Tranquilize's ratings

Pinsider Tranquilize has rated 35 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms Tranquilize's personal top 35.

Rating comments

Tranquilize has written 34 rating comments:

65 days ago
My adjusted settings (A MUST) are posted below my review.

I thought Cactus Canyon would be an "okay" game that wouldn't last long. I was wrong! After some much-needed adjustments, it has become a classic B/W game worth keeping in my collection.


-- The skill shot can be fun. I wish the rewards were different, but it can still be fun and challenging.
-- The playfield is a fan layout with a jump-bash toy on the middle-right side, which generally works well.
-- It is a stop-and-go game for sure, but I don't find the flipper posts and drop targets (gun fights) redundant.
-- This game forces you to utilize all of the shots in the game, both the easy and difficult. This is great.
-- I find that if you're not on your game, it can be a post-fest. On the other hand, it can have great flow.
-- The game employs clever use of pass-throughs and stops for the loops. These changes can/will offer surprising speed.
-- The pops are put to good use in this game, which is refreshing. You need them for your bonus x lanes.
-- The topper is probably the best in pinball. I've not seen one that's better. The integration is like a video mode but better.


-- This is where this machine shines: the theming and integration are absolutely wonderful.
-- The callouts are done by excellent voice actors and have a ton of humor.
-- The lighting is good, and the change with Bionic Bart is cool.
-- They've done a great job in using all the cliché music and sounds from duster movies.

GAMEPLAY (Remake code)

-- The modes are quick, like many games of the era, but each is pretty fun to play.
-- The progression is quick in this game, so your always thinking about completing small tasks that lead to big ones.
-- I really enjoy the gunfights and quick draws. They are crazy dangerous, always feeding you risk/reward
-- Goldmine multiball has a very simple design but its soooo effective. Nail the jackpots then get the motherload.
-- Overall, I love the sheriff badge of achievements: you have five things to get done, a good variety.


-- My biggest gripe isn't code; it's a lack of adjustments. You can't adjust difficulty for modes, MBs, skill shot etc. etc.
-- Stampede multiball could be a little more interesting and complex.
-- After you beat Bionic Bart, the Bart Pit offers nothing. It's a dead toy after that. It should reset like other modes do.
-- While the sounds are great, they do lack in variety. There could be way more.
-- I wish the train was used way more. It's a big toy and barely used.
-- Surprisingly, that's about it... It's mainly just missing adjustments, which is a pretty big problem.

To wrap up, if you're thinking about getting Cactus Canyon, I'd say go for it. If you're a newb, it's a great as-is. If you're not a newb, you MUST adjust your machine to taste; otherwise, you'll finish the game on your first or second try. It'll give you 5 extra balls!

- -

---- C A C T U S ~ C A N Y O N ~ S E T T I N G S -----

Original settings are in parentheses ()

-- Set PF to 8.5 degrees. Very steep. This is VERY important.
-- Set all sling leaf switches to 1mm

-- Max EX B Count: 1
-- Game restart - Never - just say no to ball one restarts!

-- Ball save time - 7 (4) - Skill shot sucks up a bunch of time.
-- Q-Draw Difficulty: Extra Hard
-- Light Quick Draw Difficulty: Hard
-- Q-Draws for EXB: Off
-- Combos for star: 12 (10)
-- Num bart bros: 4 (3) - This makes a huge difference
-- Polly EXB: No
-- Gun Fight Time: 3 (6) - You get ONE shot, two if you get an instant rebound. Waaaaaaay better.

-- Bart Bros EX B: Off

-- PF LED Brightness: -1
-- Backbox Brightness: -2
-- Gun Flasher Brightness: -3

4 years ago
BKSOR is fast and furious, and it reminds me of IM on steroids. It's just too bad it's missing a lot of what could have been. The premium (with added castle or something) should have been the pro.


-- The game is designed for speed, and boy does it have it. It's fun and fast!
-- The black knight with his spinning balls is a cool toy which adds to the speed and mayhem.
-- The shield mech is a neat bash that makes way more sense than a simple standup.
-- The rising shield is a great way to control locks.
-- Magna save is both good and bad.
. . . . . Good: It keeps you mentally hovering over the centre button, which is a new way of thinking in pinball.
. . . . . Bad: It cannot work well in many situations, like the old games, and it gets wasted often.
-- Unfortunately, the knight is really all you get, which equates to a bash and a cool spinner mech.
-- The ol' Stern promise: we will take your toys and sell them to increase our profit margin.


-- Screw the real bird feather; I personally found the lighting to be the highlight of the game.
-- The centre wheel of lightning inserts is bright and intense.
-- The lighting works well with the intense, driving music. This game forces intensity.
-- Fireplace on the backboard is awesome and fits well with the colour scheme.
-- The deep voice call-outs over the driving music are awesome, especially when loud.
-- I'd say that this may be the best lighting and sound combo Stern has done to date!
-- Oh, you'll have to like metal for the above statement to be true. : )


-- This game is crazy fast if you get the flow going.
-- There are a lot of posts in the centre of the PF, so be ready or crazy fast rebounds.
-- Flow speed in this machine led me to quick drains, so I started playing controlled, which is the way to go.
-- Learning the important shots was quick with this one, and the required control removes the fun speed.


-- The game is trying to be a speed demon while requiring controlled shots.
-- Unlike IM, this game does not allow for long sessions of flow due to the crazy fast rebound drains.
-- I found the game becomes pretty easy (thus shallow) when you play controlled and get the shots down.
-- The PF looks and feels empty with a single centerpiece. Compare this to TSPP... WOW is it empty.
-- The shield was having problems (balls sticking and not working properly) on the machines I played.

To sum up, BKSOR is no surprise from Stern: it is a stripped down machine offering very little for the dollar. It is definitely worth playing, but I will only do so on location if I'm in the mood. I see myself playing short games for those crazy fast moments as I won't care if I achieve replay.
4 years ago
I absolutely LOVE the theme and integration, but PF design and code killed this license for me.


— The ramps are well done, especially the metal Marilyn flip ramp. Love it!
— Spot is decent but kills flow. Dark as well.
— Great wireforms... are these toys?
— Nothing else innovative here: you have a bare-bones Borg.
— It has a bash magnet..? And some sort of Frankenstein guy, resembling Hulk from Avengers?
— Crappy pothole instead of a real sewer.
— Very crappy large side targets that are freebies every game, no exceptions.


