n4297m's ratings

Pinsider n4297m has rated 9 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms n4297m's personal top 9.


Rating comments

n4297m has written 9 rating comments:


8.456/10
9 years ago
Black Rose is another game that I restored with my next door neighbor. This came from a old dank dark warehouse that would have been an excellent backdrop for the next B rated horror movie. When it showed up it was filthy dirty with a cracked cannon, non functional broadside, a line out on the DMD and other issues. For anyone redoing one of these, boy is there a lot of metal to polish on this one. I still have nightmares of the hours and hours spent sanding and at the polishing wheel to get back a mirror finish. The cannon is a fun toy, but it takes its toll on the area right in front of the cannon. Currently, there is a cliffy available to help. However, we carefully created a dam after removing the cannon and poured in ZPoxy (2 part very hard epoxy) after touching up the paint, to solidify the area and form a hard protective shell for the ball to bounce against. After carefully sanding down to playfield level and then polishing, it blends in nicely and is not noticable. The ramp is not available and the one on the machine was cracked. again some ZPoxy and small sections of 1/4 oz fiberglass cloth came to the rescue and enabled us to reinforce the ramp entrance and prevent further cracking without making it obvious.

A full set of cointaker LEDs finished off the package and made for the an appealing look. Fortunately, the cabinet art wasn't faded and is very attrative. Unlike most of these I've seen the side art was not faded.

In terms of gameplay Black Rose is fun. It doesn't have a complicated rule set, but it has a number of fun video modes including walking the plank, throwing knives and swining from the riggings. The gameplay can be a bit repetative, but sinking ships with the cannon never gets old. There are fun ramps such as the whirlpool on the right where repeated shots build the bonus up to 1 million per ramp. The left the ramp circles behind the playfield (maintenance nightmare, many explitives were uttered when swaping this for a new part as the old one was cracked) and into and out of the ship illustration at the back of the machine. Then there's the lock shot and Dave Jones locker for loading the cannon.

The gameplay doesn't have the flow of say a BK2K, WH20, STTNG, etc. but it's still fun and relatively cheap fun at that. The one my neighbor picked up was $1500. Although he put another $600 - $800 into the restoration. "Send'em to Davy Jones"
9.300/10
9 years ago
Indy is another strong Williams early 90s pin. Like many of the other early 90s pins it has plenty of modes and outstanding theming. From the first time you push the start button and the Indy music starts up the theme is tremendously well integrated. The real actor voice callouts with some specifically recorded for the machine just envelop you in the Indy theme. The artwork on both the playfield and backglass are just a continuation of the outstanding theme integration. I especially like the abiliity to simply shoot the swordsman in the marketplace. There are many, many modes all tied nicely into the theme to execute. These include a number of video modes such as the minecart and Ravenwood bar.

A good friend and neighbor has this machine and we worked together on the restoration. The problem area and continued annoyance is the mode saucer. So far we haven't been able to get the ball to reliably stick in the saucer and it bounces out multiple times during a game. Also, maintenance on this machine is not fun, as cleaning the rollovers, loop shots and left hand side of the pop bumper area is a case of bruised knuckles and contortionism.

The Lost Plastic on the back of the machine is a must to really complete the art package and the lighting in the back of the machine could be better. We modified the biplane to have a spinning propellor and added the mine cart and ark to the ramps. The ramps are tall on this and require a very precise shot to hit them reliably. Also, as mentioned, the Path to Adventure is more of an art than a science. We went to considerable effort to level it precisely and it still is a challenge and a half to make it all the way through.

Overall however, the machine makes good use of the wide body playfield and provides an intricate and immersive experience. If only the mode saucer would actually stick. Threading the ball up to the pop bumper area, making the ramps and loops are rewarding. It is a good machine, but has a few issues that keep it from being up there with the likes of TZ. "See ya later Indiana Jones"
8.291/10
9 years ago
I bought my BK2K from a retired couple who had purchased it new in 1989. The only problem, it had never been cleaned and had lived it's life in a room over a garage. As you can imagine the batteries had long since leaked doing a fair amount of board damage. Getting the machine out of it's location proved to be an adventure indeed especially down the homemade stairs. As is true with many of these machines the area around the Magna-Save was in deperate need of restoration. I pulled off the lower and upper mylar (a real treat to say the least after a month the feeling returned in my fingertips). Once remylared and the once the metal work was polished and reinstalled the machine looked good. Fortunately, the cabinet was in near perfect condition and the backglass (yes a real backglass) was also near perfect. After rebuilding the the pop bumper section of the driver board including bypassing some of the acid damaged traces the game came back to life.

