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Popeye Saves the Earth

Pinside rating

This game received 145 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.033 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #268 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 6.731

Artwork: 7.681

Sounds/Music: 7.151

Other Aspects: 6.725

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has rated this game.


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Found 90 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 90 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 2 of 4.

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3 years ago
Underrated game that is fairly deep. Family friendly game that is becoming more appreciated as time goes on. Great music and call outs.
3 years ago
"Well, blow me down!" "Oh my gosh'k" this game is good. I took a risk on this one and bought a well worn re-import needing some work because it was half the price of my STTNG and I wanted another family friendly widebody superpin with 6 ball multiball. I quickly got buyer's remorse just like when I bought my first Italian car. Like that car, this game surprised me. I got all the kinks worked out in a couple of hours, kicked the back up to a steep angle, and started playing the game like it was intended to be played. Popeye Saves the Earth is easily the most underrated game in pinball, currently sitting at #250. I agree with an earlier rating on the Colordmd, it's a must along with a complete LED set. The sound is exceptional, the loop is probably the fastest in a superpin, the upper playfield with pinball controlled video mode is extremely challenging. As a matter of fact, it was way too challenging with the factory set up. This is easy to fix by replacing the rubbers on the "save swee-pea" ramp with 1" snips off a large diameter drinking straw. Do it, this cheap mod cures the whole problem of ramp shot "bounce back" and costs nothing.
"Hidden" shots? That's a "Wimpy" complaint.
The "Save the Earth" theme doesn't make sense? What else would we expect Popeye to do if Bluto is
polluting the Earth?
The game software is incredibly deep, much more so than most games in the top 100. Full of toys, up to 6 ball multiball, a video mode that is unsurpassed in challenge and unique in all of pinball, what more could you possibly ask for a pin to do? I challenge you to spend some time with this title, but make sure it's been shopped recently, because if it isn't working right, playability suffers quickly. A machine that's been on location for years without maintenance doesn't deserve a review here. I love Steve Ritchie games and I own four of his designs. However, something had to follow STTNG in production at Williams and this game might not quite clear the bar that games set in 1993, but that doesn't mean that it didn't compete at all. I respectfully think that Mr. Ritchie's rant against this game was unfair to the designers. This game should most definitely have a place in the top 100. Give it a good day's play on a well-maintained machine and see if you agree.
3 years ago
I bought this game without ever even playing it and it has not let me down, I love it. Most of the bad reviews are from people that have not given it a chance or just regurgitate the folklore of the inner workings of Bally and the timing of the release. It's really too bad.

The animations are so great and even funny. Color DMD is a must. It has a fairly deep rule set, but it's not difficult to understand after a handful of games. Basically, give it more tries than a game or two. The modes are achievable, like Indiana Jones, which makes it fun.

The BS about the upper playfield blocking the roll overs is a joke. I find them more visible than Fish Tales for instance.

For those considering buying the game... The design of the mechanisms is nothing short of brilliant. Very easy to maintain and clean. The upper playfield is on a hinge system. Notes should have been taken for many other designers/machines of that era.

Give this game a try. Very underrated and fun!
3 years ago
fun and deep.
3 years ago
Very underrated, i don't understand why Popeye is not in the top 100. Very unique and fun, deep rules, i think is important to have it at home to realy appreciate. Beautiful machine.
3 years ago
The whole boat thing is a mystery to me. I found this game frustrating and not in a good way.
3 years ago
It has weird playfield layout but with awesome playfield art. The bigest fail of design is that most of shots are blind and you are trying to hit something under upper playfield.

Im not fan of Popeye, but I like arcade themes, so its ok. Deep ruleset could be interesting for home playing, but afterall its for sure weakest table from Widebody/Superpin series.
3 years ago
Popeye Saves the Earth suffers from trying too hard to make the theme playable. While the nautical theme is implemented with impressing results, the shots are wild, odd, and momentum is nearly impossible to maintain. The toys and design are fun, but Popeye is so easy to walk away from it won't ever make my wishlist.
3 years ago
Learn the rules! It's a Fun game!
4 years ago
Well, it's difficult to rate this machine, as it is quite "unique"... In addition, the game I play is in a bar, and it's in poor condition.

At first, it make me think of a 90's machine that played and looked like a 60's or 70's pin. Some kind of "neo-retro" stuff. It's huge, slow-paced, the slingshots are weirdly placed (no post pass possible here), but it has a certain... charm about it. The cartoon theme is nice, the sound and DMD animations are very funny... Plus, I'm having good times competing with the bar's owner for the Grand Champion title. But if I had to buy it, it definitely wouldn't be on my wish list.

