Grand Lizard

Pinside rating

This game received 85 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.541 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #150 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.775

Artwork: 7.459

Sounds/Music: 6.521

Other Aspects: 7.692

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 3 of us have rated this game.


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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 38 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 38 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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33 days ago
This is just a super fun game. Not sure why it doesn't get much love, it deserves to have a higher rating. A very unique theme and fun/fast gameplay. Its also super fun to play with multiple people as you can steal each others multiple balls if someone fails to cash-in. I wish it had the original prototype backglass (this is not Python Anghelos bes work). The light show is amazing and it keeps me coming back for more each time. You can't beat the sound effects of this game. The bongos in the background tend to get a little repetitive... This game will forever be in my collection! My friends and family love it!
63 days ago
Very fun game. I love the theme and artwork. It's a bit simplistic compared to today's pins, but an awesome choice for the era. It is one of my favorite system 11 games.
8 months ago
Hmm, is this game or Jungle King my favorite of the 2-level Williams magna-save games? Very fun and doesn't seem to get old. Some players might knock it for its lack of speech but I like it as it is with the jungle sounds.

I find myself getting slightly annoyed with the tight left shot for multiball, which kind of reminds me of the center-left shot by the upper flipper on Demolition Man. It can be a bit aggravating for a whole game to feel like it's dependent on one tight shot like that when the playfield is expansive and fairly open otherwise.

Gotta mention the art. The playfield is fantastic. The backglass, well, you know.

Hadn't seen this since I was a kid (and only once or twice then) till a visit to an arcade in Tarpon Springs, FL. Let's learn to make that one shot and rate this as one of the better, but lesser-known, games of the period.

*Wife approval* Lizards. 0/10.
1 year ago
Considering the era from which this pin originated (older and flat machines just aren’t as much fun), it is a surprisingly articulate and fun game to play. The upper playfield is well laid out and the overall design facilitates nice ball flow.
1 year ago
Ok, after a week of owning the game, I’ll make my first official rating for it. I should note, that I may be a little biased as I’m so excited to FINALLY own my own game! That being said, on with the show!

Knowing nothing of this game before we purchased it, I was very excited for my first play. I read the game tag, scanned the Playfield for shot directions and launched my first ball! I love the jungle theme music, it’s palpable, but not obnoxious- it adds a subtle level of anxiety, but in a fun way! The multiball feature is tricky, but once you get a hang for the left flipper shot upwards, you can lock it down- just watch out for other players stealing your MB.

Magna saves are your friend. Learn to use them. It's a bit tricky at first... knowing how long to hold the button. I usually hit it for about half a second and release... if the ball looks like it's heading to the outlane I'll try it again. It's difficult to time the swinging ball so that it travels back into play after releasing the magnet, but possible.
1 year ago
Challenging System11 game. Unusual for not having any pop bumpers. Very hard to get the extra ball from the top left drop targets, but very satisfying to get the bell/buzzer to go when you do!
3 years ago
I have been a fan of the WMS Sys 7 "Big Four" for a while, so I expected a lot from this WMS Sys 11. I was, of course, somewhat disappointed since Grand Lizard does not really offer the kind of game play that the Sys 7's do. The playfield looks enticing yet cheap, and the shots were clunky and odd. So, overall, GL is worth checking out, but don't get your hopes up.

