tamoore's ratings

Pinsider tamoore has rated 55 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms tamoore's personal top 55.

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Rating comments

tamoore has written 55 rating comments:


8.051/10
8 months ago
A Gottlieb EM without that large top arch. It's unique, but they made 20k of these playfields with different artwork, but this version of the game has the best artwork in my opinion.
It's no easy task (for me) to knock all the targets down on a single ball. Yea, once you do knock them down there isn't much to do, but it's not easy to do so there is a lot of play there before you run out of targets.
Chimes are the standard chimes from the era. You can tell it's a gottlieb, but you can't tell one apart from another from this era.

Buy one!
8.773/10
9 months ago
I just spent a weekend with Space Shuttle at a friends house, and couldn't get enough of it. I always remember it being a solid game, but once I started playing it, it was hard to stop. It has the kind of rule set that I love in Pinball. Is it repetitive? Yes. Is it addicting? oh yea!

It has a few objectives that are each easy to complete, but doing them all at once to really get the high scores isn't easy.
Max out the spinner on the way to maxing out the bonus multiplier and then start the multibull and hit the ramp over and over again while spotting all the targets.

Super awesome game. I'm looking for my own right now. This is the game that saved pinball, and for good reason!
6.411/10
1 year ago
A couple of satisfying spinner shots, and the drop through chicane lane. It's an OK game with not too much going on for it. When judged along side of other games from its era, it comes up average or below average.

Edit 2:
The sound you get when you rip the spinners makes these spinner shots probably the best feeling in all of EM pinball. Huge clicks and a bell for each rotation make shooting them very satisfying. Game is worth playing for this alone.

Edit:
Left target, right target, rip the spinners, advance the bonus to full, and try to light the double bonus light and drop through the chicane for 30,000 bonus points. Along the way light the special/extra ball lane.

I thought maybe after playing it a bunch of times I would change my mind, but it's still just mediocre at best.
8.265/10
1 year ago
PinBot is a game I shouldn't like, but I do anyway. It's got a lot of shots to nowhere, and the one "flow" shot ends up in a bagatelle for the reason of maybe getting the ball back into the shooter lane to score a skill shot, I guess.

It's got good music and theme and a great light show with about a million flashers. The locking mechanism is pretty cool and the rules are well thought out for a game of this era.

I generally don't like games from this era, but something about this is fun for me as a change of pace game. I think I'll keep it.
7.677/10
2 years ago
This game is beautiful. There is something odd looking about the guy with axe on the BG, though. That's a big head, mister.
It's an ultra wide-body, but with good operating solenoids, it can be really fast.
There are pretty cool shots here. The spinner lane, across the playfield, through the waterfall back to the right flippers is pretty cool, and the in line drop targets uncovering the treasure is hard to complete, but very satisfying.
The rules are basic, but there are lots of opportunities to hear the knocker go off by completing different shots.
It's not a great game, but it's still pinball, and can be really fun. Glad I finally scored one.
8.291/10
3 years ago
I really don't care for the early solid state pinball era much at all. It's my least favorite pinball time period for pinball, where the layouts were largely uninspired, the rules just slightly better than EM's, and the sounds were really bad...

The guys who did Black Hole got it right, however. It is wide open, but really fast, there is a lot of sling and pop bumper action along with pretty clear objectives that are pretty hard to complete. The lower playfied just pushes the whole package over the top, and makes it one of the best solid state games ever made.

I'll expand on this review at a later date...

- I got a request to expand on my review, so I will now -

It's a great looking and playing game, well ahead of its time. Multiball is really hard to achieve so it's a treat to finally get it and it is crazy to have the balls going on both levels. The sounds and lighting are good and fit the theme really well. A couple years back I thought I was going to have to trim from 30 games down to 9. Black Hole was one of the games I was going to keep. I recommend this game, even if you don't really care for the era the game comes from.
7.796/10
3 years ago
Part one of the Lawlor natural disaster series.

Good:
The theme is great.
A really cool skill shot.
The through-the-pops orbit loop is fast!
The rules are the standard system11 fare - which I enjoy.
A fault line toy that directs the ball to lock when the quake is active.

Not as good:
The right ramp is really, really clunky. It's nearly a right angle, and there isn't much satisfaction in hitting the shot.
The center ramp is easy to hit over and over again, if you choose to.
The playfield is a bit cramped, because of all the area the skill shot needs up top.
8.056/10
3 years ago
Short:
At first glance, it doesn't look like their is much going on here. The game is pretty fun, though.

Long:
Baseball is a great pinball theme, and Gottlieb World Series nails it.
Put men on base hitting singles, doubles and triples, and then drive them in with the long ball! AAB for hitting scoring levels or run totals gives you something to shoot for.

You've got two ways to play this game. Go for score, or go for runs. I'm finding the most fun going for run total.

Lots of sounds here. Knocker, three chimes, and a 5" bell for runs.

Bad stuff:
The roto target is obstructed by the 2nd base kickout. It tough to sneak a ball up there to hit the targets.
Passive slingshots.
That back box paint!
The GI is all to the outside. Dark middle of the playfield.
7.436/10
3 years ago
I picked up a basket case example for cheap, because I like tinkering with EM repairs. Also, I don't own any Kordek designed games. So, here goes.

The game doesn't look like much, but there are some cool strategies at work on this table.

There are bumpers at the top of the playfield that when hit, increment feature lights. Two of the features open a kickback pocket on the left out lane, or a gate on the right out lane. The three other features allow a bonus to be advanced. Once a feature is lit, you score it by either rolling over a spot rollover in between and under the bumpers, or by hitting the swinging target in the center of the playfield.

There are a pair of drops, one on the left, one on the right. Hitting either one of these raises a center post as well as lighting the center pop bumper. It is possible to have all the outlanes blocked for a period of time!

Each time you hit the target or rollover with the advance bonus feature lit, you add 50 points to the bonus, which can advance up to 500 points and a special. To collect this bonus, you need to put the ball into a kicker hole on the right side of the playfield. It's a tricky shot.

One strategy might be to get the left and right out lanes protected, and the center post up, light the advance bonus feature, and then go for repeated hits to the swinging target to advance the bonus to as high as you can before trying to sink the ball into the kicker hole.

There switches on each side of the playfield that will increment the feature lights, as well as drop the center post down.

I've never been much into the Williams EM's, but the two I just got are both great shooting games with interesting rule sets that rely on you aiming for certain targets while trying not to hit others. Much more interesting than the Gottlieb machines of the same era.

Triangle people, though... :(
7.087/10
3 years ago
I generally don't like Williams EM's, which I guess is why they tend to be cheap. I picked up this game for a really good price and brought it back from not working to fully functional... and I found out in the process that it is a pretty good game... even for a Williams!

The main gimmick on the playfield is a 3 reel slot machine thing. You can hit stand up targets and roll over lanes to advance the reels. When you have it where you want it, you can shoot a saucer to collect the bonus, which can be up to 5000 points and 3 extra balls (when set to add-a-ball).

There are 5 pop bumpers and when the ball gets into them there can be a lot of action.

There are two saucers at the top of the machine that can light the pops for extra points. One lights the green pops, and one lights the yellow pops. If you get them both lit, the red pop is lit for 1000 points. The problem is, this saucer is super tricky to hit with the flipper (if it's possible at all), and the single pop bumper located below it just doesn't have enough UMPH to knock it in there. As a result, the bumpers are almost never lit.

There are outer lanes that raise a post between the flippers, and there is a rollover right in front of the flippers that will drop the post - so you have to be on your toes and not expect that the post will be there when you need it most.

The art on the playfield is the famous pointy elbow and knee style, and that is not the best thing. The backglass is a lot better. It's worth a flip!
9.183/10
3 years ago
Updated better review;

IMO, this is the premier collectible pinball machine from the EM era. It's got a lot of great features, and looks cool as hell as well.

Here is how it works:

Starting off, it's got a very important skill shot. If you want to be competitive in multiplayer, you'll need to master this shot. Not only can you score 3000 points, you'll light the pop bumpers for 100 points, rather than 10.