PS: I had a great read about this machine's history on the forum: Very interesting topic !
4 years ago
We just did a full restore on a Popeye. We added electric blue legs with black cabinet protectors and the game just shines. The back glass is way ahead of it's time, almost as if it had been waiting for LED's. The theme of saving the earth speaks to todays culture. It is a family friendly pinball with a green message. The play has lots going on. The biggest issue for me is that the upper playfield obscures too much. The pinball lends itself to restoration as well as any pinball. It has it share of unique features and is durable. A good family pinball at a reasonable price point.
4 years ago
This was my wife's choice and our first pin. I'm six foot tall and can see the bottom floor of the upper play field without a problem. She cannot. I find the idea of popeye saving the earth weird but the designers did a good job with the theme implementation. The game will look much better with colored LEDs (haven't done yet). Popeye has 3, 4, and 6 ball multi-ball. 6 ball multi-ball is difficult to get where as you can get 3 ball multi-ball like every time. The rule set is what makes this game a delight. You can save the animals, go for the round house loops, skill wheel, escalator award, pop and eye targets, find Swea' Pea, sea hag multi-ball, bluto multi-ball, six ball multi-ball, fight the bluto cartel, stampede mode, super jackpot, and more.

I found Olive annoying in the popeye cartoon so there is not a natural fan love for the machine. My wife loves it. I do not know the full rule sets of Jurassic Park and Terminator 3 but played at the Pizza West in KC. The popeye game play is better than Jurassic Park and not as good as Terminator 3.
4 years ago
Popeye is a wide body pin with a solid family theme. I owned one when my kids were young and we played the game a lot. Theme is better than many games ranked ahead of it...although serious tournament players may never admit it. A good game for a family game room, maybe next to a foosball table.
4 years ago
A game that people love to hate...we really enjoy playing it. I think people are overly hard on this game. It has a unique layout that is actually pretty fun to shoot and the rules are outstanding. Combined with a winning theme, it's looking like a keeper at this point.
5 years ago
I read so many reviews about this game and glad I did not listen. I am with some of the guys that are recently catching onto this title and give it positive comments. The only good thing about the negative comments is that I was able to get one at a reasonable price. What a fun game - animations are awesome, and really look forward to installing a color DMD into this one as it will fit the theme as Simpsons does with the DMD - cartoon theme. Don't let those comments about the upper play field steer you away from this one ... it is ABSOLUTELY NOT as bad as some say it is, and doesn't even come into play as a complaint of mine at all ... I mean there is a window you can see the roll over lanes just fine, and the upper play field covers the pop bumpers - so what. I love the play on the upper play field, very cool and challenging. I also like the rules, and so much more to this then just collecting the animals. Do folks even care to give this title a change?!

I was just trying to figure out what I would change in this game looking at the negative reviews. The upper play field is a cool idea, and wouldn't change this. Honestly, the left blue ramp is more annoying and wish they would of made this transparent/blue so you can at least so the play field through it. Wish there were more call outs, but once you get to play the game it's pretty obvious so not a huge deal there.

If you're looking for something as a cartoon theme and grew up watching popeye, you really cannot go wrong. I've paid more money for the newer sterns like TRON and AVATAR LE and I hate to say this but Popeye blows them away :-)
5 years ago
Totally under rated pin in my opinion. Finally got my hands on one and I love it. Art, sounds and gameplay are neat. Find swea pee is a nice feature. Loop shots are pretty satisfying. I might upgrade to a colordmd.
5 years ago
I LOVE THIS GAME. Deeper rule set, fun call outs, animations, toys. This game is amazing!

This game really snuck up on me...and I LOVE IT! I had heard a few things about it, none really good. Then played it briefly at the Asheville Pin Museum. Didn't really make a big impression on me there. I think there were some flipper issues with that one. Also game lighting wasn't stellar there.

Then I had the chance to play it again a few months later at a league night. And it really made an impression on me. Fast forward a little and Color DMD put out the rom for the game. I took another look at it, the rules the toys, the full package and WOW.

A lot of people say it's hard to see the shots on this machine. I KINDA see where they could be coming from but I find the shots to be very intuitive. This game is just plain FUN FUN FUN! Give it a second or third look. You'll be surprised.
5 years ago
This is a fun machine that has a few things that hold it back from being top tier. While a bit odd, the saving the planet theme really isn't too much of a stretch for Popeye. The hand drawn art on the cabinet and playfield is good. As with many Python games, there are lots of little humorous details that can be found upon closer inspection. I like the integration different characters like Popeye, Bluto, Olive, and Wimpy in the artwork and call outs. The music is decent during the main game and during the multi-ball. However, the somber tunes that play during modes are a little lackluster. There is a ton of content in the dots and the DMD animations are great overall.

The game is fairly deep and there are a handful of tasks and modes that have to be completed to get to the very satisfying 6 ball "Save Olive" wizard mode. The loop shots are fun and the game offers several multi-ball modes to work for. On the negative side, the upper playfield takes up a bunch of valuable playfield space and would have really benefited from some other shots or drop targets to hit. The skillshot wheel is an interesting idea, but a bit too easy to get exactly what you want every time once you learn it. There are some visibility issues since the upper playfield partially obscures the pop bumpers and the animal ramp partially covers the left outlane.

