(Topic ID: 196783)

Reviewing Sega's 4 Large DMD pins

By shacklersrevenge

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by ccbiggsoo7
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders


Linked Games

Topic poll

“Which Sega Large DMD game is your favorite?”

  • Maverick 5 votes
  • Batman Forever 15 votes
  • Baywatch 28 votes
  • Frankenstein 14 votes

(62 votes)

#1 2 years ago

A little tired of some of the latest pinball news, so I thought I'd review and rate the 4 Sega large dmd games.
I own all 4, which got me thinking "which one is the best?"
I was surprised that I didn't have a clear answer, and as of this typing I still don't. So lets dig in.

Sega's first 4 games used a huge DMD, and are quite interesting games to say the least.
As a former world champion pinball player told me
"they have interesting layouts, good rules. They are better than they should be"

Starting with Maverick:
This game is really cool. A game where the skill shot really means something, a classic multiball with a clever super jackpot captive ball perfectly placed under the lauren belle, behind the drop targets.
Speaking of drop targets, it's a sharpshooters dream, where you only want to hit the lit bank to advance to a mode, hit too many not lit drop on a bank and you bust. The modes are fun, and it has good sounds and music too. Getting to World Poker Championship is a challenge that keeps you pressing the start button again and again.

Pros: Addicting drop target gameplay, classic multiball elements, good use of playfield, challenging game.

Difficulty to wizard mode: 8.5
Playfield design 8.0
Push start again? 8.0

Cons: top rollovers for bonus x are not used often, as orbits usually orbit, leaving the pops the only way to really bounce through those switches. Lauren Bell slowdown (though it really doesn't bother me)

This is tough because it's so close, i'll pin this game at number 3.


This is an odd game and yet still a very good game. For that, I feel guilty placing it where I'm about to place it but I have my reasons.

Batman is a game that was "go big or go home" and it really tried to captivate its target audience with its over the top widebody design that has huge ramps and a Batwing cannon.
Unfortunately, the ramps become a chore with stock equipment, and the flippers become tired after a few games. The remedy is GNR special coils, which make the game come alive, also eliminating the mushy feel this particular game seems to suffer from.
Regardless, the game does suffer from some other questionable design elements as well. The side ramp for instance, is molded strangely, making many good shots to it, brick off or clunk half way up.
The Batwing is kind of neat, but what do they want you to do in Super Jackpot? Shoot from the Batwing into that mini ramp? On a previous BF I owned years ago, I thought this is what I in fact did, but on my current BF, It does not seem doable at all.
Besides this riddle, Batman feels like a slight rush job. The signs above the ramps for instance, have stickers instead of print, which is odd.
Despite these riddles in development, the game is very fun to play and shoot on and there is a flow you can get going if you're razor sharp.
Getting a mode started is not all that difficult, as you can start one from the plunge, and re-activate it by hitting all the stand up "?" targets, setting up a long right loop shot to the mode start hole. The quickly timed modes themselves are only so so, my favorite being the acid escape (hit all 4 ramps to escape)
Forever wizard mode is very cool though, as timing your shot to the Batwing pays off HUGE jackpots.

Pros: Theme, (hey, it's Batman) lots of good shots and solid overall gameplay, nicely done animations and goofy call outs. "Got a thing for bats?" "Multiball! Multiball! Multiball!" "Bat wants to play? Fine, we'll play"

Difficultly to wizard mode: 6.0
Playfield design: 7.0
Push start again?: 9.0

Cons: Ramps are very weird/steep, modes feel timed too quick and slightly underwhelming.

I have a soft spot for Batman Forever, as I saw it in the theater back in the day and I was and guess I still am a big Jim Carrey fan.
Placing this at number 4, though depending on my mood I would say it could be switched with Maverick at number 3. However, I would say that Batman Forever is the flagship pin of the 4, It just looks cooler than the others and is more imposing in a lineup.

