game is very well done, especially the Hocus Pocus wands on each drain. When they activate, you "feel" the power of the magnets grabbing and saving the ball from draining at either side. Highly recommend this as a first pin (or second, third . . .)