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Torpedo Alley

Pinside rating

This game received 29 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.502 /10

7.502

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #165 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.542

Artwork: 6.954

Sounds/Music: 7.748

Other Aspects: 7.55



Pinside staff rating

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

6.8

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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.
Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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9.639/10
45 days ago
I have owned this machine for 3 months and absolutely love it. Its deceptively simple rules are very addictive... and keep you coming back for more. The load torpedo 2 jackpot shot is particularly rewarding and is accompanied by a great light show and full stereo sound score. I doubt this game will ever leave my collection it is just pure fun on every level a very underrated game. The back glass has a cool 3D effect and is very 80's , gotta love the surprised look on the female sailors faces.
8.620/10
3 months ago
I'm going to be controversial here and state this is the best Data East game I have owned so far!

Cabinet: Artwork is sharp and fits the theme, colors pop.

Backglass: The two layer backglass is mechanically well done and the cheese in the art bothers me not. What does bother me is the fact you are clearly on a submarine (note periscope) and it has.. huge picture windows.

Playfield art: One of Data East better art playfield efforts which I have noted in this time period tend to be fairly good. Once you hit Jurassic Park & LW3 1992+ era the art looks like it was scribbled by a 5 year old and that might be doing disservice to most 5 year old's. Like Secret Service and Time Machine subtle humor sprinkled throughout.

Playfield layout and gameplay: Personally I like it! There is a lot going on here and a lot to do should you so be inclined yet does not feel claustrophobic. Several different stratagies can be utilized, I tend to work on locking the balls for multi-ball mayhem and making the fleet shot when the opportunity arises. Speaking of the fleet shot, the left hand orbit to the right flipper was a total surprise the first time I made it, well done DE.

Light, animations and sound: Outstanding. One of DE best efforts, right up there with Time Machine which for me is the gold standard of DE games. Someone mentioned 8 different sound tracks! Fantastic! Various modes have their own themes so I don't even have to watch display or inserts to know what to key in on. Multi-ball is a riot when you make it, klaxons blaring, flashers going crazy just awesome. Make sure you are fully led'd and enjoy the show, your GI connectors will thank you. Animations on the displays excellent, DE made good use of the tech of the time.

Negatives: Mostly stuff related to 30+ year old machines. Broken mountain plastics are always an issue, look close at the 9 pin GI connector at the PPB and where the backbox hinge connectors are. Pitch all the incandescent bulbs at once and your connectors will have a long happy life. DE doesn't suffer from ghosting issues so any brand of LED should do. Use the "red" spring for the shooter so the ball will make it up the ramp and into the upper lanes, it has a long way to go!

Not sure why DE only sold a little over 1000 of these pins, it is a very fun title!
7.369/10
4 months ago
Last night I played a Torpedo Alley that was out on location. At first glance, the translite looks like something out of an Andy Sidaris movie. Obviously one of many examples of hokey artwork from the late 80s.

Gameplay-wise, I was drawn to the interesting shots in the upper left and right corners of the playfield. The game feels centered around getting the ball to the upper lanes and into the pops. There is also a 3rd flipper that will assist in the process. I actually really like this layout. Then it occured to me right before I started this review that its actually a copy of Blackout. Sure enough it's the same designer Claude Fernandez.

This pin actually feels different enough in that there are some wire form ramps added, as well as the 3rd flipper, but not much else has changed. This was a routed example so it didnt feel like I was getting the most out it. I imagine a much nicer example would have different results. Stock lighting isnt the best, so it was hard to see the ball at times.