Adding a huge amount of randomization to the game is the large rubber disk in the center of the playfield that relentlessly spins. The ball will hang on this disk and stutter, before being shot off in an unpredictable direction. FIREBALL!

There are rollover targets surrounding the disk. Most score 10 points, but the top center rollover activates a kickback on the left out lane. Unfortunately, two of the other rollovers turn the kickback off. One of them happens to be right in the path of the left out lane, which means odds are good that the ball will disable the kickback while heading toward the out lane.

There are two ball locks representing the fire gods. Odin on the left, and Wotan on the right. Putting a ball in either saucer puts a new ball in the shooter lane.

Locking the ball in the Odin saucer starts a chasing sequence of 5 insert lights below the saucer. These lights are labeled 1000-5000 points, and change quickly. To release this ball, you need to hit the mushroom target on the left side of the table. When the ball is released, you score the point total reflected by the currently lit insert light. Timing is key. Releasing Odin for 5k points is a blast.

The Wotan lock on the right sits behind a gate, with three insert lamps in front of it. These inserts will illuminate as you collect hits on the three Mushroom targets, one lamp for each target. After locking a ball in Wotan, you can release it by hitting the mushroom target on the left. The ball will roll down a lane with three switches in it. The switches will score 1000 points each, corresponding to the number of mushroom targets that were hit before the lock and release (up to 3000 points).

You can also release one or both of the locked balls by a solid shot to the captive ball. If you release by captive ball, the Wotan ball will not return to play, but instead will be dropped back into the shooter lane, allowing you to plunge again to try for a bonus skill shot.

The last feature are the zipper flippers, which are activated by the mushroom target at the top of the playfield. Zipper flippers are a mechanism that move the flippers together in order to minimize the likelihood of a center drain. The flippers will remain zipped until either of the outer mushroom targets are hit.

I love this game.

The EM that plays like a Solid State.

It's the most fun you can have without a computer! ;)
8.316/10
3 years ago
I always thought I wanted an A13. I'm a rocket guy, liked the movie - and am a really big fan of SEGA pins in general.

When my nearest pinbuddy bought one, I was super jealous! I told him that if he ever sold it, I wanted first dibs on it.

Then, I played it a few times. I really didn't like it. Tight shots meant it felt really clunky. Only one ramp with a weird passive diverter that alternated ramp shot exits. It just felt really different.

I gave up on ever owning it.

When my buddy put his up for sale, I ignored the FS post.

After a few days of it being for sale, something happened. I decided that maybe I didn't give it the best chance... So I sent him a text telling him I'd take it. I was worried someone might buy it before I could. I even sold games I thought I really wanted to keep. I had no idea why.

Fast forward a weekend, and several plays, I have started to like it quite a bit. The shots aren't natural, but can be learned. The rules are typical SEGA, and there are a large number of mechanisms put into the game to make it interesting.

Here's the "bad" I can find with the pin.

1) The moon magnet. It's a lot of nothing for the overhead. Once you see it the first time, you don't need to see it again.
2) Left orbit drop down ramp. WAY underused. This would be such a better game if that was more active.
3) 13 ball multiball. Yea, I get that the pin was never intended for home use where it would get tired so quickly. It's unique to see a couple of times, but it's really a 5 ball multiball, with 8 balls draining immediately.
4 The rocket subway. Seems like overkill, as it could just shoot back to you like it does all of the time other than when you've started multiball.
7.789/10
3 years ago
Got this game as a gift from my Uncle Don. Thanks uncle Don!!! Produced at the end of the EM era, Mustang has some pretty cool "rules" that I don't notice too much in earlier EM efforts. The rollover lanes actually increase the bonus multiplier (it pays to hit "A" on the skill shot), and knocking down the drop targets increases the value of the saucer shots. I think it could have been better with active slingshots rather than the passive ones, because it seems to play fairly slow at the bottom of the playfield. I do think mine could use an extra degree, though. Great EM to have, and special to me that it came from such a valued family member.
3.269/10
4 years ago
Miserable.
8.740/10
4 years ago
Best SEGA? It's in the running. It would be top 5 on anyone's list of SEGA pins, I'm sure.

3 ramps, no orbits. Lots of stand up targets oddly spaced. Oddly in a good way.

The skip ramp to the Satellite magnet is pretty awesome as is the auto magna-save between the flippers.

The tank shot is neat too, but ends up wasting part of the playfield that would better be utilized as a traditional orbit IMO.

The ramp shots are mostly smooth, but I find the design of the ramp exists to be a bit of a speed-killer. They aren't as smooth as ramp exists in other Pemberton designed games (see Mousin' Around).

Great game. Glad to have it as part of my collection.
8.099/10
4 years ago
Pat Lawlor's last game for WMS.

He found some flow here! The best since Whirlwind in my opinion.

Good stuff:

A pair of wise-cracking situational bash-toys torment you through the game, giving great shot variety. Sometimes the shot is a ramp. other times, it's a bash toy.
The Jump ramp is unique. There are three major shots on the upper playfield. The hole-in-one shot is as much as luck, but it's still super satisfying to nail.
Orbits with spinners both directions, nail at will.
The rules are simple to understand.

Bad stuff (or, stuff I don't like).

The targets to relight the kickback aren't generally available to flipper shots, and are largely random.
The pop bumpers are placed kind of odd - especially for Lawlor. They're hard to shoot into, and they're really only available to a subway up-kick.
The captive ball area looks weird. It looks like it was supposed to be something else, and then was changed to what it is now late in the design phase.
The sand trap shot is a gimmie once you figure out what target the kickout hits on the machine you're playing.

I'll be keeping this one around for a few months!
7.178/10
4 years ago
2003 was a good year for pinball, and Stern had two of its biggest hits that year. The Simpsons Pinball Party, and Lord of the Rings.

Sandwiched in between these two epic releases was... T3. Steve Ritchie's first design for Stern, and a chance for him to sequel his mega-popular T2 pin from a dozen years earlier.

There are a few things that aren't so great about this game. The art is rather uninspired, the music is utterly forgettable, and there are only static toys on the play field. Personally, I feel for a SRP pin, the orbits result in way too many dead end shots that feel like they should flow back around.

Due to these issues, I can't rate the overall machine very high. But outside of these issues, there is a pretty good game here.

The layout takes its inspiration directly from the T2 pin, with some nice additions. The inserts are laid out much like T2, with a stack of lights indicating progress leading toward each ramp and orbit. The ball lock is in a familiar place (below a chrome head) along with a corral of 3 pop bumpers on the right.

Diverging from and improving on T2, there is an extra tight ramp up the middle, and a captive ball. There isn't a cannon on the playfield, but there is one in the backbox in the form of an interesting mini-game.

Rules-wise, this pin is better than most people give it credit for. I think its reputation is hampered by the stellar reputation of its 2003 neighbors - which are among the deepest two pinball games ever created. The T3 rules aren't as deep - but I find them enjoyable and easy to understand.

The metal ramps have an awesome and satisfying sound when you hit them, and they flow very well. It's not too hard to hit left-ramp, right-ramp combos over and over. Both outer ramps are easily back-handed too. The center ramp is a bit of a different animal. It's harder to hit, but quite satisfying to do. The orbits, however, are a total flow killer. I wish full orbits were more common to this game.

The mini-game in the back box is polarizing. Some like it, some hate it. I feel like it comes up a bit too often, but I do find it fun to shoot, and it continues to get harder each round. It's not pinball, but you play it with a ball... It's a neat toy but slightly overused.

All-in-all, T3 is a good game, and other than music and art I feel it's a one-up on T2.
8.844/10
4 years ago
Update2:

I guess I really didn't understand the rules too well, because I've discovered a different way to play the game that reduces the amount of center playfield bashing required (other than the captive ball) to get to the CIU modes. It makes it more of a shooters game too. This wasn't obvious to me (I've had the game for 1-2/3rd years, and just figured it out), so I wanted to detail it here.