While personally the theme blows me away by how bad it is, the gameplay and table design blows me away by how good it is. That is Baywatch in a nutshell.
Baywatch has easily one of the most interesting and shot filled playfield designs of the 1990's, rivaling anything that Bally/Williams had put out during this time. In fact, it honestly is one of the finest shooting and coolest playfields I've played. So what's the catch? The theme.
If you can get past the theme, the gameplay and playfield layout is superb. The multiball is just too much fun, but the modes are well executed as well, with excellent dot work and challenging gameplay. While there are only 5 modes to start, it is not easy to survive past them and to it's wizard mode ''Earthquake'' which is a lot of fun. Some of the sounds too, are excellent in this pin, like the ocean bells dinging off in the pops, to the thunderous slingshots, to the almost casino like sounding jackpots. The ramps work and feel excellent in Baywatch, and your shots are well spread around the playfield. You never seem to not have something to shoot for. There are two video modes as well.

Pros: One of the most interesting and well laid out playfields of the 1990's. Really fun shooting pin, with plenty of challenge and great dot matrix work.

Difficulty to Wizard mode: 7.5
Playfield design: 9.5
Push start again? 9.0

Cons: The theme. That's pretty much it.

Baywatch is number 2.


When I had first played Frank many many years ago, I had only played route games of Frank and they played terrible. Frank is not a game that was built to hold up to the abuse of an arcade, mainly because of how poorly the flippers break down under pressure, leaving the ramp shots nearly impossible. Compound that with a lot of stand up targets, and a lot of really cool looking things on the playfield but not great action, and you have a game that will underwhelm a lot of people.
Frankestein is one of the finest hidden gems in pinball.

The first order of business is to dial in and tweak a Frank. Adjust and lube the spinner so that it really spins. Add GNR special coils and rebuild the flippers. Now you have a game that really comes ALIVE. The ramp becomes your play toy, and the game plays like a monster.

The Frankenstein layout is quite good, even with all those stand up targets, because you'll grow to appreciate their difficulty. Spelling out FRANKESNTEIN via the stand up targets starts a mode, however, shooting the North Pole spots you two letters and shooting the upper scoop or ice cave will spot you one letter.

Sounds too easy? It's not. Frankenstein is one tough mother to complete all 8 modes, in fact, every time you complete one of the modes, it spots you a letter in ''CREATURE'' For each letter, you are given 100 million points at the finale, though it is not necessary to complete any of the modes to advance there. The balance in gameplay is spot on in Frankenstein, and when you get an extra ball, you need it.

The modes are a lot of fun to play in Frank, especially GRAVEYARD, where you collect the body parts by various shots to build the monster.
The dot matrix work is fantastic and the ability to choose the music will set the mood. Multiball is a blast, with up to 6 balls and the jackpot call outs are hair raising when the game is cranked.
Frankenstein also has awesome artwork in my opinion and that playfield artwork and color scheme are just so eye popping. The cabinet and translight art are very cool as well.

Pros: It's a fantastic challenge and fun playing game IF playing correctly. Lots of great sound work and modes, and a wizard mode that is so fantastically creepy, with images of the bride on fire from the movie, running down the hall of the mansion.

Difficulty to Wizard mode: 9.0
Playfield design: 7.5
Push start again? 10

Cons: Not really anything worth mentioning. While it's not a perfect game, it does a lot of things perfectly, and when it plays right, it keeps you coming back because it's not an easy game. When you throw the lever to launch the ball, you know you're in for a hell of a challenge.

Frankenstein overall, I think, is number 1.

They are all just really great games though, you can't go wrong with any of them, and I don't think they get the credit they deserve. There is something about the over the top huge scoring, good rules and modes, big dmd in these pins that keep me coming back again and again.
Hope you enjoyed the review.

#2 2 years ago

I really like Frankenstein. It's rules are obviously influenced by TAF but that's not a bad thing. The shots are fluid. The Frank toy is cool. And I love the dual soundtracks. One is for jamming and the other to make it spooky. The art is awesome as well. The animations are decent but even with all the screen space they aren't much better than what would have been on a standard screen.

#3 2 years ago

Good thread. Don't have much time on Maverick or Frankenstein myself, but have a deep love for Baywatch. Mine is currently at my location and it has become a favorite of the regulars there. They have coined the term "getting Baywatched" based on the ball drain animation, and it is frequently used in everyday life for those people now. I love the large DMDs though they provide lots of room for animations and easy score legibility.

6 months later
#5 2 years ago

I'd say Baywatch is the best, especially with Chads new code. But I really want a MSF.

#6 2 years ago

MSF is the best of the lot.