Overall, Popeye is an enjoyable game that's much more fun than many ratings I've read would suggest. I grew up with Popeye cartoons, which makes the overall package more appealing to me. Popeye is a game that has flaws, but it features a deep ruleset, good callouts, lots of interesting shots, and great DMD animations.
5 years ago
Not a bad game for the price, but could have been so much more. Excellent theme, but the biggest knock IMO is it should have been a standard body game. I actually like the upper playfield and don't mind the fact it someone obscures the shots on the main playfield. I just found the shots unsatisfying and ball times on the longer side.
5 years ago
Why under rated game. Yes, it is strange. But there is a lot to do with great modes and animations.
5 years ago

- Deep ruleset with tons of cool modes to activate.
- Great DMD animations.
- Wizard mode is difficult, you have to work for your awards!

- Well, blow me down! A widebody that has less playfield space than Safecracker!
- Find Swe'Pea could be the most difficult mode in pinball.
- Lock shot doesn't register most of the time + must be designed by someone 4 feet old because of size
- Rules are way too subtle for many pinball players to understand.
- Put your finger in the skill shot wheel to lose it!
5 years ago
Now that I've owned a nice quality Popeye, I now know enough about this underrated pin to give a fair rating.

The good:
1. Completing all the 3, 4, & 5 ball multi-balls & modes and getting to Olive Oyle's 6 ball multi-ball is nearly impossible and keeps me coming back for more. Popeye is getting more play time than my TZ lately. The upper playfield Swee' Pea mode is frickin' brutal, but super fun. Ball must be shot in either left, middle, or right lanes on the upper playfield. Swee' Pea is hidden in one of the rooms and the map to find him is displayed on the DMD. Follow the arrows on the DMD and save Swee' Pea. Incredible use of video and flipper integration.
2. The skill shot wheel is brilliant and allows the freedom to control the direction of the game. I love collecting the spinach can and hitting the loop shot right after to collect both the spinach can and spot an animal. This is a cool hidden feature.
3. Spinach cans are awesome because when lit throughout the playfield, gives player double the award on that particular shot. A quick way to earn high points is to get two spinach cans lit, obtain the 3-ball Bluto multi-ball, and sink the jackpot on the left ramp for double points (normal jackpot 30 Million--with spinach can lit jackpot is 60 million AWESOME!)
4. Animal kicker is a great! I'm surprised because at first, I did't care for it. Now that I really understand the importance of the animals (not only to the story, but balancing gameplay to reaching high scores), the blue ramp is an essential toy.
5. The theme is a bit of a risk, but I'm glad Python took it & created an original deep story around saving animals and the earth and putting an end to Corperate Bluto! Python was all about creating original content and he did an awesome job here. I'm sure all pin designers were getting pressured from the "money men" to create pins around "popular" licenses. Python did a wonderful job creatively under the license options that were available.
6. Extra ball shot on the (right) upper playfield is one of the best shots I've ever discovered in pinball. Get it for an instant knock--Brilliant!

The bad:
1. Upper playfield and animal ramp block the player's view on several key shots. This is not a game breaker for me, but can be frustrating while trying to nudge a ball away from left outlane. This is the big public complaint about Popeye, but I don't find the animal ramp obscuring the outlane any worse than STNG's cannons...funny!
2. Shots and awards are not called out regularly. Now that I understand the modes and rules, callouts are not all that necessary. I can understand why Popeye can be frustrating to a player unfamiliar with the ruleset. If you listen carefully, a ding or sound effect will alert the player to the newly achieved award or shot, but there' snot enough attention brought to the awards as compared to other 1990's high-mode pins.

There you have it! Popeye is great and I am really enjoying it. I will be posting a Popeye gameplay video and tutorial as soon as I can wrap my head around a few more strategies. If you see Popeye in the wild, give it a flip!
5 years ago
This is a very hard pinball machine because there is missing shoot again option when you start playing the ball and the final mode is also very difficult to reach but you have many posibilities to get "easy" extra balls in the elevator / replay / left ramp so it balances the difficulty. I think that the worst part of the pinball is a left animal game. It is not very nice but I can accept it because other game parts are really excellent! I loved this machine when I saw it first time. The light playfield is very nice and the design of the cabinet is excellent! The upper playfield is also great part and the wheel is a very good idea for a skill shot. You can also shoot the wheel from the upper plafield. I think that it is better option than play Swee Pie mission for ONLY 50 mil. At the end I would like to tell you: "If you have any possibility to buy thiis machine - DO IT! It is very funny and you will like it very much when you learn the rules." I like it with another games still more and more!
5 years ago
Disappointed. This game plays slow, the angles are poorly conceived... I wanted to like this.
5 years ago
Really enjoyed this game, wish I bought it when I had the chance. Theme is odd at best...when was popeye saving animals? Really liked the layout of the playfield...upper playfield was pretty cool. Rules weren't crazy deep, but enough to come back for more.
There are 90 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 2 of 4.

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