Russell's ratings

Pinsider Russell has rated 58 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms Russell's personal top 58.

Rating comments

Russell has written 30 rating comments:

3 years ago
The code is still buggy, and it remains somewhat confusing. It requires precise shooting, and control. To play it really well requires integrating the use of the lockdown bar button, which is a new challenge. Plus, the multipliers are constantly counting down, so you don't have time to stop and think! A unique challenge. Beautiful cabinet, playfield, animations. Obviously, the theme is second to none. I'm happy with my purchase, anticipate this one will stay in my basement for years.
3 years ago
X-Men is a very good game. Though it is a fan layout, it has a few interesting shots. Nothing super creative, but decent layout. Rules are very complex and strong. Deep code. I don't love the theme, but not terrible. The major weakness is the ridiculously huge Wolverine figure in the center. WAY too big. Someone should make a mod to remove this silly thing.
3 years ago
Whitewater is a spectacular game. One of my favorite upper play fields in all of pinball. The left ramp is super interesting (ball hits the glass intentionally...what???, that still gets me every time). Cabinet, backglass and topper art are great. Playfield art is weak. Also, a bit too easy. I would love to own a nice example of this game, and set it up SUPER hard to cut down the ball times. A great, great game.
3 years ago
TOM's strength is the interesting layout and cool trunk gimmick. Rules are good. Overall, very strong package. I love the theme. Art is just OK. Definitely worth checking out. Love JPop layouts.
3 years ago
Aerosmith is Kiss Deluxe. Don't care for the theme. Art is good, but playfield is too crowded. Need to do more with the LCD animations. Gimmicks are fun. Upper playfield is a waste of space. Prefer the Pro. Better than Kiss.
3 years ago
TOTAN has a great layout, which is its strength. I don't care for the spinning lamp feature. The ramps are amazing. The rules are very strong and interesting. I love the theme, but the art is pretty awful. Definitely one to check out, but I don't LOVE it.
3 years ago
ROAD SHOW is an under-appreciated game. Amazing layout. NO WASTED SPACE. Lots of satisfying shots. Fun, creative code. Lots to do. Really, the only flaws are the terrible theme and the fact that the talking heads are copycat from Funhouse. This game is a great one for any true pinball fan.
3 years ago
Metallica is a modern classic. It's a fan layout, but with great rules, interesting gimmicks. It's fast and fun, but also with surprising complexity. A great game, actually made me like Metallica's music (sort of)
3 years ago
Very interesting layout, love the single pop in the lower left. One of my favorite games from the era. Great theme. Weird but fun art package.
3 years ago
SOF is an amazing game. Incredible layout. Very creative. Fun upper playfield (which is rare). Very little wasted space on the layout, aside from the "horseshoe" in the lower left. Right up there with Taxi vying for my favorite system 11 game.
3 years ago
T3 is a decent game. The theme is meh. The art is pretty bad. It's a fan layout. However, the multiple metal ramps are fun. The RPG game in the backglass is simple, but works well and is pretty fun and challenging.
3 years ago
AMH is a surprising gem. Lots of fun for basically a fan layout. Reminiscent of 90s B/W games. The right orbit has some issues, hard to hit smoothly, but the jump is interesting. Campy humor in the modes and callouts. Silly theme, which turned people off initially. It sort of grew on me. It has issues losing balls into the apron area. Apparently, it was hard to keep working well on location. A great game for home. I suspect this will turn into a cult classic. Time to grab one and keep it. Will be tough to find in the future. My top candidate for a game that will appreciate in value.
3 years ago
Black Knight is a great example of a two-level game. It has a lot of fun shots for the era. I love the upper playfield, especially the layout of the flipper relative to the upper playfield drains. Very creative, challenging. I love the Magna-Save feature. Theme is good. Art is just OK.
3 years ago
Taxi is a great system 11 game. Simple rules, fairly easy to understand. Jackpots are challenging but doable. I wish the ramps had better flow, they're a little clunky. Perhaps (?) my favorite system 11...?