I originally bought the machine as it was designed by the master of flow, Mr. Steve Ritchie. On that account, the machine does not disappoint. The loopback on the lower playfield gives new meaning to the words lightning fast. On the upper playfield, if you get the loop timing of the upper flipper right the ball litterally screams around the playfield and if you miss it with the upper flipper it will drain SDTL before you can blink. Three ball multiball and Two ball multiball are exciting and fast. It is no easy feat to knock down the barrier and then lock the ball in the castle three times.

The music is phenominal. It is blood pumping especially with updated speakers. The left ramp up to the upper playfield from the lower playfield is very steep and requires a strong set of flippers. RANSOM is a wild crazy mode with a fantastic light show. The backglass has an excellent set of flashers. The lightning wheel is a really cool lighting concept. Plus there are excellent flashers located throughout the the upper playfield.

I really loved this machine. Unfortunately, my friends and family never really warrmed up to it as it was in their opionion just too fast. The ball would be here and gone in a hurry. Consequently, it didn't get played other than by me and I ended up trading it for a W?D that my kids appreciate a whole lot more than BK2K. I still think between the music and the flow this was a fun machine although the speed and proximity of the targets on the lower playfield made it very unforgiving. Still, excellent work Mr. Ritchie although in my house STTNG is more highly regarded. Oh well, "Gimmie your money!"
9.420/10
9 years ago
I was fortunate to pick up a very nice TZ last year. I stripped and polished the playfield with 3Ms fine and ultra fine compounds (White and Blue). The 3M products are expensive, but produce an impressive result. The subway system is complicated, but a lot better than STTNG which is ridiculous. As part of the reconstruction and restoration I replaced all the flipper components, posts, etc. I also polished the metal pieces back to a mirror finish and replaced all the rubber comoponents, ramp and plastics. I also added Robby, the Slot Machine, Piano, Airliner, Spiral Sign, Bubblegum Machine Lights and Bubblegum Balls, Translite Door Kit and full Cointaker Super Brights and Retros (where visible).

TZ simply has it all in one package. I am fortunate to have a decent collection myself and live near Pinball Wizard in New Hampshire with 100 tables. This has given me the opportunity to play a diverse set of tables and TZ is still the one that represents the best overall package. TZ has a diverse set of shots using all of its 6 flippers. Learning to play all of the flippers is essential to making it to Lost in the Zone. TZ is certainly a machine that benefits from the home setting. There are so many rules, objectives, and strategies that a player has to really understand the rules to be successful which is tough outside of the home. The more I play this game the more I reaffirm that this would be the last machine I would ever let leave my collection. However, it takes time to really appreciate TZ. At first I wasn't enamoured, but over time you really appreciate the brillance of Pat Lawlor and his team when they made this game.

I also enjoy the series and I think that helps as you really see the attention to detail that was bestowed on this table in the integration of the theme through both the artwork on the playfield and translite as well as the sound package. I'm not a huge Golden Earring fan, but it works with the table. However, the remainder of the sounds are spot on with the representation of Rod Serling being really amazing.

The shots on TZ are tight and tough. Whether it is the gumball shot on the right, the lock shot or town hall up through the deadly pop bumpers. The outlanes are deadly, but force good ball control. Lost in the Zone is not trivial and is something you need to work for more so than the Final Frontier on Star Trek.

When friends and relatives come to the house TZ is not the first machine they rush to, however, I'm noticing as folks get more exposure to it they start to graviate to it more and more.

