Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle

Pinside rating

This game received 185 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.329 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #41 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.953

Artwork: 8.919

Sounds/Music: 8.294

Other Aspects: 8.138

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 5 of us have rated this game.


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Found 75 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 75 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 3 of 3.

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2 years ago
Pros: sound package, artwork... very immersive.
Cons: PF illumination, tight shots, some reliability issues.
2 years ago
I was a little hesitant about this table because I am not a huge fan of Alice Cooper. However, I played ACNC at Lyons Pinball and I kept coming back to it over any other table. In fact, I liked it so much that I have one on order. Lots of interesting and unique shots, rules and features. When was the last time you saw a machine without pop bumpers? Overall the theme is tightly integrated with amazing art and sound and the shot difficulty will keep me interested for a long time. Highly recommended!
2 years ago
I played this game a few times at different shows so I knew I wanted it. I have only had my game for a few weeks but so far this game does not disappoint. I love the layout and shots, yes they can be tight but once you get a feel for them they work real nice. The theme really works for me, I love how the game is calm while your going through the rooms and looking for monsters and then once you get to a monster the machine comes alive with the music and lighting it is awesome!! Spooky hit this one out of the park, it is a nice change from my Stern line up that can get a little repetitive. Highly recommend
2 years ago
This is a really fun game. I thought I was going to regret waiting in line at Pinfest to play it, but it did not disappointed. The shots are very tight and it can get a little frustrating, but I like the challenge. The art on all aspects of this game is beautiful - playfield, cabinet, translite. The toys are awesome. There are plenty of shots to hit (if you can nail them perfectly). A theme I really had doubts about works well - I wouldn't be sad to have one of these someday, but hopefully I can convince a friend to get one so that I can focus on other must-have games.
2 years ago
After about 30 plays, I've decided that I love this game. The shots can be challenging, but in a good way; it keeps you coming back. The game play is very unique and the art and animation are fantastic. However, the quality is bad and there are more bugs than a rain forrest.
2 years ago
Fantastic art, animation, sounds and lighting. Butter cabinet looks amazing. Rules are very fun, a little bit different, and quite enjoyable. Shots can be difficult to make. When you do hit the shots it is very fun. Game rewards precise accuracy.
2 years ago
After 18 months of ownership..
- One of the best if not the best upper playfields in pinball.
- Bullet proof playfield! Not a noticeable dimple after 18 months and over a thousand games! Best in the industry.
- Best sound system in pinball!
- Phenomenal art package!!
- Gorgeous hand drawn animations.
- A Real high quality back glass rather than a cheap translite! Beautiful!!
- Fantastic sound FX and songs are perfect for game!
- Alice call outs are good and varied!
- Modes are all very different and all good! Vampire is still my fav!
- Good light show. But I highly recommend lighted speakers/eyeball grills and 'Medisinyl Mods' RGB Crypt and Volcano and art blades!
- Awesome world under glass and easily the best haunted themed pinball of all time IMO!
- Theme integrations is great!
- Co-op mode is super fun and every game should have this!
- Spooky has great customer service!