I think this one is interesting enough to stand on it's own and the submarine theme works. The sounds and music are pretty cool but the translite kinda takes away from it all. It's not a bad thing but I think if this pin had more serious artwork, mainly on the translite, I think it would produce a more complete experience.
8.803/10
8 months ago
Awesome light show & David Thiel sound ... my personal favorite data east game
7.400/10
1 year ago
Unusual layout and cool inset 3D artwork in playfield. But shots get repetitive quickly.
7.107/10
2 years ago
A simple but fun game. Interesting layout with a great soundtrack and sound separation with those superb Data East speakers. Art isn’t the best on the cab or pf but it isn’t terrible. Hate the translate but like the 3D effect. Simple, but unique and cool. Same goes with the binoculars on the pf. Wish there were more made so I had a chance at getting one.
8.994/10
2 years ago
I really enjoy this game, and if you get a chance to play or pick one up- do it! Torpedo Alley should really be more popular than it is. With only 1002 copies made, there probably are not to many left out there. The stereo sound package is excellent for a game of this era. The gameplay is a bit addicting to me, and relatively simple to learn. Sinking the fleet in the allotted amount of time can be a tricky task, and hitting the right torpedo tube is also somewhat difficult. This game tends to produce airballs off the blue targets, so adding a lexan protector on top of them is a good idea (cut down 90% of them on mine). Most of these games have smashed up mountains from all the airballs. Sinking the fleet has a pretty rewarding light show to go along with it. This game is begging to have a shaker motor installed it for the various torpedo hits. Overall, I do not see myself giving up this game up any time soon.
8.300/10
2 years ago
I just finished restoring this game and was surprised to see how fun its unique layout is. Sound is amazing for the era of the game. Playfield is very nice. Translite is among the worst ever (maybe sooooo bad that its actually good. As another reviewer pointed out the game has to be in top shape to truly enjoy it. a couple cons to the game- the plunger ramp shot is difficult to align properly. Also the game doesnt like LEDs. lots of ghosting even with non-ghosting bulbs. they work great in the GI.
6.993/10
3 years ago
I love the cheezy 80s look to this game. It has a great campiness to it. I don't love how unforgiving it is and how easy it is to drain the ball. I played it at the arcade for a little while. It was fun but very difficult (probably because of my lack of skill). I might play it again if I see it in a bar or arcade somewhere but I couldn't see myself wanting to own it or spend a significant amount of time playing it.
9.280/10
3 years ago
If this game had been made a few years later, Data East would have licensed the movie "Down Periscope" and it would be absolutely perfect. With that in mind, after playing multiple dozens (maybe even beyond 100+) of titles in the past 3 years, I can honestly say Torpedo Alley is my biggest surprise hit, stupid-grin fun discovery... I liked it so much I had to have one. Why?

Let's address the battleship in the room first: that backglass - you either love it or hate it. Personally I adore the ridiculous campiness of it - like a porn shoot for pinball, in the best lighthearted way. If you get past the costumes there are some clever bits in the art, like a space shuttle on an aircraft carrier (what?!) in addition to sea life and hapless dudes on a raft in the battlefield. (Again, think "Down Periscope" long before the movie was filmed, and it the overall execution of the theme starts to make sense). Add a unique layered translite 3-D effect, and displays integrated to the con, and you objectively have a well-done image.

While I'm on the art subject, the rest of the cab is beautiful: nautical blue with sharp red white and red trim, featuring the clever TA bobcat logotype and a smart sailor in uniform in front of an anchor - really well done. The playfield is fun to take in with different boats (easter egg names), sharks, refugees, 80s-futuristic aircraft, and a near-field perspective of the captain taking it in through binoculars: a clever and colorful hand-drawn original.

Maybe someday an alt translite will be available for those who can't stand the cheese, but I think it's perfect as is because it's goofy fun - and the gameplay is also just too much goofy fun!

It's not super deep: you essentially have 3 target banks representing ships to attack. Complete each bank to sink each ship, increase your bonus, wash rinse repeat. However the interest is upped by attempting to increase lucrative multipliers via the rollovers, cash in bonuses via the drop bank in the back, and of course locking for multiball, which is a blast and easy to start. And there are modes in this game too, albeit linear: if you sink enough ships you're prompted to "destroy the fleet" by making timed shots, which are quite lucrative. There is even a progressive jackpot that's cued for award: shoot the right habitrail when the game starts to rap.

