Pinside rating

This game received 32 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 6.792 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #312 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.124

Artwork: 7.093

Sounds/Music: 5.303

Other Aspects: 6.65

Pinside staff rating

None of the staff have rated this game. Sorry, no rating from us.

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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 19 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 19 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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1 year ago
Lightning definitely has the "feel" of a Classic Stern, but plays so much differently from the others that I've played/owned. This is likely due to the split playfield. It is a bit reminiscent of playing Flash Gordon with left and right ramps to the upper level (but different in a lot of other ways). The more I think about it Lightning is a combination of Bally's Flash Gordon (ramps/split playfield), Silverball Mania (horseshoe), and Medusa (in playfield display). If only they could have used in-line drops like Fathom!

The more I understand the rules the more I enjoy playing. Personally I am a fan of drop targets much more so over standups. I would have preferred the use of drop targets as a way of unlocking multi-ball vs. the standups. The horseshoe will whip the ball back at you lightning fast -- this game is appropriately named. The playfield's weakness is/are the two large blue triangle inserts that are almost always warped (and impossible to source to replace). Expect balls to travel unexpected directions when rolling over those. Building your bonuses is a key game strategy and I like the in-playfield bonus meter to mix things up a bit. Fun multi-ball that enables the playfield multiplier.

Playfield artwork is outstanding no so much for its content but for its detail. I like seeing all the colors and variation. Cabinet art is lively and fun but the backglass is not my favorite.

The sounds and speech are definitely spot on for the time period. Nothing like robotic call outs to take you back to the early 80s.

This is a fun playing game but definitely gets broken up between the two playfields. Almost like you are playing two different small games in the same box. This game gets occasional bad reviews probably because some of the other Classic Sterns have a larger fan base and play in a more cohesive way, but Lightning is still worth putting some time on even if just to mix things up a bit.
2 years ago
I bought a non-working Lightning and basically restored it. This game just might be a keeper. The rules are very good for a game designed in 1981. Up to 3 ball multiball. A spinner that lights for 1000 but it's just a single shot, then it must be re-lit by shooting the horseshoe. During MB, shoot the horseshoe to advance the playfield x up to 4x. When you drain back to single ball play the playfield x remains. This means you can light the spinner and rip it for 4k/spin! The bonus meltdown is incredible. I've only ever maxed out the bonus at 99k times 5x once out of hundreds of games. This game is fast and will kick your butt.

The speech is awesome on this game. I believe it has over 30 words in that glorious 1980's robotic voice! "Begin the journey, warrior one"! I find the artwork extremely interesting too.

People who reviewed this game and said that the entire objective of the game is to try to keep the ball on the upper playfield have no idea how to play this game.
2 years ago
The pf and mechanics don't have the 'slick-ness' of a Bally or Williams of the era but the rules and the shots make up for it.
2 years ago
At first, I thought this was very similar to Black Knight. It does have some similarities at first glance, but then I played it a few times and I think it's got a much better rule set. 3 ball multi-ball is HARD to get, as is extra ball. Even advancing the bonus multiplier can be tough. Add in some great shots to master, early voice technology that is not too repetitive and you have a machine that stands up to play after play.
2 years ago
This was my first pin and a great starter, not crazy hard to get into multi ball and the split levels is great.
The ramp shots on mine weren’t that easy but one of the flippers was weak and I didn’t have the know how to repair it at the time.
The play field art was great looking with vibrant colors.
The sounds were pretty poor, but I guess kinda par for the times.
Something that some guys don’t like, but I thought was fun, is that your locked balls stayed locked after you drain.
For non serious players it makes for a fun time stealing the multi ball that your bud just locked up, and seeing how frustrated they get.
3 years ago
I have waited a long time to comment on this pin. It has a beautiful play field and an OK back glass, but that is about it.

We have a Lightning in a local arcade. It is fairly well maintained; I've seen better but it is OK. I cannot get into the double level play field and loathe small flippers. There is not really much to do on this pin except to try and get the ball up to the upper level and keep it there and that is almost impossible to do with the small upper flippers.

I love my other classic Sterns absolutely, but Lighting does not do it for me. If I were to ever to get a chance to buy one cheap I would only buy it as a source of parts for my other Sterns.
4 years ago
Pretty fun game. ReLamp in LEDs and it is way more fun.
Simple rule set but the game is replayable.
4 years ago
Lightning was a game I was really hoping would be better. I first played it at a show and had some fun, but their was beer involved and many other games to get to... Since then, I fell in love with early Sterns and decided I needed this one based on all the hype and my past experience.
I found a more than decent example, but realized quite quickly that this game was lacking.
I like the playfield artwork and cabinet artwork, but that's about it. As most will say, the BG art is bad.
As for the game play, as with most upper-playfields, the object is to stay in the upper and hit stuff. Good luck with those tiny flippers and no way to nudge your way back in play from the right side...
Then the bottom level has little to accomplish, unless you have already dropped the targets up top.
I also don't think it commands as much as people think they are worth. 1k is about the high end on this one. There are many more similar era games that have a higher fun factor.
5 years ago
I really wanted to like "Lightning." I love the art style of the early Sterns and found one of these at a decent price nearby. Alas, I was terribly bored with this game. It was obviously Stern's answer to Williams' "Black Knight." It has the split-level playfield and similar feel (I'm not a huge BK fan either so judge my review accordingly). To me, it feel incredibly gimmicky: there's no reason to have 2 playfields when they technically occupy the exact same space as 1 playfield. It's like having 2 bad playfields instead of 1 good one. Pass.
6 years ago
Lightning is a very nice 80's machine:
- It has a very interesting ruleset.
- It has a great theme.
- It's a multilevel.
- It has speech.
- It has a lot of (drop)targets.
- It has a cool 3-ball multiball.
In all, it has everything that makes early 80's pinball awesome.