I'd definitely recommend playing Grand Lizard if you can find it, but it's not at the top of my mid-SS wishlist - needs to be cheaper before I'd even consider buying (goes for around $1.5k as of this writing, Jan. 2017).
3 years ago
My first Pinball, and I really love it!
Fast game with cool light effects, the flashing lizard head is great and the rules are good to understand, but not too easy. The multiball doesn't least very long, but makes huge fun. After changing all lamps to the right Noflix LEDs, the effects are marvelous and the backglass looks really great!! Just believe me :)
Also the magna save is great and funny feature!
I love the grove of the game sound, the jungle beats and n/voices, the game flow and when I start playing, it mostly takes hours till I leave it again 8-)
My first one & I LOVE IT!
3 years ago
It’s hard to say what endured me to this game. A local guy who shops out pins he gets from arcades called and asked if I was interested. I seemed to remember playing GL at an NCO club someplace back in 1987 but had to look up the game on Google because I did not remember the lay out. I thought the design and art were just plain weird, and I like weird. My only "beware" is that I was fairly new to collecting pins a few years ago and was looking for a project pin so I could learn more about maintenance, repairs, and installation. I paid way too much for it (haven't we all at one time or another?). It plays like new, but I'd never get back what I sunk into it. Knowing what I know now I would have made a much lower offer and still would have probably have gone home with it in my truck.

OK. The theme is…a freaking lizard! The pin came on the heels of the seminal Steve Ritchie hit “High Speed” so maybe Williams was trying to do an anti-High Speed to compete? I don’t know.

The play: I love it. Looking at this in the terms of 1985 and the beginning of System 11, then this game is just a lot of fun to play. I think there is just a really good flow to this pin. It’s not super easy, but it is devoid of the complicated rule sets found in machines that came after it. I have mine next to a Ghost Busters Premium, a Walking Dead Pro, and a Metallica Pro and the Grand Lizard gets a fair share of the play.

The upper playfield is a points and specials bonanza when you master it, and you have four different shots to get the ball back up there. On the lower playfield you have a lot of fun things. You have magna-saves that throw the ball all over the place, a suicide pin between the flippers, and a three ball multi-ball feature that launches whenever you trap three balls. And if the person playing with you leaves trapped balls in the multi-ball trench, then they are yours for the taking on your next ball. There are no pop bumpers at all!

The playfield is well done. Good art. The cabinet is OK, and the back glass is fugly. Another glass was created originally but after a delay in production the original artist could not go back and re-work his art to accommodate some changes with the new display (or so I read). Williams pulled in the late Python Anghelo to make a completely different back glass that looks rushed and is otherwise "meh." Python and had done some awesome back-glasses, but Grand Lizard was not his opus. I think if he had not put in the drawings of the girl chained to the lizard (really?) and a high top sneaker wearing hero with a sword leaping to take down the lizard, then it would have been a better fit for the game. Some owners have gone out and gotten the original back glass reproduction.

The sounds: First, you have a background drumming noise and then of course you have the sounds made by the ball on the playfield. There is no voice but the animal call outs work pretty good for the theme and the tempo changes when you get multi-ball. Hey, after all, you’re in the jungle, baby! There is a somewhat annoying bell that rings when you get an extra ball, etc, and I’m thinking of disconnecting it. When I got the game, the drumming back ground music/sound was disconnected. I think it probably wore on some folks after a while and they decided to just disconnect it in favor of playfield sounds only.

On a lot of these GL games the upper playfield is really torn up and decals can be had to re-cover the surface. Mine was not so bad and I am regularly polishing it with carnuble wax to protect it going forward. I did put some mylar over a few places on the upper play field that were wearing down. I decided to replace the sound, power, and MPU boards. I thought new is better than 30 year old components that were starting to show signs of age. (Knowing what I know now, I would have sent the MPU to a recommended vendor like Coin Op Cauldron for repair. ) If you replace the speakers, get the inexpensive ones at MARCO. You don’t need an expensive sound system for this pin. I also changed 100% over to LED's.

*It's been a while since I posted my review. I'm still enjoying GL. I've had to replace a few switches as of late and rebuild the top left flipper, but otherwise it is still a fun game.
4 years ago
I enjoyed playing Grand Lizard and I was considering buying one that was listed locally (just couldn't agree on a price). It had cool art and sound effects but after a some playtime I found myself getting bored quicker then normal. Worth playing and owning for the right price.
4 years ago
My buddy has a real nice one. Background music is neat for its time but really annoying to me. lighting is average. Backglass is awful. Shots are ok. Game play is ok. Not sure why this goes for so much. Just not for me I guess.
4 years ago
One of my favorite games of all time and has been with me the longest out of all my pin. No plans on ever selling it unless I can find a better one. Top 3 System 11 pin and best bang for your buck pin, IMHO.