— Theme of the show is carried over wonderfully.
— I love the screen clips and screen work.
— Good sounds to go with clips and callouts.
— Crappy area in the middle of the PF with no inserts. Stern saving $$....


— Ramps are fun to ride!
— Spot can be fun to hit
— Jackpots can be cranked for great value and feel good to nail for the first while
— It's so shallow that it becomes boring quickly.
— Free shots limit what you have to do to get to Munster Madness
— Some compare it to older W/B games, but it's not like them at all. It's much more shallow

In the end, The Munsters is another wasted license by Stern in my opinion. There is zero innovation, aside from maybe spot and zap. The table offers pretty much nothing that you can't get elsewhere aside from theme. Die-hard fans will defend it, but imagine if this was an unlicensed theme?
4 years ago
This game is UNIQUE! No wonder Williams attempted to rip off the design to create ToM, which is, by far, the inferior machine.
I acquired this machine on a trade+ for a WW, and I am happy with my decision.


— Capcom hit the pinball market running: they sought innovation!
— You want toys? Well this game has two firsts for pinball: the wand and levitating ball.
— The trunk lock is very cool.
— There are great ramp diversion choices with the wand guiding the ball
— The ball drop into the critics is EPIC FUN! I cannot stress this enough!
— Excellent sewer system and theatre kickout.
— Captive ball is great. It can be really tough and punishing, yet you can light xb, which can also be tough to hit.
— The single theatre bumper works well if switches are adjusted properly.


— Theme of "evil female magician (witch?) sending magicians after you is original and cool.
— I love the almost monotone, scripted callouts from the woman. They make me laugh. "Behold, real magic" lol.
— The insults from the woman and critics are funny. "Loop this, pal."
— The various voices and for the magicians are integrated well.
— Really good DMD work on this machine, particularly the closing animation after your game ends.
— Lighting is pretty good with an OCD card and LEDs. Bummer that you can't add LED flashers.
— Music is okay. I have played the game for long sessions and do not get annoyed. It doesn't stand out either.


— I was very concerned about the linear style of the game, but it somehow works great.
— Scoring "levels" by defeating the magicians gets progressively more difficult, which is great.
— Having to silence the critics to end level one is a perfect amount of difficulty.
— Later modes that require drops etc. add tremendous danger and pressure.
— It's awesome that you can't use the captive ball to complete end-of-level modes.
— This game can be very fast with spurts of great flow.
— If flow was non-stop, it would be too much as it is sooo fast if well tuned and waxed.
— The potential to start a two ball via skill shot after lock is great for balancing difficulty.
— Three ball multiball adds clever scoring options.
— Completing the game is pretty difficult and EPIC when you get there.


— It is very linear, so it is better in larger collections I would think.
— Two ball multiball could be considered a little on the easy side to obtain.
— Hat shot from the left flipper rejects quite a bit. It likely needs some padding to prevent bounce-outs
— Flipper strength needs to be pretty high (I think I'm two points lower than default), which means the pf can take a beating.
— As others have mentioned, parts can be a bitch, but I've been able to find most without much trouble. This may change.
— The backglass could be a little better, but there is far worse.

In the end, Pinball Magic is an excellent game. It is leaps and bounds better than Theatre of Magic, the game that attempted to outperform it. The innovation, great ruleset, and great gameplay make this game a winner. The price has gone up, but I still see this game as priced below its actual value. Get out and play this game!
4 years ago
UPDATE: Jan 2022

Since owning Iron Maiden LE, I've noticed the following:

1. My balls are literally bigger
2. My bench press is up
3. My right hook has improved
4. My respect and tolerance of the law has diminished
5. My improved personality has become irresistable to women

All in all, the game has held up okay...


Iron Maiden LE is as epic as I hoped it would be. Keith Elwin did a wonderful job in designing this pin for his Archer prototype, which finally convinced me to be a NIB stern. I've now had my IMDNLE for 7 months, and code is looking near complete.

— The game design itself is epic. The flow is non-stop action.
— The combo shots in this game never get old (mummy to orbit, loop to orbit etc).
— The bumpers in front of the left ramp is a well-executed idea.
— The jump ramp is super cool as you really do have to aim for the centre!
— The sarcophagus lock and underworld ramp are pretty darn cool too.


— The theme of you challenging the devil is super cool.
— The modes and cards are integrated with the theme well.
— Very good use of RGB LEDs. This is pretty standard these days.
— Although not a big feature, the beacon light does add some cool lighting in time with the music.
— Sound is pretty good, although code needed to fix issues and it still needs some dialing in.
— The JBLs are bottom of the line JBLs, and the sub is sub-par.


— Gameplay is fast and dangerous.
— You can tell that this was designed by a pro: capture, cradle, shoot or die quickly.
— Looping in this game reminds me of a slightly faster looping than BK2K. FUN!
— Spelling Eddy gets more challenging and forces you to use all the shots in the game.
— Drop targets are utilized well for orb (add-a-ball), bonus x and lighting lock.
— Right ramp is very difficult, but not as bad as Kiss. Still, ramp combos are very tough.
— Tough shots are balanced with easy ones (centre ramp).
— The best part of the game is that you have to split your brain and play upper and lower at the same time!


— Crap stern quality. I wish build quality was a rating factor. Stern would fail every time.
— Crap leg brackets. Crap wood. Crap location for power switch. Crap power supply with loud fan.
— Crap plum bob that fell apart in my hand the first time I adjusted it.
— Crap Spike system that cannot be repaired.
— Absolute crap value for dollar spent compared to competitors.

— The game can be a bitch to adjust so that the launchers work with the loop. Mine has been decent.
— Some parts in the mechs are cheap chinese-looking metal. They may not last, but that's stern for ya.
— The game can be very unforgiving, so newbs often struggle with it.
— The final two modes must be earned via ramps. It is tough and redundant. A floating target would be better.