In summary, TZ is the best of the best in a complete package of art, sound, and gameplay. My hat's off to you Mr. Lawlor for a truely outstanding table that I love to play. I haven't yet encountered a better overall table, "Don't touch the door".
7.302/10
9 years ago
I got my Secret Service out of an old warehouse that would have made a good backdrop for the next Freddy or Jason movie along with a Black Rose. The Secret Service, at the time was a little on the rough side. Most of the controlled lamps weren't working along with several of the solenoids. After taking a good look at the boards there were so many hacks that I elected to just go with a new Rottendog board. Data East chrome plated their metal which makes the pieces very shiny, but also difficult to repair. I finally sanded off the Chrome and copper and got down to the base stainless and polished that back to a mirror finish. Data East mylared the bottom of the playfield, but strangely enough didn't originally mylar the top of the playfield resulting in wear on the loop shots. After restoration I mylared the entire playfield. Even though the buildings and ramps are available the decals for those are not. This is a tough problem and resulted in a lot of scavenging. I was fortunate to find someone parting out an old Secret Service with broken buildings and ramps, but good decals that could be carefully remmoved and installed on new buildings.

The playfield artwork and sound is really the gem in this machine. All the little touches on the playfield from Ben Franklin and his kite to George Washington and the cherry tree are really fun. The layout is very reminiscent of High Speed as others have commented. The game can be very fast and sometimes this results in "air balls" which is the real detractor from the machine. If a ball unexpectedly jumps into the White House the machine doesn't necessarily realize it and doesn't clear it as part of the ball find logic which can be annoying to regularly have to slide back the glass.

The sound package is awesome on this machine from "Secret Agent Man" to "Mission Impossible" to "Get Smart" it does a fantastic job of capturing the 60s spy theme. The popup "Hideout" on the right side is really a creative way of locking a ball. I replaced all of the original lighting with Retro and superbrite LEDs from cointaker and this really helped with the lighting package. It effectively brought out the inserts and livened up the game.

Overall, the gameplay is fun and fast. Somehow, and maybe this is subconscious, it doesn't have the Williams feel or quality. The ramp, which I replaced with a new one, gets a lot of abuse and hitting it feels more random than other games like STTNG or Whirlwind. Also, in mine was an annoying 60Hz hum. I'm an Electrical Engineer by trade and tried every trick I could to get rid of it, but to no avail.

It was with mixed feelings that I traded my SS for a Whirlwind. Overall, I think that Whirlwind is a much better game, but SS still had its charms especially in the art package of the playfield (I think enough has been said about the backglass which isn't the prettiest thing out there) and sound package and overall game speed.
8.640/10
9 years ago
Revenge from Mars is a technical wonder. It really represented out of the box thinking by George Gomez and company. The layout is a fairly standard fan layout, but the various modes really bring life to the layout. The humor is really first rate from the "Don't take the interns" quote to the Stepmother Ship. I personally love the Alien Autopsy mode. I agree with many of the other comments that highlight the fact that the upper portions of the machine are hidden taking away from the pure pinball experience, but this was a necessity to allow for the mirrored glass supporting the animations. There are many multiball modes and I find myself carrying multiball into other modes and managing multiple balls for a large percentage of the game play. Getting all the way to Mars is a trek and does require a significant time investment. I'm certainly not that good of a pinball player so it has taken me the better part of a hour to make it through the modes.

The gameplay can get a bit repetative as you transition through the modes, but very few pinball machines don't suffer from this. The wide variety of modes and creativity balance this with fun. Playing the "Martian Hypno Beam" mode in a dark room is a real challlenge as the entire playfield goes dark requiring some serious focus and reaction time.

Overall, I think it's a good marriage of video and pinball. When I first got mine the first thing that hit me was the shear weight of this cabinet. It must be upwards of 700 lbs complete. I was fortunate as the playfield was in exceptionally good shape and the fact that the playfield can be easily removed from the game really enhances maintenance. I have installed the saucer mod kit and enjoy it thoroughly. I also added a video amp to bring up the signal strength into the monitor which really enhances the graphics. If you get one of these make sure to check and/or replace the power supply and fan on the embedded PC. I upgraded the fan to a higher CFM unit and replaced the power supply as the one that came with the game was not good and resulted in frequent resets during gameplay. After installing a new power supply and fan I have never experienced a shutdown or reset since.

