Review by Retro

"A cool creature to hang out with"

There's not any arcades close to where I live, but for many years, about once a year, I got to go to Florida for vacation. At one of the city's local arcades, there used to be a good number of pinball machines. Now, there's only two of them left (I guess pinball is going out of style for most people), and luckily, Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of the two that are left. Creature from the Black Lagoon has always been one of my favorite pinball machines for many reasons.

To start off, this is the first pinball game that I'm trying to review, so I might be a little rusty to begin with. If you've ever played a pinball game in your life, then you should know how to play Creature from the Black Lagoon. It has all the elements of the basic pinball game such as two flippers, bumpers, inlanes, outlanes, a lot of cool lights, and the other basics. But there's many things that make Creature from the Black Lagoon stand out when compared to most other pinball machines, at least out of the ones I've played.

I don't know the exact storyline, but Creature from the Black Lagoon is based on a movie from what I've heard. From the look of the art on the machine, it sort of reminds me of Swamp Thing. There's a green creature that looks like the man out of Swamp Thing and he's holding a distressed woman in his arms. Under and beside that part (still on the main screen) there are pictures of what look to be like rescue men and a few divers swimming, so my guess is that the creature has kidnapped the woman and that you have to try and find her and then get her back. You'll also notice from the machine's screen that the full title of the game is Creature From The Black Lagoon in 3-D. It also says ''Amazing! Startling! Shocking!'' on the main screen (not the playfield), and this machine is all of those, especially amazing.

It's called Creature From The Black Lagoon in 3-D because there's a screen right above the flippers that has a 3-D picture of the creature. To be honest, I don't know if this picture changes or not, but it does look cool.

As I said a little earlier, Creature From The Black Lagoon has everything that you'll see in almost all pinball machines such as the two flippers at the bottom (only 2 in this one) bumpers, multiple paths, holes to make the ball fall in for bonus points, and so on. There are also a couple of ramps, ways to get multiball, free games, and more.

While you play a game of Creature From The Black Lagoon, there are many things you can do to rack up the points and to see more of the story unfold. To see more of the storyline, you can spell out the words ''FILM'' or ''KISS'' and then do a certain thing after you light all four letters up in either word. There are other bonuses and ways to see more of the story for yourself, but I'll let you find out about those on your own.

There's a few reasons why I like Creature From The Black Lagoon better than most of the other pinball games I've played. For one thing, it has a few features that make it a little easier than your typical pinball machine. To me, it's always been easier to make the ball travel over the ramps than it is with most others, and it's not all that hard to rack up enough points in order to get a free game. The only thing I don't like about playing pinball machines is when the ball goes right between the two flippers after only a few seconds of gameplay. Yeah, that happens a lot in Creature From The Black Lagoon too, but there's a cool feature called a ''Free Pass'' that will let it go from time to time as if you didn't just lose a life pinball style. When you look at the screen that shows the moving cartoons (I think it's called a dot matrix screen) and see a guy hold up a couple of tickets and you hear him say ''Stay cool Daddy-O,'' then you'll know that you didn't just lose a ball. I don't know about everyone else, but I think that's a cool feature, especially for a sore loser like me.

But that's not all. Creature From The Black Lagoon also excels in the sound and light categories. Each ball, the multiball, and the bonus rounds all have their own music tunes. The music and sound effects are real loud, clear, and you might even recognize some of the tunes. I think I recognized one of the tunes as being the song, ''Summertime Blues.'' When it comes to lights and graphics, Creature From The Black Lagoon is about the best I've ever seen. There are tons of bright and colorful lights for you to light up and if you look close, there are a lot of great visuals in the playing field such as the creature and a diver swimming on the side of one of the ramps.

I've spent a lot of money playing pinball machines in my life, and Creature From The Black Lagoon is one of my favorites. Whether it's the action, graphics, sound, replay value, or anything, this machine is one that pinball fans can't afford to miss. If you ever see it, give it a try!

GRAPHICS - The artwork on the sides and top of the machine, along with its cool title, is what first drawed me to this machine almost a decade ago. Once I started playing it, I also noticed all the colorful lights and other cool visuals this machine has to offer. For a pinball machine released in '92, this one was ahead of its time when it came to the visuals.

SOUND - The sound effects for this awesome creature of a machine are crystal clear and well done. Whether it's the sound of cruising down a ramp or the cartoon of a car driving away on the dot matrix screen with the words ''The End'' on its tag, this machine has good sound effects. Even better is the catchy music that comes in very loud and clear.

CONTROL - Well, this is a pinball machine. You just pull back the spring and let go to get the ball in play and then press the two buttons on the side to make the flippers flick. That's as easy as it gets folks.

OVERALL - Creature From The Black Lagoon is one of the best pinball games ever made if you ask me. It has great visuals, sound, music, and it's always kept me coming back for more and more playing time.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/06/01, Updated 05/20/02


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