3 years ago
TZ is a classic. One of the greatest games of all time. The theme, art, rules are all spectacular. My only complaints are the silly Power playfield, which ruins a fairly sizable chunk of playfield real estate. Also, the pops in the lower left are a waste. Overall, it's a must own for anyone who loves pinball.
3 years ago
WCS is a fun game. The layout is a little congested, but it is a creative design, which I appreciate. It's far from a typical fan layout. The art is pretty terrible because of the silly dog character. The rules are fairly engaging. The scoop shot is very difficult. The goal is very satisfying. The soccer ball is a creative gimmick. Recommended, but didn't last long in my collection. Overall, it's just too easy.
3 years ago
Rob zombie is a very unusual game. The strangest layout in years. I love the coding. Tons of different multiball options. I love the CHOP lane ball save idea. House of 1000 corpses MB is a kick. Highly recommended for those who get sick of basic fan layouts. A few shots are poorly designed, particularly the R orbit and the "#3" shot.
3 years ago
Iron man is a simple fan layout, but it is a surprisingly fun game. It's easy to see what you need to do, very little learning is involved. The mini wizard mode is very reachable, a fun challenge. Fast, difficult, challenging, fun.
3 years ago
Skate ball is one of the best solid state games ever. Very fun game. The right saucer dominates the strategy, along with the SKATE targets on the left. Great outlane design.
3 years ago
The fastest wide body game in history. The right ramp is poorly designed, and makes it difficult to hit consistently without constant tweaking. The theme is weak. Overall, it's fast and chaotic. Definitely worth giving it a shot.
3 years ago
GOT is one of the best modern Stern games. It's strength is in the code. Lots of interesting strategy decisions. The upper playfield is weak, but could be improved if Castle MB was given more points. I prefer the Pro at this point.
3 years ago
TSPP is perhaps the best Stern game of all time! My only complaint is the very long ball times. There are 6 mini-wizard modes. 6! I've never made it to the final wizard mode, seems nearly impossible.
3 years ago
My Review: Ghostbusters Pro
I have owned and enjoyed many Stern games. I am an unabashed Stern fan. I have not bought GB...yet. I played ~10 games of GB Pro at PAPA 19. Then maybe 15 games at the Press Play launch party. Another 15 games at the1Up. I watched the Dead Flip twitch stream of GBLE. OK, with my GB credentials out of the way, on to the review...
The theme is weak. Not terrible, but not great, either. I saw the movie when I was 10, liked it, but haven't thought of it since then. It's better than Gremlins, Beetlejuice or TMNT, but 80s nostalgia is wearing thin at this point.
The art is fantastic, especially on the Pro. I love the colorful cabinet, and the terror dogs look great. I don't like looking at the marshmallow burning-man on the Premium, and Slimer (not Slimmer!) on the LE looks...goofy? I hate all the lime green snot everywhere. This is the first time I can comfortably say Pro > Premium > LE (at least in terms of art.)
The playfield art is colorful and integrates the theme well. Zombie Yeti is an amazing asset for our hobby. I'm glad he was rescued from JPop hell.
This game is incredibly fun. It is packed full of tough-but-satisfying shots. The modes are clever and engaging.
It's impossible to properly judge Premium and LE before playing them, but I'll include my impressions up to this point.
Initially, the magna-slings looked lame and gimmicky. It was silly of Stern to release that video of the early slings. On the Dead Flip stream, I was shocked how normally they behaved. They were a little dead, but I was reassured that thet wouldn't ruin the game, and might actually end up being a nice touch.
I'm not excited about the Ecto-goggles. Holograms? Again? Yawn.
I'd always prefer physical to virtual ball locks. I'm also excited to see the under-the-playfield ramp. I was glad to see Stern step up and fix the Slimer mech.
It's not flawless, but overall, it's a great package. Kudos to Trudeau, ZY and Dwight. I'll be a buyer, eventually. I'm waiting to see if the Premium playfield is enough to make it worth enduring the inferior art package. It's down to Pro or Premium for me. I just can't get over the neon green goo enough to want the LE.
For those who got in on LE, congratulations. Good call. Enjoy the game or the profit. Either way, it's a win.