There is red arrow in front of each major shot; Left orbit, inline drop targets, left ramp, right ramp and right orbit. Shooting each of these shots lights the arrow and activates the lane. There are lights under the arrow for the electric chair, the snake, and the cross. While the red arrow is lit on any lane, hitting the chair, snake or cross lane will light that insert. Get them all lit, and all four lights will start flashing. Hitting that flashing lane will start the casket hurry up. Complete the hurry up by hitting the captive ball, and the row of lights will stay on. You will be rewarded 1 each snake hit, cross hit, and electric chair hit each time you hit that lane. Once completed, that lane will stay spotted on all remaining balls. If you complete all of the lanes, you start Seek and Destroy mode.
It is possible to set up the table so that each orbit and ramp spots you 1 hit each on the snake, cross and chair. This makes getting to CIU mode much quicker with safer shots that don't require smashing the hell out of the middle of the game (other than the captive ball, which still needs to be bashed - but if you hit it following the left in-lane, at least you get credit for 2 hits.
Playing the game like this has made it much more fun to me. Setting up the lanes to spot the feature hits is quite entertaining.

Update:

As I've found myself chasing high scores, I notice something that I don't care about this game. Despite its awesome flow and cool ramps, a majority of the game is spent smashing the ball into the middle of the playfield, with some very minimal shots to the loops and ramps. I like playing the CIU modes, but you have to bash the hell out of the middle of the playfield to get to them. I'm still playing the hell out of it trying to connect, It's still a rush to play, but sometimes when I get done playing it, I feel like I've been at work rather than having fun. Committed to stick with it until spring to try to connect!!!

-----------

My first (and maybe only) NIB pin.

I don't really care for the band or their music - but I've always had a good time when playing this game at shows or on location - so when it came time to think about my first NIB, this was one of two titles I considered.

The artwork is great, the layout is great, lighting effects are stunning at times, the choreography of the mechanical/musical and visual elements is cool, and rules are deep and make sense.

The game is built quite cheaply for a 5000 dollar item. Habitrails are made from smaller gauge wires than games of an earlier vintage, switches and solenoids are kept to a minimum and the game just has a feel to it that is less solid than what pinball people are used to from the heyday of the 90's.

I will give Stern a pass on this, as they're doing a good job of 1) keeping pinball alive and 2) keeping it being manufactured in the US. There are some things that have to give to keep it going, I suppose.

With all that being said, the design team did an amazing job with the somewhat limited resources they were given. This game is flat out fun to play. I am not unhappy with my decision to make this my NIB purchase.

The one shot I'm kind of pissy about is the left orbit when the post is engaged. This almost never works as intended. I guess the post is intended to stop the ball, and then force it into the pops. This almost never happens, as a solid shot to that orbit with the post deployed results in a kickback directly back out of the orbit. This is sloppy, and should have been addressed. Would a solenoid driven gate here been too much, Stern?

Anyway, for this moment, this is the best game in my arsenal. It really does make every one of my other pins seem 10 years old. I'll update this review after I've had a month to play it.
9.300/10
4 years ago
The first time I ever played this game was in Las Vegas, standing under the high-wire acrobat arena at Circus Circus in 1998. It was a perfect atmosphere for playing this pin game, and the memory of playing the game on that occasion in that setting might be why it's one of my favorite games still to this day.

I never thought I'd own the game due to the price, but it is so much one of my favorites, that I sold three of my games to raise the money to buy a re-import. Here are my thoughts:

Artwork:
Fantastic. Best in pinball. Bright and loud, it fits the theme perfectly.

Lighting:
Neon, in your choice of colors. Nice flasher layout as well.

Mechanics:
Boom Balloon: The pop-bumper layout on CV reintroduced the idea of randomness rather than the three-pop trap with a single exit that the industry had been using. The rising 'Boom' pop bumper only added to this randomness. A simply awesome device.

Ringmaster: Fully interactive bash toy with three levels and a magnet.

Juggler: A magnet and two saucer that pass the ball back and fourth. I've always thought they should have come up with a way to make it three, and actually had it juggle... but it's still pretty cool as it is.

Menagerie ball: Awesome pinball randomness. Never gets old.

High-wire ball lock: We've seen this trick before, but it's a good trick.

Back-box cannon: It really doesn't do anything, but neither did the bell-ringing monkey in Central Park: It's just damn cool, and the sound of the kicker smacking the plastic ball is really nice.

Layout: Not the same-old lower 1/3rd. Some people hate that it is different, but I find it special because Jpop did dare to step outside of the norm. It's a pin asking to be nudged into submission. Good shot variety on the outer orbits, with lots of outcomes available. Either full orbits left and right as well as shots to the Acrobat ramp or Side Show from the right, and shots to either the Juggler or Side Show from the left. The mini orbit around the Ringmaster returns the ball back to the flippers at great speed. The main ramp shot tends to be a little clunky returning to the right flipper, I find. But that's the only fault I have, and it might just be the way my machine is set up.

In an era where playfields were being made more vertical with added depth, CV broke that trend and went flatter in order to bring its most important innovation to pinball: The playfield mounted DMD. A DMD you can actually see while you're playing.

Rules: It's all about the multiballs and trying to get them stacked. Get three or more going, and the table turns into a jackpot smorgasbord in which every shot seems to be lit for a pile of points.

Game Play:
I'm not normally a fan of Stop-Go pins, but CV has a ton of stops that I don't seem to mind at all. It might be because the choreography is so well done that is down right entertaining to sit through, even again and again. As has been said, if this extra theater ever becomes too much, the 2.0H roms will allow you to bypass the pageantry.

Music, Sound:

The music is simply perfect. Sound quality is great, and the call outs are well performed, and funny at times.

Normal criticism:
"Bashing the ringmaster gets repetitive". If that's what you're shooting for all the time, then I'd agree that it would be. The way I play, I'm shooting all the other areas of the playfield trying to get all the multiballs set, and the ringmaster just kind of happens. It's not the focus of the game to me.
"The lower 1/3rd is horrible... Drain monster". Play better. ;)
"The Menagerie Marble does crazy stuff to the ball". It's supposed to.
"The video modes suck". You have a point there... ;)

Edit: Ok, the video modes are really, really bad. I wish they could be shut off. Also, the coolest multi-ball in the whole game "Neon" is so rare, that in 100 games, I've only seen it once. I am forced to play Roonie EVERY SINGLE GAME, however. 2.1H, please???? ;)
8.876/10
4 years ago
Edit:

So, I've had some time to play this, and I do really like it. The only problem I've seen is the fact that so much of this game is stackable, that it's quite hard to figure out what is going on at any given moment once you start modes and hurry-ups. I'm sure there are clues on the DMD, but with the speed of the table, it's hard to get a glimpse of it. There are some callouts to shoot features, but they're often quite generic and don't always appear mode-specific. There will be a lot to learn to figure out how to score on this game.

There are five flippers, and each one has important uses in the game. The layout of the playfield is pretty ingenious, as the upper right flipper has four shots it can make that are unavailable to any other flipper other than by random rebound. To me, the upper playfield is one of the best ever designed. Putting a ball in the couch is a super satisfying shot.

Ya.. I like it.

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Love the theme, but I'm not sold on the shots. I prefer more of a flow game, but this game has a ton of stuff going on so I'm deeply intrigued by it and looking forward to learning more about it. I'll revisit this review as I've had more time on the game.
9.284/10
4 years ago
EDIT:

Now that I've owned this game for a bit, I can give it a better review. If anything, I like it more now than I did before I got it.

Layout: Fantastic. At first glance, it appears to be quite cluttered. In reality, it's a speedy flow-master with just a tad bit of clunk. The upper playfield is really cool, despite only having two possible shots, both of which are effectively 'gimmie' shots. This is the best collection of plastic ramps in pinball. The layout fits the game perfectly.