In the end, Iron Maiden LE is one of my favourite pins in my collection. The gameplay is fast and furious, and it is a perfect partner to my only other stern, IM. Keith did a great job in designing this pin, which is what motivated me to buy it NIB. If Stern didn't try to suck every damn penny out of each of their sales, the game would even be better. It will be my last NIB from Stern, but I knew that going in. They are good at hitting "must have" licenses for a wide variety of pinheads. Again, is too bad they have such a blood-sucking business model. I want to love the company, but I just can't support that kind of "business."
5 years ago
I dislike leaving short reviews, but if I was to receive this machine as a gift, I would fill it full of gasoline and set it on fire. Really, I would. Selling this to someone for ten bucks would feel criminal.
5 years ago
Fish Tales is definitely a Williams classic and generally a great game. They made a sh*t-ton of them, so it's not too difficult to find one to play in bigger cities, but to find one that plays well is often the challenge. My overall view of the game is that it's a great game to play on location, but I wouldn't make room for it in my house, unless Pinside's deflated price turned out to be real. 3k for a collector's quality Fish Tales? I'm SOLD!

— This is from the era of toys, but this one sorta lacks. You get the split ramp, captive ball and the reel.
— It does include a shaking fish topper, which is cool. This isn't a gameplay toy though.
— The double boat ramp is the best feature of the game, and it is awesome!


— I grew up fishing, but the theme is still meh to me.
— Even though it is a very specific theme, they did a good job of making it fun.
— The animations and sounds are good.
— Lighting is good for the era.


— I would argue that the game is a player's pin. It's tough for most.
— Rocking the boat ramp is sooo fun, and the sound effects make it intense!
— There's nothing in pinball like qualifying and nailing a MONSTER FISH!
— In all, for a game built to attract players in an arcade environment, the game is a winner.


— I find once you get the shots dialed, the game becomes relatively easy and repetitive.
— The game could use a lot more depth, but it is a 90's pin, designed strictly for routing.
— The game often has mechanical issues with the reel.

In the end, Fish Tales is a game I will never pass up playing when I see it out in the wild. Often I'm disappointed with the tuning of most copies I've found, but when I find a good one, I play it for an hour or two if I have the time. I would only own one if the price was right, and even then, I don't think it would last. It's just too shallow for my tastes.
5 years ago
The Hobbit is an extremely difficult machine to rate because it is so unique. I see this machine as offering a pinball/film adventure (more so than Indy) rather than a typical pinball experience. This makes the machine both wonderful and very easy to criticize.

— The game is a wide-body and offers slower balls speeds than most wide-bodies.
— The double ramp is easy but fun to hit.
— The pop-up creatures are awesome, especially during multiball.
— The holes to the left and right are tough to hit.
— Some see the upper flipper as useless, but it is actually quite useful.
— The alternating drops are super cool!
— The playfield is wide open, but I find it to be a refreshing difference.
— The lock buttons are neat.
— The dragon should eat the damn ball!


— As with most JJPs, the theme is integrated pretty much to perfection.
— The animations and movie scenes are stunning.
— The sound booms!
— The use of LED lighting is done very well, even with popup creatures.


— This game plays very, very, very slow. I find it oddly relaxing.
— The ramps flow nicely, but there isn’t much fast-flow going on.
— The skill shot is super fun.
— Lighting lock is fun but easy.
— Multiballs are fun but easy to achieve.


— Ball times, baby. Games often last 30 minutes or more.
— While the upper flipper is useful, it could have been more useful.
— Smaug is pretty, but as a toy it involves zero interactivity. I heard they had licensing issues.
— Some will despise the slowness.
— Some will despise the open playfield.

In the end, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I play this game. I find it difficult to rate as it goes beyond a simple pinball machine; it offers an almost meditative experience. If you approach it knowing this, it is truly a wonderful time. I do not play this game with others as they end up waiting and waiting and waiting. It’s best alone with the sound up. Will it hold up over time? I do not know, but I’ll likely pick one up when the price stabilizes on the low end due to all the haterz, bro. :P
5 years ago
After playing this machine at an expo, I just had to find one to add to my collection, and it will be one of the last ones to leave. Out of all the pinball machines I’ve played, I would say that this pin is the most under-rated. It is in absolute bargain for what you get. All I can say is, “WOW” is this game ever challenging and fun!

— You want toys? Well this was the era of toys. The ramp diverters are astounding and fun.
— The upper playfield is very challenging and very fun.
— The ball lock at the sanctuary is a first and was/is epic.
— The upper loop is super hard, which is good.
— The eject hole for Khan/modes is super hard, which is good.
— The drop target at the entrance to the upper playfield is good design.


— Love the call-outs: “You are boring me!”.
— “Coward, Chicken, Sissy. C’mon. Play again.”
— I don’t know the comics or the film, but theme appears to be good.
— Lighting is good for the era. Lots of flashers. Cool inserts in upper pf.


— This game is a player’s pin, meaning it is difficult! It’s perfect for a collection of any size.
— This is one of the only pins that I didn’t have to toughen up the default rules.
— Skill shot is risky but with great value.
— It can have tremendous flow with the ramps and loops, but sudden death is common if you miss with velocity.
— There seems to be extra gravity on this pin. It wants to eat the balls!!!
— The lack of bumpers and scoop = fassssst gameplay, hence the short ball times.
— The mode shot is pretty tough, so finishing all the modes is a big challenge.
— Super jackpot during Kahn multiball is epic, epic, epic! Oh, man. Writing this makes me want to play the game!


— The left ramp is absolutely deadly if you miss it. It is very close to the flippers.
— It’s sometimes hard to get good flow because of how challenging the shots are.
— The backglass is gawd-awful. I rated based on the swap.
— You may need to adjust the switch for the left ramp.
— You must maintain the targets around the left ramp so that they face downward or it’s airball city.
— The game is too diffucult for newbs, hands down.
— Even for good players, it takes a bit to learn this machine as it has a feel all to its own.

In the end, The Shadow is pinball EXACTLY as I like it: hard, fast and dangerous. This game is endlessly rewarding due to its unique toys, flow and rule set. Honestly, this pin feels like no other. If you get a chance, session this game for as long as you can. It takes time, but once you “get” it, you’ll never get enough of it.
5 years ago
WH20 is a great pin with some neat toys, cool ramps and fun theme. I have nostalgic memories of playing this machine as a youngster, and I was happy to play it again many years later on location. While the game was a lot of fun to play, it didn’t completely live up to my fond memories.