Just a little criticism on multiball: that would be cooler if you couldn't instantly relock your balls.
7 years ago
Extremely fast multi-level game. The only break is the drop from the top level into the horseshoe. The rules and the scoring take a little time to get used to. The ball locks are unique in that the balls remain on the playfield until multiball is next achieved. Drop targets are essential to increase your bonus and have to be dropped in order to light specials. Valhalla Time adds a lot to the game with bonus time after your ball drains to try to get multiball started (which will then let you keep playing).
One minor annoyance is that the balls can be immediately relocked effectively ending multiball within seconds of starting it.
I find that it is comparable to Flash Gordon, in that you can have a number of very short games, but it keeps you hooked because that one game where all the bounces work out is so good.
7 years ago
Compared to other games of it's time it's a real stand out. It's hard as nails which is part of its appeal. Very difficuly mutiball. I do love hearing it rattle off the "gods" as you knock down the drops. Bonus time is really something. Solid machine and can be had for relatively cheap when you find one. Great game.
7 years ago
Great game, I love it. Will be looking for more classic Sterns.
8 years ago
Lightning is an incredible game. Mine has a restored and clear coated playfield and plays better than new. It's extremely fast, has great a rule set regarding the drop targets, and an awesome spinner shot. Multiball is hard to get because you have to hit all the stand up targets to start it, which is a plus. Much better than Black Knight with no repetitive drop target siren sounds and easy locks to start multiball. Artwork is incredible, too under an automotive clear coat especially with Odin displayed across the upper playfield. It will be hard to let this one go.
8 years ago
Lightning is a game I was really looking forward to play. I left feeling let down.

The Pros:
This game looks cool! I have no idea what the theme is... but it looks COOL! A wonderfully nipply BG to the rescue! I really like the PF layout and was disappointed by the way the game played. Both PF's are very playable and the ramps feel great. I really liked the fact that the plunge made you judge your pressure carefully or it would land in the saucer or get shot between the upper flippers. When the ball dropped to the PF you didn't know if it would come out the left or the right side of the horseshoe alley.

The Cons:
The targets on the game I played did not seem to register. This meant that multiball was out of reach (I think, I never got it for all the games I played). Good luck finding one if you can!

The Takeaway:
I really wanted to see what this game is all about. I came away just barely liking it and wishing I had a better kept copy to play with. When I get to play another copy (if I can find one!) and get the table running hot. I can see how good this game could be. Will it be better than BK? I don't think so. But I think that if I get on a table that plays as it should I'll find out for sure. Only time and my luck finding another one will tell. When that day comes, I will update the play rating score accordingly.

This game has to be in great shape with strong flippers to play. Build up and carry that bonus throughout your game. Ball one, better be a good one. Think Paragon and other Bally games of the same vintage. The spinner that is lit once and then it goes off reminds me of 9-ball. Lots of drops, a dangerous u-turn on the lower PF and backglass tiddy. It took me years to find a game that plays as it should and I have to admit, I like it now. Find one if you can, rebuild your fleepers and make sure the white rubber set is fresh. 5x bonus means that the bonus when maxed out sounds like a chainsaw. Love it! This is one of those games that when it plays right, it's frikkin' sweet. When it isn't maintained as it should be, no bueno. I may have to keep an eye out for this one in the future... Scores updated accordingly.
8 years ago
Like virtually all the classic Stern machines this plays fast! Having to complete the drops in the right order, ala SeaWitch and other Stern titles, is well executed on this game and spread out with one back up top and two down below with the one in the middle a risky proposition! Achieving multiball is quite a feat, as although ball locks are relatively easy, getting all nine stand up targets is a frustrating challenge and as the locked balls "carryover" it's hard to not do the "one more game" until you do achieve multiball. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for me this is a high point of Stern artwork. Playfield multipliers and bonus multipliers are a must to achieve good scores, without them it can be a low scoring game. The speech is 1981 all the way!
11 years ago
I have to disagree with the comments on the art being fugly. I find the art to be pretty good. The back glass is nice... the playfield is good as well though very busy.
12 years ago
Decent game,fun for a few plays but nothing special. Absolutely horrible looking machine. terrible artwork all the way around. So bad it almost makes Stellar Wars look nice. One or the worst backglass ever. This is one Fugly machine.
14 years ago
A great game that never gets old. It is well named as it is fast.
The small flippers and slings all around add a touch of unpredictability when comparing it to other double level games. The sounds and lights are great and I love that old Stern robotic speech but what makes this game my favourite is the rules.
Extra ball shots move between target banks, it has a bonus time countdown feature and you have to hit all of those stand-ups on both play-fields to start multi-ball. The middle target bank is a sucker shot so you have to bounce the ball onto them from the sides. Once multiball starts hit the superfast central loop to rack up the blue bonus. Make sure all the lamps are working and you have a great game.
I had this game at work for a long time and it has been one of the most popular games and got played every lunch time. The ultimate in terms of rewarding speed and accuracy.
There are 19 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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