Rules: Once you grasp what you're supposed to accomplish in this game, the enjoyment you get from flipping the table magnifies. It's got a a few great multi-balls, a couple of wizard modes (one most people - myself more than included- may never get), and some other mini-modes you start by shooting the lit whirlpool shot. Plenty to do rules-wise, and it all makes sense within the context of the theme.

Sounds and music: A lot better than most people realize. As you move down the river, the intensity and complexity of the composition continues. Each mode and multiball has it's own tune, and there are lots of call-outs to add to the adrenalin building excitement. The quality isn't DCS level, of course - but the compositions and choreography they create are a pinball masterpiece.

The lights, big foot gimmick, and molded mountains add to the experience to make this one of, IMO, the best pinball games ever made. If you have only one Nordman pin, this is the one to have.

Previous review:
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One of the best pin games ever produced. It's hard to think of ways it could have been made better...
9.580/10
4 years ago
I've loved this game since I first played it many years ago, and it was the first one on my want list when I decided to start gathering up machines. This machine drips of pinball perfection.

I don't care for stop and go pins, and I'm not a fan of games that don't have an orbit shot. This game has a ton of stop and go, and no orbit shot - but I still really like it.

I'm not a theme guy (I don't think they make or break a game), but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better use of a licensed theme in a pinball game. The art and lighting are nothing short of awesome. Clearly, the most beautiful game I own from an art standpoint.

But what I like about it most is the rule set that pulls from the system11 days, rather than from the mode based rules that were in the process of taking over WMS. Easy to understand, difficult to master indeed.

There are some deeper objectives here, and each feature shot does set up some mode style hurry-ups, but the core of the game is simple, hard and unforgiving with only a 2 ball multiball.
8.461/10
4 years ago
Edit:

A couple of days left for me with this machine before it moves along to the new owner, so I thought I'd update my review.

I enjoy the feeling of this game, but I never felt like I had fun playing it. I was always too pissed off and frustrated due to SDTM drains that seemed totally like they weren't my fault and that I was being punished by the game for doing what I was supposed to do.

I should have loved this game (and I still do like it) as it has everything I like in a game; orbits in both directions, an awesome inner loop, a cool ball lock and a novelty mini playfield toy that is quite inventive.

I wish I could keep it, but it's worth too much to have sitting here when the space and money could be occupied by something I'd like more.

-------------------------------------------------

Fast.
Hard.

Nice flow, but don't miss the left hand ramp, or the ball will come sailing right back and drain before you know it.

Interesting idea on the ramps that allow you to change what flipper the ball will return to. Battlefield mini-game in interesting, though I've found weak shots to the drop target resort in a SDTM drain.

I can see why people like this game, but it may or may not be a keeper for me. I'll update this review as I've had more time with the game.
8.596/10
4 years ago
I've only had this game for a day, but I've played it enough to, I think, fairly rate it. (I actually have the previous reviewer's Magic, as it was part of a trade I made with him).

Overall, the artwork is great, but the playfield seems uninspired. People complain about the red, and they are right to do so. It just seems kind of lazy.
The linear nature of the rules is not new to pinball, but it is another limitation to this game. After only 20 plays, the pattern that is emerging on this table is one of "work", where you know the order of shots you need to make, and you're retracing the paths you've walked 20 times before.

Having said that, these paths are (for now) enjoyable to walk. The layout is nice (it looks wide open in the center, but the game is quick enough that this space is used to great effectiveness), there is quite a bit of shot variety and the loop is narrow and fast. Even though there is only one ramp, it's tall, fun to shoot at, and has a few different outcomes depending on what is going on.

Shots:
Genie Bottle: Random awards.
Metamorphosis chamber: A three target bank that can be manipulated like lane lights with the flipper buttons.
Ramp: can return to ball lock trunk, silence the critic holes, or carried all the way around to the right inlane.
Captive ball: Awesome newton ball with a clear plastic messenger ball on the other side. It takes on the lights under it, for a really cool looking effect.
Left loop: Fast.
Stage Entrance: Small ramp that leads to the stage. The ball either gets booted off the stage into the pop bumper bay, or floats up to the right return habitrail.
MAGIC targets: Complete to advance bonus multiplier.
Right Loop: Fast.
Magic hat: Start Multiball.
Color match: Neat looking crystal ball that changes color. Time your shots to hit it when it's the color you need.

Some of the coolest toys in pinball were designed into this table. The magnetic wand that the ball floats along and a stage with curtains which open to reveal a levitating ball being the two most notable ones. There is also the top hat, which the ball can be landed in by short-shooting the plunger shot around a cork-screw wire form ramp. A real skill-shot!

The sound is fantastic. I normally put sub-woofers in my games, but I don't think I'll have to on this one. The audio is full and rich. The music is good and there are lots of call outs that tell you exactly what you need to shoot at.

Huge variety of DMD animations that are among the best I've seen in this era of pinball.

The lighting is amazing. The lights fade and pulsate, and appear to breath. There are no GI lights, so every light on the table is controlled, and some awesome lighting effects are created using this feature. LED's? No thank you. Not on this table.

So, while there are negatives, I see many positives. Time will tell, and I'll revisit this review after I've had the game for a few months.
7.415/10
5 years ago
Edit:
So good, I'm buying it back! Only the second machine I've ever bought twice. :)

Not a pinball.
It has got to rate way lower than other pinball machines, because it's not a pinball machine. It's a fun game to play when you're not playing pinball.

It's the best Pitch & Bat ever made.

How would Mrs. Pacman rate on a pinball rating list?
7.017/10
5 years ago
So, I'm a huge SEGA fan. I Love their games, for the most part. I'm trying to get a nice solid collection of SEGA titles, and I just picked this one up.

First off, I certainly know this machine has shortcomings and understand that a review could be composed of a long diatribe detailing what is wrong with this game; The audio is weak, the dots could be way better, the rules are really, really thin, lack of shots, the weird rock behind the racoons.. Racoons? and Man Cow??... WTF??

Instead of all that, here's what I like:

The glow balls play different in a good way. Like a machine full of power balls.
The black lights are a neat gimmick.
Lots of super quick shots returning to the flippers.
Four ramps (if you count the bridge-out ramp).
I like the multiball rules for jackpots. You have to hit shots in order to advance to super jackpot, if you don't do it in a set time, you have to start over.
Wicked fast when you're in the zone.

Specific bitches I have that aren't part of what is normally bitched about:

The exit from the pop bumpers is painfully slow. It wasn't designed to have enough vertical drop, so the ball just slooooly rolls out of there into the right orbit.
The post diverter on the orbit is clunky, and engaged too often for a 'flow' game.
The 'adult' audio is really bad. Really, really bad. Embarrassing.

I find it funner to play than it should be, I guess. The total is better than the sum of its parts.
7.309/10
5 years ago
To be fair, this game lacks everything I like in a pinball game. No flow shots rather than the one gimmie ramp up the middle. Everything else is a dead end shot to a gobble hole or back to the pop bumpers. So, I should hate it, and my rating should reflect that I suppose.

The positives:
A real skill shot that is very beneficial to hit, as it gets you to multiball real quick.
Bash toy is somewhat satisfying to hit.
Artwork is very nicely done.
Mirrored back glass looks awesome.
Rules are very simple, and it's easy to understand what to do.
Attaining 3 ball multiball isn't challenging, but it does feel rewarding to do.
The joker face mini-game where you light both 'eyes' and then get a bonus for putting a ball in the mouth is a cool task to perform.
Lighting is nice, and the light show is quite good. Many flashers.

The not-so-good:
Too many dead-end shots.
The ramp diverter to nowhere. I know the idea was to put the ball toward the other flipper to keep the shot from becoming too repetitive, but I would have preferred for it to be diverted to a habitrail across the game to be dropped into the left inlane, rather than just deposited on the playfield like it does. It feels broken to me.
7.996/10
5 years ago
Artwork: The sculptures are great, I just wish they were more interactive.
The playfield art, I like. I never minded the SEGA art or artists though, as it's more of a fine art style than a metro style like B/W machines of the era had.