— The game’s primary mountain ramp/yeti toy is awesome.
— Comboing the lower to upper side ramp is FUN!
— The crazy rise on the side ramp is fun, especially when the glass gets a ball smack!
— The moving Yeti is a fun toy


— I’m not a hug fan of the rafting theme, but I’m glad it’s not a license.
— The playflied is meh... again, it’s rafting...
— The lighting is par for the time.


— This game can have some nice flow with the upper shots.
— The shots are pretty straightforward and pretty easy after a while.
— Central posts can be punishing if you miss a shot, which is good.


— The game has a pretty shallow rule set.
— After you get used to the upper shots, there’s not much left to the game.
— The game takes up far too much space at the back end for the upper play field.
— The game feels like half a playfield, as if you’re shooting into darkness. I like to see more.

In the end, White Water is a wonderful game in the classic w/b style from the best era of pinball. I play this game when I can find it on location, but I would pass on owning it due to the shallow rule set and shallow playfield. There are games with many more shots that maintain a better view of the playfield. This game has a claustrophobic feel to me.
5 years ago
Creature is a true classic from an age of pinball we will never see again. When this game is maintained well, it is super fun to play! The theme of this machine is one of the best or THE best in all of pinball. The sounds and the music are absolutely astounding on this machine, so much so that I have used it as a jukebox in my garage.

— The game is designed well with some interesting shots and relatively easy ramps.
— There isn’t much for toys aside from creative lighting on the ramps and a hologram that rarely works.
— The bowl at the end of the ramp shot is neat, but it was probably more mind-blowing in the 90s.


— Lit ramps are super cool.
— Creature letter lighting in the back box is also a plus.
— Callouts and theme are perfect 50s 60s era
— Songs are memorable songs that don’t seem to get old, even after many plays.
— This game OOOZES style. It’s classic perfection of drive-in movie era pinball.


— I like the K-I-S-S shot. It’s satisfying to quickly progress through this.
— The upper pops and letters are cool and challenging
— I like the ramps. They feel fast and smooth.
— Snack bar targets are dangerous, which is nice compared to other shots in the game.


— This game definitely suffers from pretty shallow code.
— Spelling F-I-L-M can be challenging at first, but it becomes easy to master.
— There isn’t much to do aside from getting multi ball, finding the creature and saving the girl.
— I found that I could master this game quickly and had really long ball times.
— The hologram somewhat neat when working, but it wasn’t made to last.

In the end, Creature is one of those games that is full of style and has some good substance. I will always play it on location, but after fixing one for a friend and playing it for a week straight, I would never want to own one due to the shallow rule set and easy game play. If you haven’t experienced the game, get out there and play it. It’s super fun!
5 years ago
Kiss is the new-aged Stern cookie-cutter layout with some slight differences. I don't mind Kiss' music, and I find this game to be pretty fun to play once in a while. I see Kiss is a player's pin, so if your skills are low, you'll find it to be an unenjoyable drain-monster.


-- This game is a cookie cutter Stern with just a few differences
-- The backstage/song scoop is very tight, but doable. I hated it until I dialed it in. It works!
-- The right ramp is steep as hell and a tight shot as well. It feels great to nail it!
-- Paul Stanley's kicker zone for love-gun multiball is cool. The kickout up there is cool too.
-- Being able to hit the center ramp with both flippers is nice. It's a welcome easy shot.
-- Gene's head looks cool, but it's functionality as a primary toy is flat-out weak.


-- Kiss was a great band (yes, WAS), and this game is themed pretty great.
-- RGB LEDs for the changing shots are awesome.
-- Callouts are pretty good. "Stop shakin' the game!"


-- The modes are pretty solid and challenging to finish.
-- I like the combo rules. Centre ramp makes comboing a little easier on a tough machine.
-- Multiballs are quite fun on this game.
-- Gameplay and music becomes redundant pretty quick.


-- Choosing the easier songs (Eg. Deuce then Love Gun) over and over gets old fast.
-- I love Kiss' music, but the same songs will eventually drive you nuts, unlike ACDC.
-- Art is a little too cartoony for me.
-- Right ramp is a too tight, and you are punished hard if you miss.
-- Bumpers kill a lot of flow in this one. Center ramp followed by a hopeful alternate shot is really all you get.
-- No skill shot, with the exception of scoring a hit on the loop for Deuce.
-- Gene's head likes to barf the ball SDTM on many copies of this machine.
-- I've had many balls drain in the outlines twice in a row. Talk about house balls!

In the end, I expected to dislike this machine, but I don't mind it at all. Is it a great pin? No. Is it a typical Stern offering? Yes, but not to the point of being Aerosmith. I'll play this in the wild, but I feel sorry for those who bought this and rate it high simply to defend their purchase. Trust me, I've played it enough to know. It is an average pin at best, but worth a few bucks in the wild.
5 years ago
I have a love/hate relationship with The Walking Dead, and it mostly has to do with Stern's consistency in build and how it affects game play.


-- This machine has two pretty good toys - fat-boy and the magnet shack
-- Center magnet bashes are often annoyingly random, but they allow a workaround in code
-- The playfield has an original design and some cool shots - love the x-ball shot
-- The ramps have strange physics to them, which is really cool
-- The bumpers are interesting and accessible


-- I'm not a huge fan of licences, and this one is no exception. It is done well though
-- The animations of zombies getting killed never get old
-- Lighting is typical for this era of Stern: the bare minimum but functional
-- Sounds are good


-- The rules on this game are strange at first, but different ends up being good
-- The focus on the drops is both good/bad
-- Newbs can smash the shack and fat boy and still have a decent experience
-- I enjoy smashing fat boy, but not the shack
-- It's tough to get going, but when you do, this game has great flow
-- Because of the tougher rules (modes), I find this to be a player's pin


-- Stern seems to have had an inconsistent run on this at the factory
-- If geometry is off at all on this game, it can suck big time. Bumper drains anyone?
-- Same goes for levelling - if it's off just a little, hello SDTM
-- The drops are hella-dangerous, which makes playing this on location less desirable
-- The shack malfunctions on quite a few machines
-- Half ramp SDTM is pretty common on the copies I've played

In the end, The Walking Dead would be a pretty good machine in a home environment as it is touchy with regard to setup. I've also found the copies to be inconsistent to the point of almost being different games, which reminds me of the occasional Addams Family. When I see this title on location, I usually pass unless I'm in the mood to get my ass kicked, sometimes fairly, others not so much.
5 years ago
Monster Bash, much like Road Show, is one of those "kitchen sink" games made during pinball's golden years. This game is a well-organized toy box that only suffers from being too easy.