3 years ago
For perspective, I owned, loved and regret ever selling WOZ. I was in on The Hobbit, but got out because of the Elaut scandal and rumors about financial troubles at JJP. I count myself as a JJP fan, and I am a huge fan of Keith Johnson's coding. I'm really glad that JJP appears to have stabilized and is now shipping The Hobbit.
I have played The Hobbit 3 times now. Once, early in the code at Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown '15, once recently at the 2Up, and today at Arcade Amusements in Manitou Springs, CO.
It is a beautiful game. It is just gorgeous, perhaps the best looking game since WOZ. Definitely among the top 10 prettiest games of all time. If they had done direct printing cabinets like early WOZs, it might take the #1 spot on looks alone.
However...the playfield is laughably empty. The ball floats around the playfield like I'm playing an 80s Bally or something. I wonder if they did this intentionally as a response to the difficult maintenance of WOZ. If the ball is really slow and there's nothing to hit, nothing can break, right?
Can this shell of a game be salvaged by Keith Johnson? If so, this will (further) solidify his reputation as the GOAT programmer.
3 years ago
Theme (7/10) I never watched this show as a kid. I recently went back and watched it a little. I admit, it's pretty good. I never knew Batman was originally a tongue-in-cheek, campy thing. I like that approach better than the modern, more serious take on it. So, it's a better theme than I originally thought. Not nostalgic for me, but still not a bad choice. I'm eating some crow on the theme.
Art (8/10) It's very colorful, which integrates well with the theme. The playfield art is a little too crowded for my taste, but that seems to be the trend lately. The graphics displayed on the LCD are stunning. I'm really impressed by Stern on this point. With their notorious issue of slow coding, I figured this would be a weakness. It's not. It looks great, and very professional. They don't overload you with information like WOZ or Hobbit. The screen adds to the experience, but doesn't require your constant attention.
Gameplay: (9/10) It's a fun game. I like BMDK, and it's pretty similar. I understand them wanting to reuse the crane idea, that's a great toy. The main shots are fairly simple but rewarding. The "lazy Susan" mech is kind of interesting. It does quite a few things. Nothing mind-blowing, but it's a pretty good addition. The Bat-phone ringing sound is annoying. Please, pinball manufacturers, stop using this sound. The only think worse would be the sound of a pager beeping and vibrating. (cringe)
Code: (8/10) Getting the main 4 characters is simple and fun. I still don't completely understand the "minor villains" part, but it seems to add some depth. The code seems fairly complete, if a little shallow. Hopefully, the depth will come with updates. Certainly in a very playable state already.
Overall: (8/10) It's a nice game. I don't love the theme, but that's a minor gripe, and wouldn't keep me from buying it. It's fun and engaging. I give Stern a lot of credit for doing such a nice job with the LCD coding on their first such game. One of Stern's better games lately. Not quite on par with Ghostbusters or GOT, but better than Kiss, Wrestlemania, Mustang. Unfortunately, my favorite local arcade (1up Colfax, Denver) isn't getting one because of the Premium pricing structure. C'mon, Stern, give us a Pro model!
6 years ago
I like the theme and it has a decent art package for the era. It has a simple mechanism (Light A-C-E) for getting a Special, which is mildly engaging. I always enjoy having paths to return the ball to the top for another chance to nudge the ball into the right lanes. This has one on each side of the playfield. There is a mildly interesting double spinner in the middle of the playfield. Overall, the playfield is too sparse and too symmetrical, with not much interesting to do.
6 years ago
This is a genuinely great game. The code is relatively simple, but engaging. I find the risk vs. reward strategy around the Dine-Time award very interesting. A couple of fun and challenging shots. A relatively intuitive game. I don't particularly love the Diner theme, but it's not offensive. The call-outs are somewhat repetitive and irritating. I would consider owning this game.
6 years ago
I didn't love Mustang. Too much of the central real estate is taken up with the upper lanes, pops and the GEARS drop targets. Nothing much interesting happens on the right upper side of the machine. The ramp on the upper left is OK, but not enough to keep my attention. I don't care for the theme. The car in the middle is lame.
7 years ago
Fun game with cool ramp shot on the left side. I love the multiball that comes from the arc of the covenant toy.
7 years ago
One of the best multiball startup sequences ever.