Layout: Not a lot of shots. If I had to mark it down in any one area the most, it would be here. The ramp shots are long and take a good long while to return to the flippers. A lot of pop bumper action, as many of the shots end up there. The ball can return to the shooter lane which is just weird.

Music: Good, but repetitive. Needs a sub-woofer to take full advantage of the soundtrack.

Rules: Simple, but difficult to attain. The goal is to stack multiple multiballs together to attain the biggest possible jackpots. You need to get 2,3,4 or 5 ready to go, and then shoot the shot to start them all at once (while of course holding off shooting that shot to not start them too early). That isn't very easy, and is where the challenge comes in with this title.

Magnet gimmicks and the shaker motor winds up making this somewhat rarer title really feel like a cohesive package. A solid game if you just want to have fun flipping!
8.880/10
5 years ago
Edit:

Several years ago, I told someone that Whirlwind was my favorite pinball game. This was really before I owned any pinball machines, and my opinion was formed on playing the game a few times in real life, and many, many times in the Williams Collection on the PS3.

Over the past couple of years, I've filled my basement with many pinball games, and have really though that while I still liked it, Whirlwind couldn't be my favorite based on how much I enjoy playing other games I own.

And then I found and bought a Whirlwind for myself.

After a couple of months with it I found an undeniable truth. It really is my favorite pinball game. The layout is great, the rules are perfect, the art is classic, call outs (while repetitive) are awesome and the the lights, fan and spinning discs integrate with the theme perfectly.

I believe it may be the perfect pinball experience. It has the "I have to play one more game" thing going on in spades and I can't think of a single thing about it that I'd want to change.

----------------------------------------------

My favorite Lawlor game. Uncharacteristic flow and great speed. The three alternate direction spinning discs put some really fantastic movement on the ball (sometimes carrying it across the playfield horizontally) and fit the theme nicely. Most of the classic Lawlor elements are here in a simple game that is punishingly difficult. I like.
8.277/10
5 years ago
Random thoughts from a new owner.

The theme that kills. Cheeseball looking, but fun as hell to play. If it were any other theme, this thing would demand a lot higher price.

The translight makes me want to choke kittens, but all the alternates I've seen out there actually are more cheesy than the original. How is that possible?

It seems to be a really deep game with lots of stuff to do with habitrails and ramps galore. It flows pretty well, but the left orbit could be smoother.
The machine gives the illusion of being a widebody, but within a standard width pin.
Pretty great light show.
Looks like every shot has a mode associated with it, and there are five other modes which are started via the shark hole in a linear fashion.
The trap door ball lock is pretty cool.

I've heard this title referred to as 'a guilty pleasure'. As of now, I just think of it as a pleasure, no guilt involved. ;)

I might refine my review once I've had a chance to play it a few weeks.
7.897/10
5 years ago
Just added this one because I wanted a Jpop pin (SWEP1 doesn't count), and think the others are just outrageous in price these days.

It's a machine with good flow and decent long ramp shots (the ramps are HUGE). The goalie is super fun, and everyone knows what to do as soon as they see it. The spinning ball is a cool feature, and a fresh soccer ball really gets that pinball zipping around the field.

The magnasave is cool, but a lot harder to use than the way it has previously been implemented.

The skillshot mech is pure jpop.. How many other games made in the Williams DMD era have a plunger? Not many...

Things I don't care for too much, but might get used to:

The rules are pretty simple and aren't mode based pin and as a result the game is quite linear.

The outer loop when opened is clunky at the end. I would have much rather had a design that sent the ball to the flipper, rather the slingshot.

It's a good game, but I'm not sure yet if it is a great game. I'll give it the winter and see. :)
9.720/10
5 years ago
Short:
Maybe the perfect pinball game theme integration, along with one of the most satisfying shots in all of pinball.

Long:

Classic M. Ritchie criss-cross ramps which flow like butter when you're nailing them, great sounds and music and one of the most awesome back glasses available on any game.

I love the fact that there is a real plunger skill shot, even though it can be somewhat easy to master.

The artwork and theme integration are second to none. This game is a work of pinball art and is why I believe they rarely come up for sale despite how many were made. It's a real keeper in any size collection.

The slightly un-PC call outs from the guests is classic 90's Williams, and the music is good and varied. The main theme can get repetitive, but it's broken up with lots of other audio tidbits sprinkled in.

Then there is the cup shot. It has to be considered on of the most satisfying shots in pinball. Hitting a solid shot into the cup and watching that bonus climb over 2.5 million just feels so good.

What could have been better:

Scoring feels somewhat unbalanced. The cup shot and the dine time bonus can skyrocket a score very quickly. I've had games of not over 2 million following a 20 million point game.

Multiball. Only 2 balls, no ball save. It's meant to be hard, sure, but I've had the second ball drain before ever putting a flipper on it. Oh well, I guess that's pinball. ;)

Synopsis:
This game is like Taxi 2.0, where they took everything that was wrong with Taxi, and fixed it, then honed it to near perfection. :)

Keeping mine forever.
8.536/10
5 years ago
It's all about the flow with this one. Whoever calls this table slow wasn't playing one that was dialed in correctly. A well setup Mousin Around is FAST, with a lot of looping shots.

What's to like:
Artwork is bright, fun and unpretentious. It's no Paragon, but not everything has to be in order to be good.
Real skill-shot. No lane changing to steal it.
Great ramp layout with satisfying shots. A real flow-lovers treat.
Fun music.
Awesome drop-target style ball locks. Unique to this game, I think.
The ramp returns are done in such a way to maximize ball speed. The ball doesn't drop vertically from the ramps back to the return lane, but rather jets out at a 45 degree angle, maintaining ball velocity.
The mouse hole is a fun diverted bonus shot.

What's not as good:
Rule set is pretty shallow. You're likely to do everything you can do on this machine in your first 5 plays. If depth is important to you, you probably won't dig this for long.
The center ramp is fine, but the three spot drop target mech you have ro complete to open it can be a real killer. It's my least favorite feature of the game.
There seems to be some wasted space in the upper right hand area of the playfield covered by the mouse hole return. It tends to make the table feel a little tight.

Overall, this is a real fun game to shoot over and over again. Recommended!
6.951/10
5 years ago
So to start, I have a pretty big arcade. That's probably a must for owning this game.

Since I wanted a 'cannon' game like this, I looked at both Hyperball and Rapid Fire as possibilities to add to my collection. I played both, and this game won the head to head showdown.

First, it reminds me of an old 'game and watch' LCD version of Space Invaders, where advancing invaders march down to build a mother ship, which when assembled, will shoot lasers at you to destroy your cannon base.

Second, it has great classic 80's bally sounds.

Last but not least, it has a cannon that shoots ball bearings across the playfield at a rate of over 200 a minute.

It also has a couple of other controls that make you multi-task. This is what puts distance between it and hyperball, IMO.

Your thumb controls a 'shield' light, which you can use to block the shots of the assembled mother ship, or the ships firing at you from either the left or the right side. It's actually quite difficult to master this while also firing the cannon to defeat the oncoming alien hordes.

There is also a 'panic' button that will wipe everything off the map if things get to hairy, and a 'laser cannon' button that launches a green missile up the center of the playfield.

There are 'FRENZY' targets on the back row of the machine, and once you knock them all down, you get 10 seconds of auto fire to help in kicking alien rear-end.

For the first few plays you'll be completely lost, but it doesn't take long to get an idea of what is going on.

In the long run, you'd probably hate this game if you only had a couple to choose from to play. But, if you have a larger collection and use it to 'fill the gap' between many other styles of games, this one can be quite a rush... Try to get a million points. Go ahead. I dare you. ;)
8.049/10
5 years ago
This is a machine that wasn't even on my "want" list, but when a friend was selling one for a fair price, I decided to pick it up... I'm glad i did....

Funny and an easily understandable rule set make this one a great game. It's also quite hard, with a large number of balls draining through the difficult outlanes....

The ramps are fun and easy to hit, and the boogie bonus is good for a laugh.