-- The six monsters around the playfield are awesome!
-- The major toys (Frank and Drac) are designed to enter and exit to help with flow
-- The scoops and ramps are classic shots
-- The game utilizes the playfield and values both flippers equally


-- The theme is a stacked monster theme, with constant references to the classic monsters
-- The idea of the completing the modes for Monsters of Rock is a cool goal
-- The lighting is great and typical for the time period
-- The sounds, call-outs and music are great for this pin


-- This game successfully forces you to play all shots and areas in the game, including bumpers
-- It's great that you can stack the modes
-- The code for this game is clean enough for tournament play


-- This game, like TOM and Creature, suffers from being too easy, even when set up to be difficult
-- Monster Bash is really easy to achieve, and Monsters of Rock is not crazy difficult either
-- With it being so easy, its lastability is rather low to me, but the toys and action help here

In the end, Monster Bash is a highly rated pin for very good reason: it is absolutely loaded with great toys, has good flow, has a great ruleset, and the theme and sound are wonderful. If it was a little more difficult, I would own one for sure.
5 years ago
I've played this pin many, many times in hopes that I've been missing something, but I have never found it fun to play.

THE GOOD: The sounds are cool, and the general theme works for me. Who doesn't love the original film/song/branding? It's awesome. The concept of the double entry ramp is neat, and I don't mind the video modes on this one. I suppose the bumper awards are somewhat of a cool use, and the random screams are the coolest!!

THE BAD: Because the important shots are tight and sometimes hug the sides of the playfield, the wider gap between the flippers is just poor design. I also find the rules to be all over the place, especially with the ridiculous focus on skill shot and scoring imbalances (video mode). There are also the design issues of the left loop and right ramp entrance being so tight and the side rails (metal bars) that promote jumps. I lose a ball unfairly about every 5 games on this machine, which is ridiculous. Lastly, the main toy, Slimer, is lame and doesn't work properly half the time.

I have all my own machines set up to be as difficult as possible, so I love a challenge, but this game is filled with flawed design. Yes, it is different, and different is often good, but, again, I see the differences in this one as flaws.

No matter how much I play Ghostbusters -- and I will try again -- I just cannot see this machine as a good player. I'm willing to bet that it is in the Pinside top 30 mainly because of buyer's blindness.
5 years ago
AC/DC is a fun game with some great music, but, of course, you have to like the band. This game has some pretty easy shots, especially because most of them can be back-handed, but the game can punish you if you miss. In all, it's a bit of a player's pin that I play on location when I see it. As with most music pins, I wouldn't own it, but I play it.


-- The game has great ramps that can be back-handed, which adds fun strategy
-- The TNT targets are actually great, in that they can kill you faster than Trump's red button
-- The canon is okay, but it blocks the right outlane and is only used to blast standups...
-- The bell is, again, okay, but it's really just a centre bash
-- The jukebox at the back of the playfield is super cool
-- The left loop is fast and can be repeatedly circled for good adrenaline!
-- Coolest looking spinner in pinball!!
-- The right loop ending in a scoop is good for an alternative shot, but it takes away from flow
-- In all, I would argue that this game fits nicely into the "safe/redundant" Stern design era


-- I find AC/DC to be lit about average: nothing to notice, but nothing to complain about
-- The theme is okay.. It's a band of old guys, with photoshopped pictures of old guys on the playfield
-- The music is great if you love the band, but I wouldn't want to listen to any band every time I play a pin


-- The songs are good modes, and shots are, for the most part, clear
-- The playfield multiplier via the bell is a great rule
-- This game really rewards for stacked MB and multipliers, and it's pretty easy to learn how
-- Ramps are relatively easy, yet fun. Mistakes are punishing, which is great


-- No innovation, as per usual with Stern
-- No significant toys aside from a swinging bell and a T2 (1991) cannon that blocks ball view
-- Right loop scoop breaks flow combos - disappoints more than I thought it would
-- Modes attached to songs causes players to hear the same songs over and over

In the end, AC/DC is a pretty fun game that I play on location, but I would never buy this pin. I feel it would get old very quick, and the good ol' rock they are known for would become annoying.
5 years ago
Attack from mars is a great Bally classic and deserves to be in the top 20 of all time; however, I would not place it as high as its current pinside rating (2). I'm assuming the ranking has shot up due to inflation caused by the sudden influx of ownership due to the remake.


-- The game offers a healthy variety of shots: the loops and ramps are smooth yet challenging when it counts.
-- The shaking saucer and aliens are great toys.
-- The bash target is utilized well.
-- The mini-sewer below the bumpers is cool.
-- Excellent wireforms with the ramps


-- The theme of this game is it's strongest asset, in my opinion. It is integrated perfectly.
-- The humour (speech) used in this game is the best in all of pinball.
-- The accents for the different countries and the stereotyping is funny.
-- For its time, the lighting is really good.


-- Objectives, combos and saucers are fun.
-- The game can be dangerously fun, and it can tempt you into dangerous shots.
-- Killing saucers is very easy to understand for newbs, which is an often overlooked strength.
-- The center ramp shot can be very difficult to nail, which is a good thing.


-- My number one complaint about this game is that it becomes redundant pretty quick.
-- I find center bash games, with maybe the exception of MM, to be uninspiring.
-- The game, when compared to something like TZ, is pretty simple in design and in toy offerings.

In the end, Attack From Mars is one of the best games Bally made, but it falls a little short in the lastability zone. I play it when I see it, but I find it's a bit too pricey to add to my collection. I still see myself owning this title in the future when the prices come down due to oversupply. In a small collection, I would argue your money would be better spent on TZ, MM, TOTAN, DI etc.
5 years ago
I've played this game with an open mind many, many times, and I can't find almost anything to like about it.

- The LED lights are used well.
- The lock shot is a new concept to me.
- It has a magnet and three bumpers?
- Gameplay can be kinda fast with some flow.