Overall I can't rate this as highly as my TZ, STTNG, or even CFTBL, but with that said RFM isn't going anywhere as it's my wife's favorite machine.
8.624/10
9 years ago
I ended up trading a Black Knight 2000 for my WHO Dunnit a little on a whim. My kids and wife didn't like the brutal speed of Black Knight 2000 so I thought, why not try WHO Dunnit for a change. It was fairly cheap for a DMD / DCS Williams especially compared to my TZ, CFTBL, STTNG, and WH20. I was actually pleasantly surprised. This machine is actually a lot of fun.

There are multiple multiball modes (Basement, Elevator Madness, Penthouse Party, and the Roof) which can get frantic. Sure, the scoring is a little unbalanced as you rank up $80M, $90M, etc a shot on Penthouse Party, but it's still a lot of fun. Go ahead, gamble 2 billion points at the roulette wheel, lose and then have to earn all those points back or win and feel like the king of the world. Pray as the ball travels down the outlane that the slot machine gods are going to be kind and give you something good like a second chance.

The detective theme is well executed. There are a number of folks that point out that the game is missing a Wizard Mode, but I honestly think it doesn't detract from the fun factor. The Roof mode that occurs at the end of each "case" is still a blast as you try to hit the loops and then the phone shot in a hurry to catch the murder all the while the animations on the DMD are showing a great foot chase. Is it stop and go at times, sure, but at other times the ball is travelling at warp speed around the loops and in and out of the elevator.

Walking up to this machine in the arcade, I was never all that impressed, but once I got it home, read the back story on the characters, and understood the elevator and what the different floors do, this game just became fun. On top of that, with upgraded speakers the music track including the Peter Gunn theme, takes you back to that "film noir" feeling almost perfectly. I regularly hang around at the end of a game just to listen to the music.

I replaced most of my GI lighting with pink retros from Cointaker, the inserts with superbrites and added a strip of leds at the top of the playfield that illuminates it blue. The combination of the blue leds running fairly dim and the pink GI provides this purplish glow resembling dusk at the top of the machine and lights up the somewhat dark area very nicely. At the bottom and middle of the machine the pink leds give the plastics that rich color that really reminds one of the old hotels and clubs of the 1930s and 1940s.

Is it as good as say TZ, STTNG, or WW? Probably not, Who Dunnit would leave my collection before those, but with that said I'm in no hurry to have it go anywhere. It's a machine that I can walk up to after a bad day at work, play a game, and walk away with a smile. I'll never win a PAPA tournament, so at the end of the day the ability of a machine to leave me with a smile on my face makes it a good machine indeed and this one won't leave your wallet bare even though it has the same built quality that other Willliams are known for. The one unfortunate thing is not being able to buy the center ramp. Mine is in good shape, but I'm always worried that someday it will crack on me. Who Dunnit was a gamble, in this case it was a gamble that I think I won. "I never answer the phone."
9.340/10
9 years ago
WHITE WATER! White Water was the first pin I bought several years ago and it started the obsession. White Water is still a family favorite. The theme is so well integrated into the feel of the game. Other than the whirlpool ramp the game never slows down, but like other early 90's Williams you have to continually be thinking on your feet. How can I setup a 5X playfield and the white water multiball together? Do I want to take the advance raft now or wait until collecting a raft is harder and it'll do me more good? Do I risk trying for the extra ball or not? If my score is higher will Mystery Canyon give me Class VI river? Do I take the multiball now or do I try to avoid triggering it in the hopes of making it to Vacation Planner and saving my locks?