Update:
Downside for me, and what might eventually keep it from staying in my collection:

There is only one good flow shot in the game, which is the water slide shot - and even that has the steel exit hole which makes the ball spin around for a random time before dropping it into the return lane. The right most lane heads to the pops, the right ramp shot stops in the VUK before getting sent along a habitrail to the flipper, the center shot locks in a the boogie bonus knock out, and then gets sent to the pops, and the left lane is the lock hole.

If you're not a fan of stop and go, this pin might not be for you, and of all the pins I own, this one is the most stop/go. Even though I'm not a fan of this style, I still like the game for some reason.
7.876/10
5 years ago
UPDATE: Exit interview.

I'll be letting this one go in a week. I thought it was a keeper, but it really wasn't. This pin LOOKS like it would have everything I love, but it really suffers in some areas for me.

First, the things I liked better the longer I owned it;

1) The handles. Playing with them ended up being great. After I had it for a few weeks, I never reached for the flipper buttons again. Learning where the secret bonuses were that you score from the thumb buttons added to the fun.

2) The rules. It's a pretty exciting game that, IMO, builds to a crescendo as you get closer to the final modes and multiball. I got the updated rules, and while the creator of those rules did a fantastic job, they just never felt as exciting to play as the original code that has that extra 'something'.

What ended up making it one I could spare:

Ball flow. For a pin that is based on combos, to me, this one just had too many shots that caused the flow of the game to stop. It might be a Nordman thing, as I had to give up my EATPM for the same reason.

The left orbit ended in a sink hole, the right orbit gave a combo opportunity to the upper left flipper, but that ended in either a sink hole at the computer, or a shot around to another kicker saucer. The right ramp would end up at the crane quite often, and hitting the left ramp would quite often re-qualify the crane making the right ramp shot a dead end again. The two shots to the extreme left (car crash and retina scanner) are shots that I just tried to avoid at nearly any cost.

I still think it's a fun game, and I am glad to have owned it, but since I can't keep them all, this one had to go to make some space.

------------------------------------------------

Previous rating:

I've had this one for a week now, so I'm ready to write my review.

Thoughts:

Everything has already been said that needs to be said about the back glass. It's not great, but I don't mind it.

Table flow is why I love pinball, and this machine has a lot of it. The ramps are fun and smooth to shoot, and getting the ball flying around hitting combos is really satisfying. The left ramp is quite steep, and hitting it with a weak shot that doesn't carry it over the apex will result in a SDTM drain nearly every time. Overall, it's a fantastic layout.

It's a wide-body, but doesn't feel like one as it doesn't have that slow side-to-side action that a lot of wide-body pins seem to have.

The rules are pretty simple to understand, and the playfield lights really work well to tell you where the shots are. I'm guessing the guy who did the playfield art for DM also did Attack From Mars, as it's very reminiscent.

I'm not in love with the handles. I've played a few games with them, but I really prefer the flipper buttons.

The car crash and retina scan captive toys are pretty neat. Not so sure about them being right next to each other, though. This might be why it doesn't seem like a wide body, with these things taking up 1/5th of the table on the left side...

The claw is cool, and the mech to load it is pretty neat-o, with the ball rising out from behind the ramps.

Sound is a little thin, but great sounding. A sub-woofer will really help this game out.

Very good game, IMO.
7.169/10
5 years ago
Edit..

The strategy of this game is kind of a sleeper. Once you understand the playfield, it all makes sense. This game is kind of a masterpiece, IMO. Scoring high has everything to do with doing well on the pinball section of the game.

I love this game. It's fun. The video game part isn't great, and the pinball part isn't really that good at all, but somehow, when you put them together, it's great fun.
8.415/10
6 years ago
Ok, This is an edited review after a couple of weekends with this machine.

I'm starting to like this one more and more. Favorite in my collection? Maybe. I'm liking my two Sega's more than any one of my B/W's, at this point. They might not be deep, but they're really fun to flip.

On my machine (which is nearly perfect. HUO?) the shot to start the modes is really hard to make. A strong shot results in an air-ball when the ball follows the lip of the shooter lane ramp, and kicks back out before making it all the way around the corner. I'm pretty sure this is a kinetics issue with the design, and not just a problem with my machine.

I'm getting a handle on the modes, and have actually completed them all at least once. Brain Drain "CAVE" seems impossible, but it can be done using a combination of luck, and skill.

The best part of this game is the flow when it gets cooking, which I what I love pinball for. The ball feels on ice as it rips around the ramps and habitrails.

If there is a downside (and why it has a lower rating on my review), it is that the stock audio is horrible. This thing needs new speakers ASAP to remedy this issue.

Keeper!

First review:

Just added this one, and thought I'd throw down an initial impression review.

It has everything I like in a machine. Wide body, extra flippers, lots of ramps, good light show, decent flow and colorful art.

The modes seem to be to be pretty unbalanced. Some are pretty easy (crime spree) and some seem to be impossible (Brain Drain) without the aid of a random lucky shot.

The machine I have seems to have an issue with the right loop to the kicker to start the modes, and most of the time a solid shot to the loop will jump around and kick right back out about 1/3rd the way up the orbit. I'll need to sort this out, as it hampers the game play a bit.

I'll update this in a few weeks. So far, I'm liking my decision to pick this one up.
8.657/10
6 years ago
Update:

After playing this game for a month, I think I've got a good handle on it and want to update my review.

Theme: First, I'm really glad the theme is so generally unappealing. It's the reason this game isn't much more popular and therefore way more expensive.
Audio: The music is really good and the stock audio is quite fantastic. A couple of the callouts are wonky, and the fake Keanu is pretty apparent.
Lighting: Really cool. LED's make the inserts pops, but I wouldn't put LED's in the GI because of the very cool 10 step fading GI system. There aren't a ton of flashers, but the ones there are quite effective in creating a nice light show.
Toys: The Glove. 2nd coolest ball lock toy in all of pinball?

Game Play:
This game is all about strategy and you have many paths to follow. Once you hit the Crazy Bob hole, you can either start a mode with a shot up the middle, or put a ball in the glove by shooting the right loops. If you shoot for the glove, you're given a very quick sneak peek of contents of the ball lock matrix. Pay attention here, and you can place the ball in the matrix to light extra ball, or get the video mode, or score a bonus, etc. Also, the position of ball dictates what the jackpot shot will be in multi-ball. Have a favorite shot? Place the ball in the position on the matrix that matches your shot preference. 3X higher jackpot scores can be achieved by placing three balls in a row tic-tac-toe style.

Going for the modes? Hit Crazy Bob's, and then shoot up the middle. There are five modes to play to get to Power-down wizard mode. It's not easy to get there, and I haven't done it yet - but I generally play for starting multi-ball.

There are also other in-game combo modes to go for.
Yakuza Strike is a ramp combo mode, where if you hit the ramps 3 times each, starts a mode with huge scoring bonuses for each shot.

If a ball comes down the left inlane, 'Throwing Stars' is lit, and if you hit the right ramp or right orbit, you get one of six increasingly better awards.

The right inlane lights 'hit me', which gives you a few seconds to hit the left loop for a bonus.

I've heard of the problem with spinner millions, but I'm not even sure how to light spinner millions. I've got it a few times, and it does really spike the score.

There are a few other modes that you can get from the matrix by placing balls with the glove.
Quick multi-ball, which is a 2 ball multi-ball mode.
Video mode, which is a very hard to control pac-manish mini game that gives the opportunity for some big points and an extra ball if you can get to wave 2. Some luck is required, as the mode is nearly impossible to control.

Some cameo appearances are also featured. If you shoot the right and left loops often enough, Rudy shows up and gives you a 15 second 'Frenzy' mode. If you hit the outer loops repeatedly, Skull says "Again!" Nice touches.

In my opinion, this software is as solid and complete as any pinball machine software I've ever played.

So, finally, this game is about pure ball flow. The loops are frighteningly fast, and the ramps are easy to hit and very smoothly return the ball to the flippers. The game just sings when you're hitting the shots. Such a fun experience.