- The artwork and animations are Aerosmith cartoons.. Nuff said.
- The playfield is a long-worn-out layout of Stern. Zero creativity except the lock shot, which kinda sucks.
- The bash toy is lame, and the jester guy is annoying as hell.
- The lock launch works only half the time. 50% failure on the two machines I've played.
- Aeorosmith's songs just don't have the lastability for me.

I guess if I screwed up and bought this, I'd rate it higher out of buyer's remorse. I can't see any other reason this even makes the top 50. Honestly, I see this is one of the worst machines stern has made in years. I liked my Buck Hunter better.
5 years ago
I've owned Iron Man for many months now, and I must say that it is one of the best pins to have in one's collection. I usually despise newer sterns, but I had the opportunity to pick up a really nice copy of Iron Man and couldn't resist.


-- The game has a very simple playfield design. So simple, in fact, that I dismissed it at first.
-- The game integrates the main toys well: the drone kicker, the whiplash magnet and the monger bash toy/magnet.
-- The ramps are integrated well, with the left shallow and the right steep.
-- Collecting drones via standups is an interesting requirement, as is collecting the shields for add-a-balls.


-- I'm not into super hero films, so I had to watch the movies after getting the game. Meh... Still not into it.
-- Lighting is generally good, although this machine is pre-RGB-LED.
-- I replaced Stern's cheap-ass fluorescent tube with a custom backbox LED kit. It really kicked up the lightshow!
-- The music really gets your adrenaline pumping in this game. A sub is must-add!


-- Disabling the back post is an absolute must. Trust me. This game doubles in fun if you disable it. It also ads a real skill shot.
-- I usually look to Ritchie for speed, but Borg has designed one hell of a fast game. Super speed! This game is ALWAYS a rush.
-- The playfield is set up for speed combo city. I can keep nailing loops and ramps until I laugh out loud. The game is just so fast!!!
-- I find the set up for do-or-die to be difficult but achievable. Lyman did a great job on the software: it is perfectly balanced.
-- There is a good balance between danger and strategy with this one. It's not that bad of a drain monster if you know how it plays.


-- There is no skillful way to achieve extra ball. I prefer games that offer extra balls that are difficult to achieve.
-- It would be nice if the iron man standups on either side were drops. It would make this game soooo deadly!
-- Cheap-ass LED DMD from stern with 1/3 dedicated to your score.
-- General stern cheapness of the era. This was the beginning of the crap, so it's not that bad.

In the end, when I look at my lineup, Iron Man is my go-to game when I'm in need of a quick fix. You can have long ball times on this game, but, realistically, games are usually shorter. That being said, the shorter games are packed full of adrenaline!
6 years ago
UPDATE January 2022:

So, after owning this game for several years, I had to unfortunately nerf my rating by a bit. My original was 9.14. Here are the reasons why:


This game has the potential to be in the top 5 of all time, but JJP refuse to see issues with the rules. Here they are:

- The lower BOB shot is almost impossible to hit, so BOB modes and multiballs are rarely part of the game.
- The standup lit states need to rotate like Pinball Magic's do.
- The game pushes the ball left like crazy, making the BOB issue worse as you can't relight kickback
- Theatre multiball is also rarely seen as the collections are set too high

Hear me out on this one: the game rules NEED to be adjusted to make this game shine.
- Nerf the BOB requirements to allow for more BOB modes, multiballs and kickbacks.
- Nerf the requriements for theatre modes, which will allow for theatre multiball now and then
- Allow for Sim carry-over as that shot is very difficult as well.

For me, it's tough to get past the psychology of nerfing rules as I don't do this on any of my other machines. I was about to sell this game because of left drains related to the BOB design issues. The code changes made me love it again. After these adjustements, the game actually feels like an older W/B machine: it's not crazy difficult, but it can still kick your ass if you're not on your game. Still, the BOB target states absolutely, 100% should rotate due to design, but they won't fix it...


Dialed In represents the ultimate culmination of Pat Lawlor's design skills, refining all the good and ditching all of the bad. This game will go down as one of the best playing pins of all time. The game is just that good.


-- This game utilizes the standard playfield size as well as TOTAN, maybe better.
-- The ramps flow very nicely, even the side ramp.
-- The theatre is integrated well, as is the phone and mechanic diverter.
-- There is a trapdoor and real sewer! Thank god JJP didn't go with stern's cheap eject pothole strategy.
-- There are 5 magnets, but the center 3 can be adjusted to suit the player's preference. Medium (one above default) is a blast!
-- Flipper manipulation via "attacks" during multiball works very well and can prevent cradling, which is a nice change.
-- The selfie camera is great fun and doesn't get old. The high score images are a great idea.
-- When working correctly, the bluetooth app is super challenging and fun. Great for tournaments!
-- The precise adjustment of coils in the settings is a treat!


-- It's great to see a non-licensed theme in a high-investment pin. JJP is willing to take risks and push the market in new directions.
-- The theme of the player's crazy-Bob phone having issues and causing disasters is a cool idea. The disasters are great modes.
-- Crazy Bob's cheesiness adds a fun aspect to the game, and the channel 8 newscaster narration is perfectly integrated.
-- The cell phone dude is not the greatest art idea, but the playfield looks awesome, as well as the cabinet art and backglass.
-- The lighting for this game is close to the best, if not the best, in pinball. The use of RGB LEDs is top-notch.
-- The animations on the LCD and smartphone are amazing. These guys have a talented team of animators. Stunning.
-- The standard music suits the theme of "a day in Quantum City." The mode music is wonderful, especially EMP Strike.
-- The initial call-out and music in Chaos in Quantum City multiball is intense!


-- The modes are wonderful to play, and the integration of Big Bang is intelligent design, not natural selection.
-- Sim card is an intense carrot, seeing that it is worth so much. Avoid setting it to remain lit after drain to keep it intense!
-- Having the first multiball a 2-ball and easier to achieve is great for early momentum.
-- Crazy Bob modes and multiballs are a nice addition. The left loop is sometimes oddly difficult to hit when it counts.
-- The theatre modes and hurry-ups, if planned correctly, can coincide with important side ramp shots.
-- Chaos in Quantum City multiball is very, very intense, possibly the most intense multiball in all of pinball.