Rap? That's right: it was made in '88 baby, so in addition to the numerous callouts which are both serious and funny, you can hear a "whoop! Whoop!" during a particular break-beat music track. DE was heavily promoting their new "digital stereo" sound system at this time and you might be shocked at how good it still is. It easily blows away B/W/GTB games of the era, even some that came out years later. As for Torpedo Alley, the booms of sinking ships are clear and deep and rewarding, while pop bumper action is like attending a 4th of July celebration. A generous soundtrack of at least 8 different original "songs" awaits, most of them loosely tied to a military theme. Mode tracks increase drama and tension when needed, and achievement tracks (and lightshows) are fantastic. You might find yourself cradling a ball just to let the music play uninterrupted. (But make sure to fix the DE "speaker hum bug" for the best possible experience - it's worth it!)

But why is the game so much fun? It just IS. I dare anyone to not grin the first time they get multiball and the klaxon blares out ("DIVE DIVE DIVE!") - or any time they do it after. Keep a ball out of the outlanes and the JAWS theme will keep you on your toes. A "LASER kickback" made no military sense then, but hey it was the 80's so you just had to have lasers! You can play it mindlessly for the great light shows and explosions, fantastic sound effects, funny callouts, JAWS homage, and wonderful music: the game is forgiving enough to offer newbie-friendly ball times. And it even has a continue option - which was almost unheard of for the time.

But, you can dive deep and aim your shots at specific goals, and discover that this game is FAST when set up properly and will brutally bite back when you least expect it, with some sucker shots and lightning orbits for good measure. The geometry doesn't require a lot of flipper trickery and there aren't too many backhand shots. The upper right flipper seems useless at first but, set up right, you can slow, cradle, nudge, and aim shots and so it becomes the key to great scores. And you can never be 100% certain where the ball will go even if you think you are... did I say this game is fast? It's among the first things my kids tell their friends about it, and I have a Firepower a few feet away so they know what fast is. Makes sense to be named for torpedoes...

As for gimmicks: the launch shot is interesting as it crosses the pf and disappears behind it before reappearing into the rollovers. Sound effects are great, and the spinner shot is especially responsive with effects keyed to how hard it's hit. The "sinking ship" in the binoculars is too fast to see, but clever... LED flashers really make the explosions pop! A word of caution: LED GI is great in this game, but disconnect the GI relay flasher if you don't want to have a seizure.

DE put a lot into this game for its era, but sadly only sold 1,000 of them. Likely far less than that survive so if you ever see one, you owe it to yourself to take the con and launch a shot - you might be pleasantly surprised at how much fun pure silly pinball can be. "Ahooga ooga!"
7.156/10
4 years ago
Overall I really like Torpedo Alley. It's a short run game that should have more love for it. That said, there are a few things that the game has going against it. I'll attempt to run down most things as it's hard to find (esp in the US) and you may want to know if it's worthy of your hard-earned cash or not...

Let's get this out of the way: the translite is 80s awful. Almost so bad that it's actually good. You be the judge of if you can stand it or not. There's plenty of pics of what it is on the site here.

The game's lighting is good, but extremely annoying. Lots of good flashes and whatnot, but the GI goes out so often (it even pulses in sync with the music at points) that it's so easy to lose view of the ball! To be honest, it's obnoxious and way over-done. I couldn't even play the game without ambient light lighting up the playfield at all times. Not a deal-breaker, but something to be aware of.

The music is good and changes depending on the mode and ball, and the callouts are tongue-in-cheek (at one point a woman says "ayuga, ayuga"). It's not great, but it fits the theme.