What stops the flow? The slingshots are sensitive, and the ball becomes very hard to control if it gets into them. The Crazy bob sinkhole slows the game down a bit, and despite how cool the glove is, it does slow down the pace of the game. If there is one thing I'd mark down in the game play department, it would be the hot/cold cycle of the pace. It is 100 miles an hour and then all of a sudden, it's crawling. There are ways to speed it up by hitting the flipper buttons, but it still feels too slow.

This is probably my favorite game now. It's not going anywhere.

Old Review:
What are you doing?

I'm making a long distance telephone call.

I'm not sure what's going on in this game, other than it's fun to play. Loop this, loop that, ramp ramp spinner loop, loop fast fast fast.

I like it.

It's a real 'just one more game' kind of experience...
8.152/10
6 years ago
Speedy indeed.

The playfield is fast, because it's really about 2/3rds of a table (the basket and 'in the paint' area table up most of the upper 1/3rd), making most of the target and ramp shots very close. The returns to the in lanes happen quick on a properly cleaned, waxed and tuned machine.

The scoring is really unique, as 100 points feels like an accomplishment. If you aren't making shots, you can beat the ball around the playfield for five minutes, look up, and realize you don't even have 10 points yet.

The music and sounds are classic NBA JAM style, and the announcer is straight from the video game series. The audio is quite good too. I imagine with a subwoofer, this thing really sounds great.

The back box animation is someone disappointing. Seems to be the best strategy while in the mode that uses it is to slap the button as much as you can in the time you have. The shots don't have to make it into the basket to score.

The in-the-paint feature is kind of cool, but the defender is so slow to move from his home position that really all you need to do is shoot as soon as the ball lands in a saucer, and you'll score uncontested. In fact, the reliability of the pass is such that if you try to pass it around much, the ball has a chance of not landing in the saucer. You might need to pass it around to start 'around the world' multiball, though.

The rules seem to be pretty simple, but you do have to make combo shots to progress to the championships. I can see this being a pretty engaging game for some time.

The art is well done too, and the game looks really nice.

Conclusion is: Fun game. Good for a larger collection, not as good for your only game perhaps.
8.468/10
6 years ago
I have no idea why this pinball isn't ranked higher than it is.

It has the cheap Sega 'showcase' back box, which looks horrible next to any B/W or DE title, and the stock audio is just horrendous, but once you realize you can't play a back box, and you can fix the audio, what you have left is one of the funnest 'bash' pins ever created.

It's not a deep game, but neither is the movie from which the game is based. The theme is perfectly integrated into the machine, and you never once forget you're fighting and squashing bugs to secure your path to citizenship.

The toys are fun... The screw-driven warrior vari-target is cool and the static models all around really make the pin look great. But, what really puts this thing over the top is a light show, which might be unparalleled in all of pinball. If half of the flashers were out, it would still be a fantastic display.

This game is fast, flowing and fun. You really need one. Really. You can't have mine, though. ;)
7.298/10
6 years ago
I got this for my wife, hoping it would make her want to spend more time in the game room with me. She played a few games and so far, so good.

Firstly, this isn't a pinball machine. It's a game that uses flippers and balls, but other than that, it's almost totally unrelated to the genre.

The few games I've played on it have been fun. It's got three games to choose from: A 10 frame regulation game, a game called 'Flash' which relies on timing as well as shot placement, and Strike 90, which allows you to keep shooting as long as you're nailing strikes. There is also a tournament mode (when not on freeplay) which allows you to bowl a three game series where you compete against all other bowlers' scores for a period of time. Pretty cool.

I have it set up on easy right now so I don't scare my wife off right away, and I was able to get 7 strikes in a row on the first day I owned it. Once you find the shot, it's easily repeatable. You can, without effort, trap the ball on the flipper as it comes from the kicker which makes aiming your shot very easy. I think a good option would have been to force the ball to drop to alternating flippers rather than allowing the player to pick. I find it much harder to shoot from the left.

The music and sounds are high quality, but nothing great. Could have benefited from more entertaining voice call outs or something. With 2 DMD's you'd expect more in the way of dot animation, which are sadly pretty basic.

One last thing: This game is also HUGE! It's the largest machine I own now. The head had to be completely removed in order to fit it into a Ford Explorer for transport.
8.275/10
6 years ago
Easy to understand rules, numbing speed , deafening sound and blinding light show. This is a pin for the senses!

The audio quality isn't so great and the cabinet art is bland. Other than that, F-14 is a perfect game.
7.932/10
6 years ago
So, I just got the conversion kit, installed it into my RFM, and have played about 20 games.

So, it's rather apparent from the start that this isn't RFM. RFM is a far superior game, but that doesn't make SWEP1 a bad game. I think the fact that RFM is so good, makes people a bit too harsh on the only other Pin2K table. RFM is one that will last forever, but I can see SWEP1 taking up the room in my cab a few months a year.

Good Stuff:
The table lighting is really nice. Jpop neon!
I like the way the action buttons have been implemented for the lasers and torpedoes during the modes.
The sound is great.
It's nice to have a real skill shot.
The playfield magnet is a nice touch.
I like the 'plunge your own' multi-ball during the Jedi battle.

The good stuff that isn't quite as good (you can call it bad if you want:
Huge center target that is hard to miss.
Very few shots available.
Virtual spinners only spin at one speed, regardless of how hard they're hit.
Several shots (R2D2 lane and both saucers) are really only possible to hit via random luck.
No ball save on multi-ball.
No outer orbit.
Some of the modes are kind of silly (Jar Jar Juggle, Jedi musical chairs), in an otherwise non-silly game.

All in all, I'm glad I got this. I'm having a blast. ;)
8.634/10
6 years ago
Update:
The only game I've ever bought twice. I've missed it since I sold it the first time. It won't be leaving again. ;)
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I've played the machine enough now to make a comment. There is a lot to cover.

Speed.
First thing is, this pin is FAST! Really fast. Some wide body machines have so much wide open space in the middle that the ball seems to take forever to get anywhere, but not Dredd. The ball zips over the playfield at sometimes numbing speed. The ball can get going so fast around the upper orbit that it's almost impossible for me to hit the ball when it comes back out from under the blackout ramp.

Ramps.
You like ramps? This machine has them. Five of them if you include the Clock Tower habitrail. They are all really fun to hit as well. Each of the four flippers has its own 'main' ramp.

Shots.
I don't think I know of another pinball with so much stuff to shoot for. Lots of variety here.

Playfield.
I think the design is pretty darn good. Lots of stuff to do with the upper flippers, and keeping the ball up there looping around is great fun. It almost feels like an 2nd level upper playfield, actually. It is somewhat odd that the pin doesn't feature any pop bumpers...

Pop Bumpers.
I don't miss them. I think they would slow this game down too much, and where would you put them anyway? ;)

Toys.
Dead World. One of the cooler ball locks in all of pinball.

Modes.
Many varied and fun modes, ranging from easy (hit a single target to complete) to hard (Battle Tank requires four shots in a short amount of time. 10 modes in all, and you can select the one you want to start using the buttons on the side of the cabinet.

Supergame.
For variation, you can play a multiball version of the game with a completely different rule set.

Sound.
The main theme can get repetitive if you aren't starting modes. To fix this, start modes often. :) The sound quality is very high, although mine came with a Flipper Fidelity speaker kit in it, and I've never heard the factory sound system.

Dots.
I have no idea. Can't take my eyes off the table long enough to look. I bet they are fantastic, though.

Drawback.
This might not be a great game for casual pinball players. I had my dad over here playing the other day, and he seemed quite lost on it. I don't think he cared for it at all. There is so much going on, that it is hard to focus.

