Bally World Cup Soccer
World Cup Soccer is the first pinball machine John Popaduik designed, and it's an excellent one !
World Cup Soccer has all the elements you can also find on his later games (Theatre of Magic, Cirqus Voltaire, Tales of the Arabian Nights): an easy shot to a main object so beginners know instantly what to do and can enjoy the games. Magnets (it's the return of the magna-save (see picture), rollovers and spinners. Long ramps. Good rules which use the whole playfield. Challenging goals to keep experienced players entertained. A very nice 'package': the theme of the game is very well integrated in everything: rules, playfield art, sounds, dot matrix animations, ..
WCS is an excellent game and to me it's as much fun (if not more) as Theatre of Magic. Only the soccer theme which is not so popular in the USA, and rather ugly cabinet art probably made the game not a top game like Johns other creations. Game-play wise it's certainly nothing less. So if you want a great game for a reasonable price (can't afford Cirqus Voltaire or Theatre of Magic ?) then certainly consider World Cup Soccer.
I love how World Cup Soccer plays. Smooth and fast. Lots of things to shoot at. To reach the wizard mode and score many points you have to make shots all over the playfield.
Just shooting at the goal itself is already fun, especially if you can bounce the ball
of the spinning soccer ball. The moving goalkeeper is a nice toy.
Advancing the rankings, locking balls, .. it's great.
Multiball is chaotic as you have to launch balls manually into the game. You're exhausted and it's difficult to concentrate, but when you finally defeat Germany for the world cup and make victory laps is a great feeling !
This was my Christmas present in 2001. I kept it for about a year but enjoyed it a lot. But since it's gone I don't really miss it. It is an excellent game and I wouldn't mind owning one again. But then again, I think the same about Theatre and Cirqus Voltaire. I like them, but don't love them. I enjoy playing but if they're gone, they're gone. For some reason I get the impression they miss something.
That's the only negative aspect I can think of about this game: it doesn't have something which really catches you. It's a good game. It's even a great game. But it misses an identity, something which makes it unique and stand out above every other game. Something which makes you want this game above every other game. Maybe we're just spoiled by all the other good games John has made. They're all equally good, only in small details one is better than the other, but none of them is what you can call a bad game. If I had to pick only one: World Cup Soccer, Theatre or Cirqus Voltaire, it would be hard to do and a very close call.
Things to look for when buying
The soccer ball becomes dirty but sometimes a groove is worn into it.
The 'free kick' target gets a beating (yellow oblong target in picture is not correct, should be a round target).
The bend plastic above the scoop with the soccer player on it often breaks.
The game also has gold-colored legs.
Promo plastics for this game are 2 speaker cutouts and a large round plastic.