So many factors, each minor by itself, contribute to me preferring B/W games over newer sterns. But one that is often overlooked is that in many of those games there was an adversarial relationship with the game (ie. fighting the genie in TOTAN, battling the ringmaster in CV, destroying the martians in AFM etc.) You don't get that as much in the music and movie licensed games of stern. Maybe that's more a licensed vs. original concept argument but it still comes into play.
In addition, balanced scoring goes a loooooong way with me. When single shots can be as much as your entire game it kind of makes playing the rest of the game pointless and you're just trying to set up everything for the big cash in. I like risk/reward but there should also be multiple ways to get to the end goal.