Conclusion.
This wasn't a pinball I would have ever had on my 'to buy' list. The theme doesn't do anything for me, as I'm not quite sure who this Judge Dredd person even is. This came into my possession as a way to help a friend, but I'm glad it worked out this way, because this is one of my favorite pin games. I think I'll go play it now. ;)
4.081/10
6 years ago
This game is only good in that it is unique. The shaker-ball concept used a playfield reflected into a mirror that you looked at through a window facing into a vertical cabinet. There were two joysticks that are connected to bushings in the table, allowing you to 'shake' the table, and thumb buttons on top of the joysticks are to control the flippers.

There isn't much to do. There 4 pop bumpers, 8 rollover lanes, 6 standup targets and 2 flippers. One of the rollovers light two of the pop bumpers, one of the standups light the other two, one of the rollovers lights a special 500 point target, and if you manage to hit all of the rest of the lanes and targets, you'll get a special by draining the ball out either out lane.

The ball launch is kind of unique, as before it is launched into play, it rolls back and fourth along a habitrail like structure. Hitting a flipper button causes the rails to separate, causing the ball to be placed in play.

Not much to like here game wise, just a unique piece of pinball history, I suppose. ;)
8.031/10
6 years ago
This game is so much unlike a B/W game that it makes it great in its own way.

Pro:
The backbox/backglass is stunningly beautiful.
The playfield layout is quite unique, and the super-tall ramps are really cool, and feel great to hit.
The glider toy is fantastic.
Lots of gold habitrails for the ball to careen along.
A real skill-shot is available.
Playfield lighting is great.
Rules are very easy to understand.
DMD animations are well done.

Cons:
Not a great flow game. Lots of stop/go.
Left ramp can be very hard to hit on a game not tuned in correctly.
Call-outs are repetitive.
Lots of multi-ball. If this is your thing, it's great.
James Spader and Kurt Russel are on your ramps. (Seriously thinking about removing them from mine).

I really bought this pin before I had even played it, based on other positive reviews of it being a 'sleeper' title. I'm glad I did. I always have fun playing it.
7.855/10
6 years ago
My memory isn't that good.

When I was a youngster, my Uncle left a couple of pinball machines at my dad's house. He took one out a few years later.

The one he took was really fun to play. It was a two player soccer themed machine with two kickout holes, a couple of spinners and back box animation.

When I found Gottlieb's 1975 'Soccer', I figured I had found the correct machine. It fit all these criteria. So I bought it.

I sent my uncle a message to let him know that I had bought a copy of the game he had left at our house all those years ago.

He let me know that the game I was looking for was Williams' 1963 'Soccer', which also is a two player, two kickout hole, two spinner and back box animation soccer themed pinball machine. So, there you go. Memories and age.

Good:
Even though it is the wrong machine, I'm still glad I picked it up. It's really fun to play. The spinner shots are satisfying, and there is some good strategy to be had in loading up the bonus balls and then emptying them in the score bonus kicker in order to load them up again - especially on the last ball when all bonuses are doubled. The special is very challenging to get, and sometimes I play a few games just trying to get it.

Bad:
I wish it has a bank of drop targets. It seems like it's missing them.

I think this is a pretty good EM. I have a large selection of games to play, and I still turn this on and play a few games every week.
8.188/10
6 years ago
Classic. Game is brutal. Sometimes, ball times are under a minute. Lawlor games are always like that for me.

Anyway, this game wasn't on my want list, but I got it as part of a multi game deal. At first, I thought it would be a good 'flip' opportunity for me, but now, I think of it as a keeper.. It's a really fun game that is challenging enough to have high repeatability.

I'm trying to think of something I don't like about this game, and I can't.

While it can be really challenging, getting a top score is really satisfying!
8.360/10
6 years ago
I fell in love with this machine due to the sound and music. Progressing through the decades produces era-accurate music, call outs and sound-effects at every stage, and the radio-bumper style additions (More pinball, shoot again!) never grow old.

The objectives are simple and clear, and starting multiball in the 50's after locking the 70's and 60's ball, starts the chime-box to ringing, which is just awesome.

When the "Time Warp" million point shot comes up, my heart rate increases a bit, and I instantly become a bit ham-fisted with the high pressure shot..

Great pinball experience.

Update: Scoring isn't all that balanced. The key to getting high scores isn't to start multi-ball and hit the jackpot, it's to rape the time warp ramp over and over again. Still a fun game.

Exit Interview:
Great game, It was just too stop and go for me. You can't keep them all, but when I sold this one, it was one time I wish I could.
7.852/10
6 years ago
Early Simpsons license pinball. Fast and often violent, with the ball frequently flying through the air sometimes breaking things. Mine is in good shape, but still has a few broken and missing plastics..

The audio and art is dated, only because there are Simpsons characters referenced in the game that haven't shown up in the show in 20 years, and Bart says thing that haven't been catch phrases for him since 1990. (Cowabunga, Dude!)

But, it's still a good pinball with some tight shots. The spinner shot is really hard, and the ramp shot, on my machine at least, isn't indefinitely repeatable.

I love the bumper caps, mirrored backglass, difficult multiball, and satisfying shots.

I don't like how large the outlines are. The right out lane is a drain magnet, and the left out lane is massive, but at least you have a kickback. Relighting the kickback, however, has a huge risk, as the targets to do so are directly over the same left out lane.

Overall, a really good game that some credit with starting the pinball renaissance of the early 90's...
8.312/10
6 years ago
Sure, Each flipper has its signature shot, but these shots are quite satisfying and there are auxiliary shots to hit as well. I love ramps, and this machine has them. The music is interesting, and the fact that the lead-line is never the same twice is pretty cool.

The rule set is simple, but understandable. Spell radical, lock ball, spell radical again, lock, start miltiball and go for mega-millions jackpot. It is no gimme, either.

The light show is spectacular, as well, with a dozen or so flashers on the playfield.

I'm happy to have this in the collection.
8.200/10
6 years ago
This is a fun pin! It has its flaws (wro-wro-wrong hat), but the quality of the theme and animation make up for any repetitive audio.
The back-glass animation is cool, the artwork and colors are bright, the shots are tight, and the mode objectives are really clear.
I played it for the first time for an hour with a friend in a bar, and knew I had to own one.
8.428/10
6 years ago
To me, this is a perfect pinball game. It has a ton of flow, IF you can hit the shots. Start missing shots, and it's a clunk-fest. It forces you to be accurate, and when you are, it flows like water. The Jump ramp is really cool, and it never gets old. Hitting the outer orbit over and over is what the term 'satisfying' in pinball is all about. If I had to give it one downgrade, it would be that the video mode is pretty bad. Thankfully, it doesn't come around too often, and who plays pinball for video modes??? This is a really fantastic game. As good as any of the other Williams A-listers, IMO...
9.100/10
6 years ago
Update a year later:

Still a fun game, and not leaving the collection any time soon.
The lack of an orbit shot that I complained about in last years review was actually fixed in a software update that wasn't installed in my game when I got it.

What I find to be the largest drawback to the game now is the linear nature of the game. While you can select one of six starting modes before you launch the first ball, the main modes that follow come up in the same order game after game. The exceptions are:

1) The 5th mode is a random mode, selected from 4 possible modes.
2) regular multiball, which is awarded after three locks.
3) Martian multiball
4) Hypnobeam multiball, which is a stroke-of-luck award.

Having these modes sprinkled in among the normal progression of the game gives a bit more variety to an otherwise very linear game.

Attack Mars:
I have had the chance to get to the final mode now twice. It's a multi level mode, and the "action" buttons actually come into play. It's a fantastic mode that shows some of what might have eventually been if the P2K platform had survived.

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I just got mine, but man... WHAT A GAME! These guys could build a fun pin game, that's for sure.

If I had to say I missed anything from this game, it would be the lack of an outer orbit. Without that, the game feels a bit cramped. The shots up the middle are a drain waiting to happen, and the outer shots back up to the lanes and pop bumpers slow the flow down considerably.

I really enjoy the NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat resets...

One is left to wonder 'what if?' the pinball division was left to work for a few more years, what would have come of Pin2k.

Of my 13 games, this is certainly the most fun right now. We'll see if it can hold its fun-factor over repeated plays....