#7 2 years ago

Nice write up.

For me .....not much between Mav and BF though

Baywatch > Frankenstein > Maverick > Batman Forever

4 months later
#8 1 year ago

I have had BW, BF, and Frank. Loved the look of BF sounds and ramps.It just did not h ave enough to do. Frank was a lot of fun and kept it for 1 year. Hard to make and beat Wizard mode. Beat it once and it was one of the best rushes I have had in pinball. I currently have BW. This game has more to do than the other 2. 4 ramps and 4 flippers and all shots are fun. This is the best of the large DMD Sega's for me. It is better than the regular DMD Sega.'s I have had as well.(X-files, JPLW ,STroppers , and Godzilla.

7 months later
#9 1 year ago

One of the things I wanted to mention for bumping this is, the scoring is pretty spot on in all of the above. It scores great in all 4, but it's fairly balanced which is hugely important to the replay factor.

This is where games like the X-files, Jurassic Park Lost World and Star Wars Trilogy hugely missed the mark, because they are low scoring (uninspired) games, and if you had a monster game on any of the 3 mentioned, it wouldn't be above 40-60 million, which really hurts the replay value of later Sega games.

#10 1 year ago

Love my Baywatch with Chads code. And the colorDMD is amazing on it!

#11 1 year ago

I had a beautiful MSF , I would love to have back. Would load this game up with Pinsound and a color DMD. Maybe some day back in the collection. Nice summary for some one looking for these games.

#12 1 year ago

MSF is number one with a bullet. BF is a poverty level STTNG but still charming and I like the artwork a lot. That’s number 4. Maverick and Baywatch are so difficult to compare as they are so very different. Being old school I cannot argue with all those drops and maverick improves greatly if you adjust the number of discards the game allows during normal play. Being squished down from a wide body design leaves some odd angles on the field for sure and for dots Baywatch obliterates maverick but dots aren’t everything of course. So tough. Baywatch has grown on me over the years but I just purchased the other day my second maverick and I’m going to put it on location most likely so I don’t know - call Baywatch 2a and maverick 2b.

9 months later
#13 6 months ago

I wanted to bump this thread, to see if anyone else had opinions to add. I'm currently looking at picking up both a baywatch and maverick, but a batman forever has popped up too. A question I would like to add, is how enjoyable each game is for new/very casual players?

#14 6 months ago

I enjoy my Maverick. It's challenging, and has a lot of drop targets. It's also got awful artwork, and the paddle wheel is painfully slow. With a different theme and a faster paddle wheel mech, I have no doubt that the game would be ranked much better, and considered one of the best of the Data East/Sega games.

#15 6 months ago

Baywatch is such a weird, but great game.

The only game I know of that caters to (and awards) BOTH stop-and-go, as well as flow/on-the-fly playing. It can be "attacked" multiple ways, and is very well thought out and balanced, rule wise.

4 Ramps? 4 Flippers? A Subway? Big DMD? Two Video modes? A self flipping shark flipper? A spinner? Drop targets? A ball relauncher? A computer controlled gate? Deep gameplay? Revised code? Coded mid-game ball saves from cheap/unsavable drains from a scoop that accidently fired a ball right into an outlane? Multi-linked shot combos that are super satisfying and buttery smooth? Modes that are actually fun and challenging to play? TWO ways to get to the wizard mode? Pam Anderson in her prime? An actual sampled music track from the Hoff himself in a pseudo-mini wizard mode?

You're god-damned right it does!

I don't know, this game has somehow transcended it's theme to a generic beach themed game, or an almost comedic cheesy 90's fest that doesn't take itself too seriously (similarly to the movie re-launch).

I never would have thought I would have been drawn to this game like I have been, but its GREAT. Guests also LOVE it. Players and casuals alike.

Joe Balcer's best layout in my opinion.

#16 6 months ago

Baywatch with ChadH' s code!
By a mile!

If this game had a smaller Hasselhoff on the translite and the williams brand on it, it would be 5k by now.

#17 6 months ago

owned all 4, all actually good games. id have to say Baywatch edges the others out, but not by much.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
From: $ 40.00
Cabinet - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
From: $ 40.00
Lighting - Interactive
Professor Pinball
Machine - For Sale
Woodstock, GA

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside