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Review: John Whyatt on ??/11/1990

From Pinball Player Volume 14 #8


Probably the third thing you'll notice about ELVIRA (the machine that is) will be the formidable left-hand ramp. This runs from the middle of the left side of the playfield and provides a torturous patch back to the right flipper. This ramp, known as the Monster Slide is, however, the key to high scores on this game as will become apparent.

If you were wondering what the first two things were that should capture your attention, then you obviously haven't played the game yet! Well I'll give you a clue - they're connected more with the Elvira character than the game, and a quick perusal of the backglass should reveal all! Incidentally, have you seen a machine with a censored backglass? Operators were provided with a decal which can be used to conceal Elvira's assets beneath a discrete piece of underwear. Also, the game settings can be altered so that some of the more risque sound effects can be turned off to prevent any embarrassment (Mmm, Nice organ!)

So, let's turn our attention to the game. A quick description of the playfield follows. Opposite the Monster Slide is the Party Punch Ramp which starts on the right of the playfield and feeds a kick-out (top left) to return to the left flipper. To the left of the monster slide entry is the Cave Trap or Skull Lock. The exit from this is to the centre of the playfield.

The plunger lane delivers the ball to the B-A-T lanes at the top of the playfield; beneath these are three bumpers. Bally have introduced a new style of bumper, Jumper Bumpers on this game - the whole of the enlarged bumper cap moves up and down with bumper action. To the left of the B-A-T lanes, but protected from plunger shots is a saucer kick-out which provides the means to collect the Barbecue and Boogie Bonuses plus other features - see later. The kick-out directs the ball back to the B-A-T lanes. In the centre of the playfield is a drop target bank - the J-A-M Targets. Opposite the J-A-M Targets are two Coffin flip-up targets. To the left lower playfield are four Dead-Head Targets, and opposite these, two Gravestone Pizza Targets.


The main objectives of the game are to complete the word 'ELVIRA' (lit up on the playfield surface) by making the Monster Slide whilst a scantily-clad ELVIRA symbol is flashing! Having done this a timed shot, worth 3 million points is available on the Cave Trap. Locking three balls in the Skull Lock starts multi-ball play. Riding both ramps during multi-ball awards the Jackpot - maximum of 4 million points.


As already mentioned, the plunger shot delivers the ball to the B-A-T rollovers. Completing these enables the Skull Lock, increases the bonus multiplier, and flashes the Monster Ramp for a timed period. The ball now passes to the Jumper Bumpers, and these together with the J-A-M Targets increment the Boogie Bonus.

In addition to adding letters to the 'ELVIRA' name whilst flashing, the Monster Ramp scores an increasing bonus for successful completion over a timed period: 50K, 75K, 100K, 1M. (Additional scores may come between 100K and the 1M shot depending on game settings.) Having successfully made the million shot, subsequent circuits around the Monster Ramp will spot letters in 'ELVIRA' as the ramp is now flashed continuously during the remainder of the timed period. The Party Punch Ramp scores 75K, 100K, 150K, 175K, and 200K, plsu EXTRA BALL. Again depending on the operator's benevolence additional EXTRA BALL awards may be encountered before the 200K maximum.


Completing the J-A-M Targets lights the Skull Lock, lights the top saucer to collect the Boogie Bonus and flashes the Monster Slide. Collecting the Boogie Bonus activates the Boogie Men, who, fairly unrealistically do their thing at the top of the playfield. (Has animation really come this far??!!)

Making the 4 Dead Head Targets lights one of the Dead Head characters on the back panel of the playfield and flashes the Monster Ramp. Lighting all three Dead Heads lights the top saucer for a million point shot. Lighting the Dead Head sequence twice in any game (it takes some doing!) lights the Specials which alternate between the outlanes and the Monster Ramp.

Each time the Gravestone Pizza Target sequence is made, a bonus is awarded and an additional bonus may be collected by making the shot up the right side of the table back to the B-A-T lanes. Bonus Hold is lit at random by the machine and is scores at the top playfield saucer.


An interesting game to play with several innovative features. With ELVIRA and it's successor MOUSIN' AROUND we can clearly see positive benefits derived from the Bally-Williams marriage. I particularly like the sound effects which add a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings - and the backglass has a couple of good points too! The machine should appeal to the high score merchants and the ramp shots will test the player. Judging by the way the game is springing up everywhere, it would seem to be popular with operators too.