- Shots are too tight for the average player. This is an advanced players machine PERIOD! I could never dial in the right orbit and ramp shots! After 18 months I gave up and sold it. But it is still in my top favorites of all time and collectors should grab this one!
2 years ago
I've now had the chance to put a lot of plays on this at shows, location, and now home use. This is a great game. It is a unique game. And it is a beautiful game. First, let's get the beautiful part out of the way. The art package is amazing, especially in person. Pictures just do not do this pin justice. The colors and art just pop in person and you will swear that the backglass is 3D. Second, the animations are perfect. The comic book, animated panel type art just works for this game. The amount of detail and humor and creepiness is perfect. Lights and sounds...c'mon it is Spooky and Danesi. The original music for the game is great on its own, plus you get the signature Alice Cooper songs during modes. I was not even very familiar with his work before this game and now I am a fan. The sounds are great and go from rattling chains, door slams, screams, and electric surges. The speaker system is fantastic. At volume level 2, it rocks my basement and shakes the room with bass. Does this game have toys? Some point just to the Frankenstein monster toy, but I would count the entire upper playfield with its 7 shots, guillotine mech, Monster lock mech, Danesi lock, and the super cool magnet save below the flippers as well. Ok, now to talk about shots and layout. Shots are tighter than most games. After about 3 games the first time I played it at a show, I had them down. Even though a lot of shots will hit posts, it is fairly easy to recover and try again. This is a shooter's game, but eventually you can get some flow going with 3 and 4 way combos pretty common. My 12 and 14 year olds are hitting shots without complaint. The layout is pretty great in that it is a fan layout, but uniquely so. The usual fan shots are put in different trajectories. Some easier to hit from both flippers, and some not so much. Really makes you think about your gameplay. Plus there is an inner and outer orbit shot that is pretty exciting as it disappears and reappears from under the castle. Oh yeah, there is a huge castle on the game. It really adds to the whole theme and style. I like the mixed use of scoops (3), orbits (4), standups (5), Ramps (2)and Danesi lock (1). But, the best thing about this game is the code and gameplay. Bowen's first effort as rules designer along with Fawzma, Charlie, and Scott Danesi really shows originality. Each monster has its own unique set of rules, some which I've never seen in pinball. I like that you have to try to "hide the ball" from the Pit creature by hitting shots that make it disappear from view (like in a scoop or under the castle). Then it counts down a timer for the amount of time it is hidden from view. So cool! Plus there are other little things like getting points for stretching the guy on the rack in the Dungeon. I hope that as code progresses, each room has a little mini-game in itself like the dungeon. The music and art are woven seamlessly into the code as well as little things like having the drop targets up or down to help with a mode. Oh, yeah, there are three mutliballs (Frank, crypt, and Cold Ethtyl) that can be stacked. This game just screams personality. This is not a shoot the flashing shot game at all. Plus with full rgb, the inserts will light depending on what they are for at any time...and the lightshow is great and integrated into the speaker lights as well. I guess the main reason I am giving this such a rave review is that it is a breath of fresh air for pinball. This game is not anything like what else is out there. It is unique and trying new things with layout, music, lights, animations, and code. Definitely give this game a try.
2 years ago
After playing this at TPF this is at the top of my want list.

Edit: I now own this machine so I’ll update this when I get a little time. Love the machine.
2 years ago
So far this is the best game of 2019; if you want a challenge then this is the game for you and offers a great upper playfield
2 years ago
I played three games, poorly, at TPF 2019, and observed several great games. There were long lines for the three machines at the event, and many tournament level players were lining up to play. I love the theme and the comic-book style animations that take you on a journey through multiple castle rooms to slay 10 monsters. The castle sculptures are interesting, though not particularly integrated into the modes, expect for the Frankenstein-type monster who hides behind a castle wall. Also one of the ball locks visibly holds the ball in a castle "window" which is cool. There are opportunities to vastly inflate point values, such as finishing modes and using the bonus time wisely. There are some modes in which you need to avoid certain shots (colored red) to escape penalties. I found this game to be a 9 on the difficulty scale because all of the ramp, loop and lock entrances are about 2/3rds of the way up the playfield, so lining up and aiming a successful shot is not easy for the casual player (Bowen Kerins rarely missed in his tutorial, but did miss a few times). Although I have figured out and do well with the hard shots on Houdini, and on BSD, I really struggled with this, as did other non-tourney players I watched. But would I like to own it? Yes! Retail seems to be about the mid-$6000s for the base version, so it ain't cheap. Note for non-AC fans -- there is spooky instrumental music playing most of the time. The Alice songs only seem to play during monster-battle modes. Also, the call-outs from Alice are fairly weak in terms of vocal tone (he has a smooth, mellow talking voice). Nothing like the wicked voice of doom calls of Iron Maiden, which I love.
2 years ago
This is a fantastic game! Artwork, music, call outs, and playfield are all excellent. Gameplay is fast and fun. Upper playfield castle looks great and has a lot of great shots. Gotta love a guillotine! If you're a pinball fan you'll get a kick out of it. If you're a pinball fan and an Alice Cooper fan you'll never want to stop playing!
2 years ago
awesome and fun game ! Hit this one out of the park Spooky !!!!
2 years ago
Time to battle some monsters.
2 years ago
Played three games on location. I should disclose that I'm not a huge AC fan, but I can appreciate the castle/haunted theme they're going for here on this machine. I probably should've studied the rules a bit more before playing because it wasn't really clear to me what I had to do get the ball up onto the upper playfield, what I was trying to do once I did get it up there, and how to properly progress through the 'castle'. The general idea of what to do is there, but this game doesn't hold your hand like some of the JJP games have possibly spoiled me with.

Music-themed pinball machines are normally something I steer away from, but I do like how this game appears to be more than just play thru AC's most well-known songs as modes. Here the music suits the theme/mood they're trying to capture.

I'm not sure I'm into the toys on this game. The little Frankenstein toy only goes up and down and appears to be nothing more than one of those goofy haired troll toys you buy in Walmart. It just looks tacked on. Other than that, what toys are on here? I like the fact that a Spooky game finally has some ramps, but I still get that feeling that I'm playing a game that's been developed on a tight budget. For my tastes, Spooky still has a lot of catching up to do in pinball innovation. There is no 'Danesi lock' innovation on this game. It just feels they're trying to capitalize on a theme to get excitement.