-- Theatre modes that release the ball downward (EMP etc.) can cause frustrating SDTM drains.
-- Phone can reject many shots with the JJP protector in place. This can be considered a good thing for difficulty.
-- Sim card shot is almost impossible to get dialed in. It is often based on fluke, which is not a good thing for skilled players.
-- There is an imbalance in scoring with the modes and all else. To crush: light bang, start mode, BANG!, get sim, rinse, repeat.
-- The wireform for the left ramp return is flawed in design and can cause the ball to bounce out in random directions.
-- The playfield is more difficult to seat than other pins due to design. It would be nice if it was like the old Williams machines.
-- The first version of the app worked great, but the new one is laggy. I Raised the bluetooth dongle, which helped.
-- Only half the character scenes in the phone are animated. Hopefully this will be fixed with new code.
-- The Crazy Bob plastic sign and lights do not face the player and are hard to see. I've already seen player mods for this.

In the end, the criticisms are very, very minor when compared to the positives. Dialed-in exceeds most if not all other pins out there, and the build quality of JJP exceeds all other manufacturers. Get out there and play Dialed In; you won't be disappointed.


After owning the pin for four years, I had to unfortunately knock down the score a tiny bit for ruleset. The lower BOB target is almost impossible to hit reliably. This could have been fixed in software, but they refused to do so. I did find a workaround that actually makes this game much better:

1. Lower the requirement for theatre modes to one. Eg. one drone collected to start the captive ball.
2. Lower the BOB difficulty to leve 2.
3. Raise BOB stacking to level 10.

These adjustments allow for easier kickback lighting to account for the target flaw, and it allows for more BOB modes and multiballs. It also means you can now really focus on bonus because the theatre often has a mode going. It also means that you can play theatre multiball about every second game. Stacking it with the main multiball and/or BOB multiballs is crazy fun.

These adjustments make the game feel a lot like TZ: it's not crazy hard, but finishing it is still a big challenge.
6 years ago
I've put about 30 games on this, and I can say that this game is okay and that I was hoping for more.


- Ritchie speed! This game can be hella fast

- Theme is great, but that goes without saying

- The tie fighter button bashing is super fun. Losing a ball to it is hilarious the first few times

- The idea of the characters is a cool way to organise the game

- The screen works well with the game. You can get updates as to what to shoot at


- Rules overload!!! I love a deep rule set, but when the rules are so complicated that you cannot figure them out after ten games, I'm ready to turn my back.

- Ritchie speed, but not necessarily Ritchie flow. This game is nothing like GOT and doesn't even touch Iron Man. In Iron Man, I have a "Ritchie Moment" almost every game, meaning that I slam combos so fast that my head spins and I start laughing out loud. Not this one. The shots aren't as pleasing and the flow is different somehow... hard to explain.

- Annoying sounds for Tie Fighters all the time.

- The modes feel redundant. I don't feel like I'm actually in a mode when I am, unlike games like TZ, AF or, again, Iron Man and countless others.

- Stern cheapness. This is topic all in itself. Cheap boards with integrated LEDs, cheap components, no toys for the pro version. You want an LCD screen or two? Well, you can have it, but Stern will strip value from elsewhere, where there is no value left to strip. I digress...

- Incomplete code. At least with SW, they will likely attempt to finish it. No promises here, but we know Stern's approach.

Overall, I'd say this game is a solid 7/10. It's a game I could see myself playing if the code is updated and I can understand the rules. I don't see this game holding its value, seeing that Stern will sell a zillion of them due to the license alone. The game will be like Ghostbusters and will sell for less than NIB. Too bad Jack didn't get his hands on the license.

May the pinball market be with you.
6 years ago
This is a love-it or hate-it pin for most, and this is solely related to the theme. I am not a fan of the Buck Hunter video games and generally dislike this theme. That being said, this pin is very fun if it is set up properly, especially for non-pinheads.

The good:
- The buck is an easy to understand toy and creates some challenging gameplay
- There is a good variety of shots in the game
- The elk side flipper shot thing is neat

The bad:
- Code updates didn't happen; to finish the game is LITERALLY impossible
- The bird shot can be a SDTM drain, even with the added ball guide - I had to install a small magnet to correct this issue
- Ramp can be a SDTM drain too. I had to adjust it so the side post would stop this
- PF design seems a little off: left drain is brutal. Sometimes you don't get to touch the ball, even after the ball save
- Buck needs frequent adjusting, which is a PITA
- Crappy Stern skill shot
- Super cheap Stern quality.

Overall, this game was super fun for tournaments and rookies. Skilled players will find that it has good strategy and challenge as well. It's too bad Stern cheaps out in most ways with this machine, and the company abandoned the code early on.
6 years ago
This machine is a rush. I've never played a pin that returns balls from ramps in less than a second. If you get on a role hitting ramps and combos, I think Demolition Man supersedes all other machines for speed and satisfaction. It's just so fast!! That being said, the rule set keeps the ratings for this pin quite low, especially for a Williams wide body. If you force yourself to go for demolition time instead of just multi-balls, the game becomes way better.

The good:
- Fast ramps and combos in general
- Good music, especially the driving sound when multiball is lit
- Challenging shots
- Good callouts, especially Stallone's callouts for extra ball and replay
- The claw is a cool feature, and the rules to light it are actually good
- The handles are fun, but I wish there was required switching to the regular buttons. The bonus for using the handles pretty much eliminates the regular buttons.

The bad:
- Heavy weighting toward multi-balls
- Ability to keep choosing lock freeze with claw
- No motivation to hit car crash or retina scan.. Truly a shame.
- Side ramp seems to be strangely angled and is not valued highly in the game.
- Translite MUST be changed. Ug...

I'm hoping to eventually swap out the boards and mod the rules. It will be fun project where I hope to fix the rule issues and add some new fun rules.

Remember, force yourself to go for demolition time instead of the multiballs, and the game is twice as fun.
6 years ago
This pin offers a great adventure! The playfield design is unique and offers a lot of variety. I brought this pin back from the dead, and I'm very happy that I did.

