Data East Phantom of the Opera
Phantom of the Opera is a beautiful game ! The artwork by Paul Faris is very detailed:
cabinet, backglass, playfield, .. everything about this game is a piece of art on itself.
Music is also excellent, using Data East's stereo system. The music alone makes it worth owning this game.
Phantom of the Opera is not the best game ever made. It's does not have very deep rules, compared to more recent games. But it's one of the best games made at the end of the 80ies, especially if you don't only consider gameplay but look at the whole package. The theme is implemented very well: art, music and lightshow give the game its own atmosphere. It can compete in a line-up with other popular Williams System11 games like Taxi and Earthshaker.
Game rules are similar to other 80ies game. There are no modes to complete,
the only goal is to try to score as much as possible.
Phantom of the Opera has multiball, so most of the time your job is to try and lock balls and then score high during multiball.
Some parts of the game are maybe a bit on the easy side. The organ ramp which opens up is not difficult to shoot at. But that makes it fun for novice players. Looping the left ramp enough times to spell PHANTOM, and aiming at some specific targets is not easy to do. So everything considered Phantom of the Opera is quite challenging, if you really want to beat it and set a very high score.
Things to look for when buying
Backglass. The white mask of the phantom is painted on the front side of the backglass, to create a cool effect when it's illuminated. However this made it easy to be vandalised when the game was out on location. As it's a real backglass, flaking (or breaking) also occured on some games. So a game with a perfect backglass is not something you see every day anymore, and replacement backglasses are impossible to find.
Wear. Check for playfield wear where the ball is shot onto the playfield, as there's very detailed artwork in which the ball wears a line.
The organ. This is a specific assembly, a wide metal ramp that opens up.
Phantom of the Opera is not based onto the musical but on the original book.