For me, some of the shots are just too tight for my tastes and I found myself hitting more static rubber posts than anything good. And the ramp off the upper playfield flipper is pretty steep to hit properly. I would've preferred an upper playfield loop that I can get going and going, over and over for big points. I like games with more flow. If you like bricking 80% of your shots, then play this game.

The last machine I played that had shots this tight was Houdini. The shots on the left were the most difficult to hit on a regular basis. I found it difficult to get into a rhythm as I'm used to playing Williams machines that have much more flow. I tend to prefer games where I tend to get something for every flip no matter how bad the shot...even if the shot results in a bad ricochet down the middle.

I like the AC callouts, just wish his callouts were more specifically related to my gameplay rather than sounding so generic.
2 years ago
Put a few games in on this and it was a lot of fun. The upper Playfield has a lot of fun shots. The rules are good but could use some polishing which I am sure will happen with code updates. Great game!
2 years ago
If you like Alice Cooper then this might be the machine for you.
2 years ago
This is the best offering I have seen from Spooky so far. I like this layout better than AMH!

The Pros:
A solid layout and help from a world pinball champion to make their rules more balanced and tuned. The toys and plastic moldings on this game are better laid out and make for a fun environment. Better than the graveyard on BSD. For real. The PF shots are narrow, but never felt like they were un-makeable. The upper Pf may be the best I have seen since TSPP. The artwork, animations and music are meshed together with finesse and are polished to a fine collaboration. The amount of custom callouts that AC did for this game is just silly. AWESOME!

The Cons:
QC still seems to be the most inconsistent thing about Spooky's games. This is not to say that other manufacturers don't have these issues, they do. But Charlie and Co. seem to be caught in that intermediate rut. After seeing their factory, I am under the belief that things are only going to get better for them. After a number of plays, the ball got lost from the upper PF to the lower.

The Takeaway:
Spooky is getting much better. They still need to get their build quality down pat. But when they do... watch out! I am now going to have to become more familiar with Alice's catalog... Spooky keeps moving forward. YES! I will review this game once I get more miles on it.

This game has not aged well, regardless of rule updates, the playfield on this game is just too tight on the main level. I really like the upper PF, it is very creative and is a lot of fun to play. The ball does not stay up there long, but that's fine for an upper playfield. The lower playfield is filled with shots that are 1-1/2 inches wide. Think Houdini, but with more shots. I believe there are more software updates on the way, but the last time I played it, you could start a mode on ball one and end your game with the same mode. Hit that one shot... brick. Hit that one shot again, brick. I guess I really have to work on my aim.

I absolutely adore the comic-book page-turning theme with the video screen. It is perfect for this game. The modes can be interesting and the "paths" that the player takes through the modes remind me of playing Wizardry on an Apple ii. This game looks great, sounds fantastic and is true to the theme of Alice Cooper. I just wish that it played better...

Scores reduced accordingly.
3 years ago
UPDATE: I’m forced to downgrade my review a bit due to the ongoing issues with this game’s playfield. Almost every time I attempt to play (BTW I’m not an owner), the machine is sitting empty mid-game because the ball is lost or stuck between the upper playfield and the left ramp (or somewhere else under the upper playfield (it happened yet again last night). I cannot get a completed play session on this game... ever. How could Spooky be so remiss about these design flaws? What’s more confounding is a brief visit to the pinside forums don’t seem to address this. I was seriously interested in buying this pin when it was announced. But now I’m very happy that I didn’t. I am hoping to somehow get some serious play in on another copy of this game to find out whether these issues are common or isolated, and (ideally) finally get to enjoy some complete sessions with this game.


Finally spent some time on this machine after much anticipation. Didn't get off to a good start: in the middle of my first game, the ball somehow got lost in the cabinet, thereby abruptly ending my first game and my first session with the game right before leaving the country for a week... GREAT!. The second time I played it, the ball got stuck in the upper playfield and I couldn't dislodge it without seriously rocking the game, which resulted in the playfield becoming un-level. WTF Spooky? I played a half dozen more games anyway.