I wasn't even sure of the theme when I bought the machine especially given the negatives some folks have pointed out with the music, but I guess I'm abnormal as it has grown on me after hundreds of games. The fact that each ball gets its own variation on the music and it gets more frantic as you go. The various "hidden" modes like camera craze, achieved after hitting big foot's cave three times, are just hysterical especially when you get the cows. In all the time I've had White Water with at least four people regularly playing it there have only been two games that have achieved Vacation Planner, many many have come so close. As others have commented, the person who got the first Vacation Planner thought he broke the machine as it shut down and then went completely crazy. Unlike "Lost in the Zone" or "Final Frontier" that we see on a regular basis Vacation Planner is a true rarity which makes White Water a real challenge to complete and leaves you wanting for just one more try at it.

I did replace all the bulbs with cointaker superbrite LEDs and they really dressed up the inserts especially the arrows on the ramps and lock lights. That is important given that the boulder garden loop arrow is prety well hidden on the right side. I left the original 194's in the topper which has to be one of the greatest toppers in pinball. Normally, I'm not a huge topper person, but the lights creating the flowing water effect is amazing. I also replaced all the ramps. If you get one of these I highly recommend the ramp guards that go behind the lock targets. My original ramps were completely smashed behind the lock targets and with the new ramps and guards I haven't seen any damage at all.

I typically will take all the ramps out, strip the machine down to the playfield and rewax every year. This keeps the game play lighting fast and combo shots satisfying. If there is a negative on this machine it has to be maintenance. Mechanically, I really haven't had anything go wrong, but to clean and wax the loops requires a lot of parts to come out that are not easy to remove. I would much rather strip my STTNG, RFM, TZ, W?D, or CFTBL any day. It takes me a good solid full day to 1.5 days of work to take the machine apart, clean the playfield, put a couple of coats of wax on and reasseemble. I can do the same on my other machines in about half a day or less in the case of RFM.

In summary, White Water is a fabulous game. I think if pressed I would still keep my TZ over it, but it's still a machine that I'm never planning on selling. Even after many, many games it's still challenging. The ruleset is simply enough that you can tell a guest to "aim for the flashing arrows", but for a more experienced player there are tons of strategies to employ. It's theme seems to be univerally enjoyable. During holiday parties RFM, CFTBL, and WH20 are generally the most popular machines in the house. Unfortunately, the secret seems to be out as I see these machines fetching more and more these days.
7.572/10
9 years ago
In addition to Space Station I also have a number of ‘A' list machines. I would not rate Space Station as the top pin in the collection, but it is played as nearly as much as the others. The lack of inlanes makes for a very dynamic game especially if the slingshots are adjusted properly to provide significant action. The right ramp shot is difficult, but fulfilling. I replaced all the bulbs in mine with superbrite LEDs. Additionally, I put blue LEDs under the star posts. This made a huge difference on the lighting and really lit up the upper right area of the playfield as well as the upper left under the mini-playfield which were very dim with the original bulbs and their requisite bulb "condoms". It also made an enormous difference in "condition green". Now the playfield lights up in a brilliant green and really enhances the game. The game music, sound effects, and artwork are right on target for the theme. It makes you think of Disney's Space Mountain. The main focus of the game is to "dock" two balls and enter "condition green" which is a three ball multi ball. There is a definite sense of accomplishment when you're able to successfully "redock" the balls during condition green. The rule set is a little thin, but this is an early System 11 game and given that I think the rule set keeps the game play fun. The light show when you get a high score and achieve some of the other goals is very impressive. The high score light and music sequence is easily better than any of my other pins. I really do think this machine belongs in the top 100. It may not compete with the top 50, but I'm glad to have it in my collection and am not planning on having it go anywhere anytime soon.

I think the strongest point for this game is its alignment with the intended theme. This includes the lighting, sound effects, game music and artwork. I think the art package on the payfield and backglass is very well done and everything down to the fonts used are spot on. I think the open playfield layout is a plus although it does take some getting used to and requires good live catch skills. On the negative side I think the machine could have better flow as there are no loops back to the player and the ramp shot is difficult. Also, the ramp itself is made of somewhat lightweight plastic as compared to say the ramps on WH20 and the ramps are not available. I ended up rebuilding a portion of the ramp with fiberglass and body putty and reinforcing the remainder of the ramp to keep it from cracking. The effort came out well and it's impossible to tell where the repairs were made, but I've seen several machines with this same damage.