The good:
- Four-flipper two stage playfield with left ramp, right spinner and upper side ramp!
- Controllable ramp arm for scoop
- Pretty deep rule set, with really cool acu-spin for extra ball and add-multi-ball to modes
- Ability to disengage pop bumpers with both flipper buttons
- Unique music that drives the game well
- Good shaker motor

The bad:
- Unbalanced scoring with scoop: you should have to ride the ramp to get the 50 million.
- Calm Before the Storm exploit: unlimited points. Easy to "just say no" if you own it.
- No end of ball sequence. Can be confusing for newer players playing 4-player games.
- Standard Multiball is a little unbalanced with the rest of the game. If you play it enough, you'll find yourself shooting for modes instead of multiball. Calm before the storm is a much better value.

Even with all the problems with the rule set, this game is super fun! It sucks that you have to purposely avoid scoring issues, but the fact that I still love this pin is a testament to the overall design of the game. If you have the chance to pick one up for a decent price, I would highly recommend Gladiators.
6 years ago
This game gets a bad rep because of the rule set. On location, it would not be that great, but if you own it, you can adjust the rules to make the game very enjoyable. When you crank the settings for awarding extra balls with the roulette wheel, it changes the game completely as its very difficult to get an extra ball via the standup targets. I've had the game for quite a while and have only achieved this twice. Also, if you crank up the angle on this game, the little ramp must be hit perfectly to make it all the way up.

The good:
- Skill shot out lane gate combo - super fun!
- Side flipper - multiplyer shot has more value than you think!
- Roulette wheel - Crank up the rules, and the spins are truly a fun gamble!
- Roulette wheel during multiball is fun
- I find the music quirky and fun
-You're told to "Get a job" when you suck!

The bad:
- The artwork is pretty cheesy, but it fits the 80s millionaire theme
- The roulette wheel will cause unjustified errors on startup at times
- The game is pretty simple when compared to other system 11s

I also have Whirlwind, which is, by far, a better game, but Millionaire is surprisingly fun when tweaked properly. Often when I look at my line of machines, Millionaire successfully draws me to it.

I'm currently converting this machine to Donald Trump's Millionaire as a joke. : )
6 years ago
Truly one of the best pins in history. Super fun, but can become somewhat redundant. You can only blow up so may castles. The trolls really make the machine a lot of fun. I can't see how anyone would see it as a better machine than Twilight Zone, but it is definitely top ten.
7 years ago
I played this pin a lot as a kid, and now I've owned it for about three months. It is soooo fun to play, especailly on a hot summer night with an ice-cold beer. I don't see myself getting rid of it any time soon. My major criticism, unlike some other pinsiders, is that this game is too easy. I've found that as long as you have a good backhand (mine can't be backhanded from a standstill right flipper) and can nail the side ramp, you can score big, too big. Also, there are a zillion extra balls in this game. I've had to crank up the difficulty, and I'm still finding it too easy. I'm likely going to turn off all extra balls and turn off the cellar by default. Hopefully that will lesson my chances for finishing the cellar. Unfortunately, my friends will find it overly difficult when I do this. My summation is that Whirlwind needs a better balance in its somewhat simple ruleset. Overall, a GREAT pin.
7 years ago
This is a player's pin: rookies need not apply. I've owned this for just over a year, and this game NEVER gets old, assuming you don't exploit the modes. The ruleset is great because you can choose between three dominant paths: play for warp factors, play for multiball or play for modes. If you're good enough, you can get through all three and achieve a godlike feeling in your soul! The warp factor shot, even after endless plays, can still be elusive. Ramps, aside from Beta, are not a guarantee. Canon fire to start multiball is always a rush.

I would say this has slipped from the top ten only because of inflated Stern ratings and because this pin is really, really hard to master. As a kid in my local arcade, I saw a guy smash the glass on one of these machines in frustration!
7 years ago
This is one of the greats for sure. This has the BEST bash toy in the history of pinball. Great ramps, trapdoor is cool, and the small orbit is great. I find the call-outs become redundant pretty quick, and the game is pretty circular in nature, rules-wise. This is one of the easiest pins I've every played, so lastability is pretty low. Overall, it's a well-themed pin with great shots, but it's just too simple.
7 years ago
This is my dream pin, and I WILL have one some day. The only criticisms that I have are related to lastability: the default rules are on the easy side when you figure the game out. When I get mine, I'll crank up the difficulty, and it will be perfect. The sounds can get a little redundant, but not too bad. What a pin!

Edit: I've now owned this game for quite some time, and my comments above are spot on. Anyone complaining about the rule set just needs to make a few adjustments. Crank up the requirements for extra balls etc, and this game becomes challenging. After hundreds of games, I'm still AMAZED by the playfield design. This game is truly an engineering marvel. For a standard sized pin, it feels like it has more going on than any widebody I've ever played.

I bumped my review. That's right, this game IMPROVES with time!
7 years ago
One of the best pins ever made, for sure. I just wish they would have omitted the POA and used that for a toy that didn't get old fast.
7 years ago
The ultimate classic. The only things I can criticize would be the library disc being lackluster and the game becoming too easy, but, hey, most pinheads learned on this one. I have avoided adding this to my collection because TZ covers Lawlor's design much better and has much better lastability. That being said, if I see it on location, I will definitely try a run at touring the mansion.

Best start to multiball in all of pinball!
7 years ago
This game is decent to play, and it has a pretty good layout and excellent sound. However, I do struggle with this being even in the top 20 of all time. It has pretty much only one toy of any value, which is sparky, a simple bash toy. It's a fast Richie-like table with good ramps etc., but that's it. It's good, but not THAT good. To rate this above TOTAN, TOM, SS, STTNG, CV, and WW is just insane. Each one of those old machines destroy Metallica, especially in toys (creativity) and lastability. The good things in this machine are standard rehashings of things done a million times in pinball.

I think this pin reflects one of the unfortunate problems with Pinside's top 100: most newer pinheads haven't had a chance to play a wide variety of the older pins, and those who buy a NIB pin never seem to recognise flaws, always rating their coveted purchase above a 9, just like the two guys above me. Thanks for proving my point!
8 years ago
I've never played a pin that I like as much as TZ. It is always a challenge, and it never gets boring. While seeking door panels, there's always a curve ball, like battling the power; just when you think you're going to get lost in the zone, the game feeds you the powerball... talk about pressure! If you own it, keep the settings on the difficult! I may put in an aftermarket sound board to get better sound, which is my only complaint, but, hey, it is from 1993!

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