I'm only a casual AC fan, but I love the theme, design, aesthetic, playfield and the overall gameplay a lot. There are definitely some dead shots that effect ball flow and gameplay. But the software and display animations are so engaging it helps facilitate a more pleasurable gameplay experience than most other pins. When a new play mode is initiated, you immediately and easily learn what's going on and what to do, unlike the cryptic nature of most other pins. Nice planning Spooky. But then it is challenging as hell to do what you need to do because if the tightness and slightly skewed angles of so many of the shots... again: nice design Spooky. The more I played it, the more I wanted to play it. I am still considering buying this machine sometime. But the mechanical issues give me pause and Alice's callouts are slighty mechanical and lackluster as well. This I don't get at all because Alice has been performing for what: forty freakin' years (?) and is a master showman. These callouts should be filled with character, emphasis and drama. It doesn't really hamper gameplay in any way. But it sure would have added to the fun if he had went with the emphatic when recording the call-outs and/or added his sinister twists to them.

This pin feels like it was meticulously designed but then rushed through development and manufacturing to get it to market. But despite the flaws, there is a LOT more that is right than wrong with this pin and I plan on playing this pin as much as I can because it is fun to play in a challenging way but also because it is so freakin' cool.
3 years ago
ACNC is Spookys most aesthetically pleasing game yet, great animations (love the comic style art), toys etc, on the level of any new release today. First impressions of gameplay on location initially were not as positive. The shot layout took some getting used to but it comes together - updating my rating this year with new code and time in home enviro. Ive had time to dial in shots and to really appreciate the sounds - incredible. Adjusted rating vs first impression accordingly - much better than prior experience and pleased I was wrong about this game.
3 years ago
Game is fantastic. Orbits are tight but the other shots are pretty easy to make. Modes are very good and the lighting is first rate. The music and sounds are fantastic as well. Animations in the game were very well done. A keeper for those of us that like music pins...
3 years ago
I'm going to hold off on detailed commentary until I get in many more games in the future, and allow this game to go code final. Thus I will not rate the code or LCD integration whatsoever. In moderns, that's a big part of the experience.

I played it 3x at Golden State Pinball Festival, and watched people play for about an hour -- and my conclusions were:

If you match the venn diagram of:

1. Code explorer (versus a whitewood/physics player)
2. Alice Cooper fan
3. Modern Fan layout fan
4. People that like green with purple
5. You don't mind obfuscation (aka Creature) -- you don't get to watch any ball movement in the upper 1/3 of the playfield. It is all hidden.

Then this is the game is A++ for you. Since I am none of those things, this isn't the game for me. I am ranking it in my ratings in correlation with other Spooky titles... I would put RZ ahead of this title. I like the "Shell game", humor, and multiball action of RZ much better -- it is closer to a Black Hole/Centaur kind of feel which is more my style.

In short I learned this from playing ACNC (and other moderns):

1. Upper playfields are hard to design -- so why do we keep seeing them?
2. What happens when you brick a shot -- is really important to a game (this is why my favorite early 80's games have banks of targets, preferably drops on the lower PF) -- so that when you miss -- something random and hopefully fun still happens.
3. Don't ever put a post in the very middle of a playfield. It is the last thing in the world I want to shoot right in the middle -- other than a bash toy.
4. I miss banks of drop targets... why did the 70's/80's have to end?

Instant Pros on the take-away:

* Incredible code is coming (for code explorers) and people who like to "See what the programmer came up with" -- will love this pin.
* Gorgeous cab and BG (too bad you can't play those)
* Very beautiful sculptures (too bad you can't play those either)
* Flippers and inlanes are super smooth
* Spinner rip on left is really cool
* Alice Cooper callouts I think will be a positive and add well to the theme choreography.

What I did not see:
The guillotine in action... look forward to that.

What I did see:
Most people had about a 1.5 second ball time on the upper playfield (oh my...)
3 years ago
After owning this game for a month and putting it out at Horrorhouse Fest I have found myself more and more in love with this game. It's like Charlie combined Castle Grayskull with Fireball Island, and then added in Alice Cooper to make it a true shockfest of a table. But in all reality this game is by far the most feature packed game I've seen in 2018, and that is in comparison to some major releases from Stern and Jersey Jack! I love the ramps, the intricate plastics littered all over the place, the crazy corkscrew wireframe ramp, the frankenstein toy, the guillotine, and the list goes on and on. Sure I'm a bit biased overall since Spooky are friends and supporters of my kooky company, but dang, this very well may be the best game of 2018 and for sure the very best game Spooky has released to date!

Oh and for those wondering, it is not really a music themed game. It's more of a game with a music soundtrack buried within a score. The modes all trigger different things... sometimes songs by Alice Cooper, sometimes off the wall songs by I have no idea. It works and it works surprisingly well! Oh and they threw in "Brutal Planet"!! That was the haunted house I used to work at that I met Alice Cooper at. So friggin crazy. This will be a game I keep for many years (unless pinball ruins me and I have to unwillingly let go of it).
There are 75 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 3 of 3.

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