This game has some of the best usage of an alphanumeric display I ever seen. It's well before the DMD era but those guys did a great job with the animations on what limited displays they had. A+

I LOVE the habittrails all over the game. The way you lock multiballs with shooting the ramps is so creative and well done. It's awesome. Additionally, if you LED the game out with blues, it looks fantastic. Now comes my biggest gripe with the game: the shots. This game is a real quarter-eater. You really can't shoot for any of the close-up shots (the left yellow targets, the center blue targets, or the red laser kick target) because if you do, you will drain way too often. Which basically leaves 3 long shots from the bottom of the playfield (the spinner on the left, the spinner on the right, or the ramp on the right (which is really hard to hit!)). Once up on the playfield, you can take advantage of the upper right flipper to hit more shots, which is cool, but I just wish the close shots weren't so dangerous.

Overall a fine Claude Fernandez deck. If I had gotten in on this game before the price skyrocketed, I definitely would've kept it (within a year the game jumped from like $400 to close to $2k!). Just couldn't get over the lack of workable shots combined with the value of the game.
8.200/10
4 years ago
The cheezy backglass makes people stay away from it, but turned out to be a lot of fun to play. Great game all around.
8.512/10
4 years ago
I can't really put my finger on why I like this game so much. From the outside looking in, it seems like it's just another run-of-the-mill game from the 80's. In a sense, it is. But that seems to be what makes it so fun. The game is so tacky looking that it seems as though it's a playable time capsule. After the first time I played it, I made it my goal to find one for my collection. It isn't terribly deep, but the shots are challenging enough to be continuously rewarding. I think this is one of the best Data East machines. And the backglass is so awful that it circles back around to wonderful!
9.895/10
5 years ago
Torpedo Alley is a blast to play. The music and call outs are really well done, they are serious and tongue in cheek at the same time, I was waiting for the women's voice to say "that's what she said".This game is loaded with sounds , I think they were trting to show off the new digital sound system. Music is great and keeps you in the game and the Popeye theme song plays at the game over sequence. Some may hate the backglass, I think it is outstandingly 80's it has a 3d look with some nice looking ladies, very campy and fun. The box art is awesome, the logo on the sides along with the saluting sailor girl are really great. Playfield has alot of cool touches with caves and the artwork has a few neat little suprises.
Game play is great, still havent gotten bored, was thinking the other day that there arent alot of games with the third upper flipper on the RIGHT. Ball locks are well used and the multiball is attainable with great sound when it kicks in. Great looking, sounding and playing game that will be in my collection for a long time.

Update! IF you own this game buy the RED PLUNGER SPRING FROM PINBALL LIFE! I have this game totally dialed in and love playing it daily.
4.519/10
7 years ago
Torpedo Alley is an unusual game that needs to be kept in tip-top shape to be appreciated.

The Pros:
A creative layout with interesting shots around the PF. I like the binoculars through the PF. A cool shot onto the PF... if you can get it all the way up the table.

The Cons:
This game has one of the worst BG's ever... I mean EVER! It gives a new meaning to the term "Tighty White-eez". Strange wireform ramps...

The Takeaway:
This game needs to have strong flippers, plunger springs and fresh rubbers. I can see why this game was not a hit on location... it requires more love than most ops are willing to give.
7.745/10
7 years ago
one of the best lightshows if not the best, for it's era/ fast game, great modes (sink ships) very fun to play, even more so with friends
7.899/10
8 years ago
I had my eyes open for this one for a long time and finaly had the chance to pick one up so I did.

First the good: great retro music, I like the ladies on the backglass :) cool idea with the ramps passing the ball.

the bad: not the bast playfield layout( the targetbank en left target take up to much space which disrupts the flow of the game), not the greatest ruleset, but i think it was good enough for it's time.

I will probably keep it a little longer, but will not be a keeper.

a little update, i'm beginning to appreciate this one more and more as time passes
8.415/10
9 years ago
Just got my machine back after being owned by other people for a few years, wish I hadn't sold it - needs a lot of work :( Sadly these machines are now very rare, the audio and lightshow (including alphanumeric animations) are just brilliant and the multiple ball locks are very clever.
8.474/10
9 years ago
This game is all about having fun, a tongue in cheek title that packs a great sound and light show together with a serious challenge.
There are 19 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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