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Review: Levi Nayman on 08/09/2004

Seems like Mark borrowed a bunch of ideas from his brother Steve's F-14. Symmetrical playfield, no ramps, mini-type playfield up top (minus the pop bumper). I really like the light show, all those flashers.

The sound and music are excellent. The art and theme are a little odd, but they really made it work. Translite is a bit violent, but there are a few light touches. The commander seems to be enjoying a cocktail for instance.

The cannons are a really nice effect. I can't believe they actually work.

Things I really like about the game: The mini upper playfield. There is so much going on up there that it is really a hoot. I like how you have several tasks up there that can be accomplished, when the designers could have easily rested at one. You have to knock down all three drops on one side in a very short amount of time. Then, in another timed venture, you must make the loop to advance bonus X, which is pretty tough. You can also shoot the troll target for a sizeable bonus or to light the extra ball. I think it's a nice touch that there are two different rewards up there instead of one. It's a lot of fun seeing how long you can keep it up there. Of course you can also shoot the top for multiball or bagatelle. I also really like the multiball sequence.

Trying to shoot the side pocket right in the beginning, or up top if you missed the time frame, to go invincible... and then having just 12 seconds while "invincible" to shoot the lower guards to save the queen... very intense, very well thought out multiball. "Invincible" is a bit of a misnomer which I like, if you aren't careful you can still lose balls down the middle.

The jackpot rules are great also. Unlike games like Cyclone, where the jackpot only really builds if a bunch of poor players goose it up, the Big Guns jackpot can easily be built during a game by a good player. The jackpot only raises during multiball, when a player hits the guards. This means that even if you don't successfully win the jackpot, you are still building it up significantly.

Another example of a good sys11 rule set. Not terribly deep, but not easy. I love how the good system 11 games give you a few evenly balanced goals that aren't that easy to achieve.

The skill shot is very difficult. A challenge every time, I like it. Things I don't like that much... DARK! Wow this game is dark. There are hardly any GI lights on it. It would have been nice if they stuck a few down at the bottom. The bagatelle game is a neat throwback to the past games like Apollo, but it kind of slows down the pace. It also tends to misfire, so the ball goes back into play when the bagatelle is firing for the second time, which can be distracting.

Anyway, a solid game, very intense and fast paced, and very tough. MUCH harder than High Speed of Cyclone, that's for sure. I think Big Guns is among the top of the heap for system 11 games.