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Posted on Mar 28th 2013 at 11:42:31 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under pinball, Dracula, singlebanana

Coming in at #3 on the countdown is Williams' Bram Stoker's Dracula ("BSD").  BSD is an odd license in that the film really wasn't a blockbuster in the U.S. in 1992, although it had great success worldwide and won 3 Oscars for Make-up, Effects, and Costume Design, and 5 Saturn awards, including Best Film and Actor (Gary Oldman). I've heard several friends complain about how bad the film is, and though it's an odd take on the Dracula mythology, it's not a horrible film. In pinball community, license can mean everything. This is as true today (if not more true) as it was over 20 years ago.  With Sterns most recent release "The Avengers," and their newest announcement "Metallica," to Jersey Jack's new "Wizard of Oz" and recent announcement of "The Hobbit" license for their second pin, new pins tend to sell out via pre-order before any work has been done!

So why is it so important to think about this machine in terms of its license?  Well, due to the unpopularity of the theme, violent depictions of the machine (via the artwork and dot matrix displays), and possibly the overwhelming success of The Addams Family only a year before, this pin was virtually ignored for years. However, recently this pin has become a very hot commodity in the pinball community and people are feverishly seeking it out to add to their collection.  You may recall that I even purchased one several months back......but, due the increasing market value of the machine and the fact that my kids were severely creeped out by it, I  decided to make a very beneficial trade for an Addams Family (#4 on this countdown).

So, ignoring the license and artwork, what makes BSD so highly sought after?  Two words: "Gameplay" and "Difficulty." BSD is the type of game in which you either have a horrible game, or you have a great game; there are typically no average games on this machine.  There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is the value of the 3 different multi-ball modes and the ability (and quite frankly, necessity) to "stack" them. Starting a mutli-ball allots a valuable scoring bonus of 10 million points by shooting the ramps and scoops, and each multi-ball also offers a special jackpot if certain goals are obtained while at least two balls are in play.  However, if you are to "stack" these multi-ball modes and have two going at one time, shoots are worth 20 million each, and if all three modes are going a the same time, they are worth 30 million! Even when stacked, jackpots for the various modes still remain in play, so you can see how lucrative scoring can be and the importance of stacking modes in this game.  Let's look more closely at these multi-ball modes. 

Mist Multi-ball

Mist Multi-ball is probably the coolest feature in any pinball machine and easiest multi-ball mode to start.  To activate this mode, you must light it by shooting the left ramp 5 times and them placing the ball in the upper right scoop .  This feature will also light at the start of your 3rd ball (only a shot to the scoop necessary to start it), if you have not started a multi-ball during your game. My friends and I have dubbed this the "Pity Mist."  Once activated, a ball will "float" horizontally across the center of the table....yes, you heard me correctly.  To start the multi-ball you have to hit the floating ball with a second ball, which is ejected to your flippers, and dislodge it from the magnet. If you are unable to hit the floating ball before it reaches the other side of the playfield, you fail to activate this mode and must relight it again......

Mist in action!

Coffin Multi-ball

Coffin Multi-ball is another great mode on BSD.  To activate it, you must repeatedly shoot the right ramp near the coffin until the ramp lifts up.  Once the ramp lifts, you must place three balls under it to fill the coffin and activate this mode.  Once activated, the goal is to continue to shoot under the ramp and spell out the the words D-R-A-C-U-L-A, which light up via the lightning bolt inserts on the center of the playfield. Each shot, stakes a vampire in Dracula's crypt and once "Dracula" is spelled out, you stake the man himself for a super jackpot.

Castle Multi-ball

To me, Castle Multi-ball is the toughest, though most rewarding multi-ball to achieve.  To activate this mode, you must first light the castle lock, which can be done in three ways: one shoot the stand-up targets in the center and left-hand side of the playfield (way too dangerous), get a random lock light from the upper right scoop (too random), and lastly, by shooting the left ramp repeatedly.  The third option is the safest, but the left ramp is a very difficult shot due to it's angle and the extreme pitch of the ramp; it's not uncommon for a weak shot that doesn't make it up the ramp to come back at you straight down the middle. Dialing in this ramp (along with the right ramp) is the key to success in BSD; while frustrating to beginners due to quick ball times and missed shots, the feeling you get from making these shots consistently is worth it.  Once you have lit and locked three balls in the upper castle via the left ramp, Castle Multi-ball begins.  To light the Castle Jackpot, you must send an additional ball up the left ramp during multi-ball. Once locked in the castle, the upper right scoop is lit for jackpot and must be shot during multi-ball to collect.