Love the music and sound package, love the upper playfield and the ramps. Fast, flowy, and lots of drops.

Only minor detraction is that the playfield art doesnt line up with the backglass and plastics.
5 years ago
As a company, how do you follow up High Speed, a watershed pinball game that sold a ton of units? Apparently with Grand Lizard, a game whose layout is a copy of Solar Fire, which was in turn a near copy of Black Knight. It may not be fair to compare this game to High Speed, but how can you not? Everything about this game seems lazy: from the copied layout to the simplistic jungle drum soundtrack to the disconnected art package. Python Anghelo, bless his soul, really missed on the backglass design. The playfield art works, and it is a shame the original “matching” backglass wasn’t used in the production run as it gels better with the overall package and is head and shoulders above Mr. Anghelo’s work. The changes in gameplay make Grand Lizard a step above its copied predecessor Solar Fire, however the game pales in comparison to other early System 11 luminaries like High Speed and Pinbot.
5 years ago
Wow I wished I had a chance to play this title back in the day. At first glance I thought it had a multilevel play field. Very deceptive but just a fabulous title. Looks like a green Sorcerer from a distance and plays phenomimially. If you get a chance play or pick up.

The backglass is interesting. It fits the times, but I think it could have been a bit less cheesy, more like Sorcerer.
5 years ago
This pin has some triply art and sound. The game needs some explaining to understand, but its a fun pin.
5 years ago
Great game. Wwwway underrated. It has some tricky ramp shots and wicked fun upper playfield. Like BK it has the magna save, but I love the way GL kicks the ball back into play (if you time it) with the magna save as opposed to just dropping it in the lane.
5 years ago
Have recently upgraded,refurbished,and adjusted my GL to play much faster than before and really having a fun time with it.I think it will be staying for a while.I really enjoy all the sounds and the PF artwork is really good too.It also has some nice shots.I like trying to keep the ball on the upper PF area and bashing the drop targets.The bell is a nice surprise too.
If you get a chance to play or pick up this sometimes hard to find pin,do so,its worth that "just one more game factor."
Have fun!
5 years ago
Fantastic game for the age. Lots of fun aiming for the shots needed. Plan your multiball!
5 years ago
fun and fast, I owned one and would own one again. the jungle sounds are awesome.
5 years ago
Great machine ,fun to play,cool sounds!
Brings you back to 1986.
6 years ago
A blast to play. Love the upper flipper action. Multi-ball can drain in the center way too easy. Too bad I have got so good that none of my friends will play a game with me.
6 years ago
My first, so I may be biased! My three favorite pinball features are magna save, upper flippers, and multiball. This has all three! Game play is fun, there a a couple poorly designed areas (The "D) target gets bashed hard from the side and could use a block of some type to protect it.) The sounds are fun, the lack of voices doesn't seem to bother anyone who has played it.
6 years ago
Great pin from its era . Cool sounds
6 years ago
The sound really makes this game, I love he music and how it builds throughout the game. Fun upper playfield that really plays I to the game, not just a gimmic. Tough to post a high score on, not a huge bonus either. Enjoyed a few runs on it.
6 years ago
Neat layout and design by Oursler. It give you the illusion of an upper playfield without actually having one. The game seems like it's in two pieces and using ramps and the spinner shot to get up to the top (where the real scoring happens) is a neat part of the game.
The sounds are like no other game and, when you first hear those jungle drum beats and baboons, you'll be hooked. It really sucks you in.
I guess it can get tired after a while and it lacks the story-line that many later system 11 games had, but still worth a spot in a larger collection. Very unique.
There are 38 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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