Last weekend, I traveled up to John Dayhuff's place in Battle Creek, MI with my friend Zespy to pick up a new pinball for him, a Williams Grand Lizard. We left early so we could hang and play with John all day on his 70+ pinball machines, which we did, literally until my hands hurt. It was awesome.
While I was there, I played two early Stern titles, namely Viper and Iron Maiden. Both were so fantastic, I played them for the majority of the 9 or so hours we were there, rarely leaving that corner of the basement.
On the way home I kept thinking and talking about how much I loved playing those early Stern titles and asked him to see if one might be available somewhere, somehow. Now, early Sterns are really sought after and pretty rare, especially Iron Maiden. The production numbers were never published, with guesses between 400 and 1200 and most ended up going to Germany, with a smaller amount staying here on home soil. Zespy checked all the forums while we were driving home and couldn't find anything for sale. I asked him to check the Pinball Owner's Database as people can list their collection as well as which ones they might sell or trade away. There were only two Iron Maiden's listed in the US - one for $5,500 in MA and another in Hilliard, OH, not working, but available for trade. I emailed him when we stopped at a Denny's for some dinner, my excitement reaching fever pitch. I heard back the next morning.
He was interested in a trade, taking my Big Guns for his Iron Maiden straight up. We worked out a deal in a few hours, with my interest skyrocketing when I saw the condition of the game. It was damn near the most mint I have ever seen a pinball machine - barring the second back glass (it has two for a psuedo 3D effect) which was pretty well devoid of any graphics as they flaked off. It was a stellar deal - my Big Guns straight up for the Iron Maiden. Awesome. I committed to the trade, loaded up the Big Guns and took off at 6 am on Saturday morning for the 12-hour drive there and back with Zespy.
The backglass as its supposed to look below and mine above. I couldn't believe just how nice the machine looked - no cabinet wear, no playfield wear, even around the inserts and besides the backglass, it was in mint shape. I contacted a guy to make a repro translite for the backglass that week and left it at Zespys for his arcade tech to get it running tip top.
There is something about rare games that interest me and I still can't believe how easily I got this one. I expected to be looking out for weeks or months or maybe years for one to pop up. It's an amazing machine, one I cannot wait to play!
Here's a 1CC of Maniac Max on the Mushi Matsuri pcb. There isn't much of a try to maximise the scoring potential, but it gives you a good idea of the Mainiac mode of the game.
It looks stellar, the new OST is a great remix and there is a bonus for frequency tapping like the original, notacable if you check out Kubakilla's videos on youtube (Sven666 from shmups).
I owned the original Mushihimesama pcb about three years ago and liked it very much, but the scoring potential I was missing from not perfectly being abe to tap the buttons was always a bummer for me and a strange scoring mechanic, especially for such a beautiful game. It seems that this will also have some more of the same feel as tapping is necessary, but you also get bonuses from proximity based scoring, so it sounds like a good mix of Ketsui and Mushi Futari BL.
Max mode is basically a harder version of the standard mode on the pcb - you start fully powered up and there are more and faster bullets on the screen. Very cool.
Thanks again to Muchi Muchi Spork on the Cave-STG baords for posting these videos.
Totally forgot to add this score previously! Set this at the last meet(!) and haven't bettered it yet! I really need to get some more time in on this game. I want this 1CC - just need to put in the time.
However, on reflection, I think I may be afraid to 1CC it - it represents so much to me of why this genre is so much fun. I like that that challenge of the clear is still out there for me and I appreciate this game like very few others. I once told my friend Dave that I felt "Ketsui may be the best video game ever made." I still feel that way. It's like having a bottle of 60 year old scotch. Each glass is great, but you want to make it last and drink it infrequently. Same here.
I set up the candy cab at work with Ketsui in it so that I could practice it after work and it freaked people out. Bad. No one would play it. I thought it would be a bit of a hit, maybe get a few people into playing shmups for score. Deathsmiles was a waaaaaaaay bigger hit.
For those that don't know, Cave released a home-only pcb of Mushihimesama's Matsuri version with 6 new versions of the original game. It's being touted by some as the last Cave pcb, which would be a mega bummer, but if it is, early impressions say that its a stellar game, one which should make Cave fans very happy - for the time being at least.
The original Mushihimesama's scoring in Maniac had a very complex frequency tapping scoring systen where you needed to tap the firing buttons at a certain taps-per-second to get the most out of the counter, which turned many off of that mode, including myself. This version takes that out and includes changed versions of Original and ulktra as well as MAX versions of all three modes as well. I'mn still not entirely sure what's up with the scoring, but this vid should help a bit.