Great game video!

There are other ways to score great bonuses in BSD, including the Bat Bonus (activated by three shots up the left ramp) and Rat Bonus (activated by three shots in the lower right scoop). These bonuses are based on how quickly you finish them and your bonus will begin to countdown after a short time.  To destroy the bats and rats, you merely have to hit multiple switches (typically 15 times), which is best done by getting into the pop bumpers; the slingshots also allow for quick dispatching of bats/rats, but are erratic and the side to side motion can easily cause outlane drains.

BSD also has a great video mode in which werewolves run at you from left or right and you must shoot at them by pressing either the left or right flipper.  This mode can be very lucrative if you wait to shoot the wolves when they are closest to you (more points) and if you are able to finish them all off without using any or only a few of your 5 extra bullets. This mode is activated by making multiple shots to the right outside loop.

While reading this, I am sure that you can imagine what a fun an exciting game BSD is, but as I said before, be advised that you WILL be frustrated with this game if you are a beginner or not an avid player. I would not recommend this machine as the "one" to own if you can only have one; it could make you hate pinball forever...... However, having owned a BSD and as a intermediate player, I can definitely say that is an incredible machine that deserves all the accolades, hatred, and success that it has most recently garnered.

Incredible Drac Tutorial from our friends at PAPA

Banana's World - Pinball Update

Since I have delved into this hobby, I have been fortunate enough to have a good friend who became interested around the same time. Both of us bought our first machine together from the same seller and now have a few machines in our homes.  A few months ago, we decided to buy a few machines, restore them to a proper condition (depending on their current condition), and sell them.  We recently picked up two machines, a Xenon and Genesis, and have just completed a restoration of the former.  If you are interested in our work, you can follow us or view pictures by joining our Facebook page, "Hard Knock Life Restorations" or look over the pics via my photobucket account at the following link: http://s1029.photobucket....rary/Xenon%20Final?page=1

I have also recently purchased a Jurassic Park machine and am having a great deal of fun with it.  Too bad I already started this countdown before I played it, or it might have made it. Smiley

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Seems a bit like Attack from Mars, which is still my #1 table to this day. I'm still really sad that I had the opportunity to purchase a working table for $1200 from the office here and missed it because I was out that day.
Curious about how it reminds you of AFM. AFM reminds me of Monster Bash, since you repeatedly shoot four or five areas repeatedly to finish modes/collect band members.
This is an awesome looking machine. I've been wanting to give it a try ever since you showed me a gameplay vid a while back. This one looks like it would be the most fun to play so far on your list. Very curious to see your top 2 now because this was the only machine I knew was going to be high on your list. Now its suspense!!!
BSD is a great game, but sometimes overly frustrating, which ultimately kept it out of the Top 2. One of my top 2 is potentially obvious......but the other will be a much lesser known surprise.  I'm heading up north to play in Pinburgh next Thursday, so hopefully I can have this Top 10 finished as a sort of bon voyage!.......just gotta choose between the two........DOH!
You're right - now that I re-read, it seems much less like AFM.
I'm actively looking, right now, for a new pin... most interested in BSD, Funhouse, and Jackbot. My currently line-up includes F-14, Stargate and TAF.

I find it really curious that you rank Dracula at #3... but got rid of your machine?

I'm really on the fence about what to go for...  Jackbot is a fun machine that I think my family (including kids) and friends would enjoy.  It's one that has a good show and is fairly easy to walk up to and just play.

Funhouse is a great all around game but the cost is skyrocketing... it's looking like $4-5K for a good example, at the moment.  I'm a little concerned about the re-play ability of the game.  Will it have a long lasting life?  Or would the rather simple rules set keep it appealing.

Dracula is one that really intrigues me.  I've only ever played it once and that was a decade ago. I can snag one for about $2-2.5K...  But when I look at game play videos, it looks like a rather simple playfield with not a ton going on... looks like a ton of repetitive ramp shots.  I wonder:  Would it get old quick?  I'm also a little concerned about it being a game that the kids and novices would be turned off to. 

I just find it interesting that you put this game (BSD) at #3 on your all time list, but willingly game it away.  Thoughts?

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