Williams Medieval Madness
Medieval Madness is the pinball game which is probably most known as the game you 'have' to have, and is regarded in the pinball world as the best pinball machine ever.
It's made by the same team that designed the popular Attack from Mars pinball machine.
The shot layout (known as the 'fan-layout') is almost identical and game rules are very similar. One can even say the games are about 90 percent similar.
The differences are (in my opinion) all improvements. While the risk of draining in AFM is high, this is decreased on Medieval Madness by the moat and split ramps. Medieval Madness also has 2 trolls which appear from below the playfield. The game is also very funny, with monty python-esque humor and lots of quotes.
I love the gameplay of Medieval Madness. It looks easy and is simple to explain.
The game is easy enough to attract new players. A few shots at the castle and it explodes:
beginners get instant feedback they're doing well. But the difficulty increases soon.
Experienced players know there's much more: light all the blue lights and go for wizard mode, but this is hard to achieve. And Merlin awards and many sound quotes make the game random enough to make every game a new experience. You have to think about your strategy: go for high points by waiting to start multiball, or try to finish everything asap and get many Merlin awards ? Medieval Madness looks easy but is very challenging, and no 2 games you play will be identical.
Things to look for when buying
Everything depends on the price of the machine. Medieval Madness machines are expensive.
In the USA a nice one will fetch $5000 easily and finding one below $4000 is probably impossible.
In Europe on the other hand prices have dropped, especially as a lot or people who had a Medieval Madness for years now bought a Stern Lord of the Rings or Simpsons Pinball Party pinball machine. Very nice Medieval Madness sell around 4000, up to 4500 to 5000 euros for a perfect one (but it's not like there's one for sale every week), and worn games are plenty to find. Still pricy at 2500 to 3500 euros because then they're usually very worn.
In my opinion it's better to spend 3500-4000 and buy one in good to excellent condition, than to spend 2500 or 3000 on a totally worn out game (which would have been parted if it was any other title) with playfield wear and worn assemblies which hardly have enough power left to move a pinball. But that's just me, some people just want a Medieval Madness and still pay a lot for just the name, even if the game is only half the fun to play anymore.
Check for playfield wear at:
Merlin. This saucer does not have any kind of protector and wears a lot as
balls are shot hard into this saucer.
- the right joust loop. The ball drops here from the small metal ramp when it's shot into the game so there's often wear near the switch. As the ball goes around a lot, there's often a line worn into the playfield. This continues until the top right of the playfield where the ball is stopped by the games where it goes over the rollovers into the bumpers.
- the castle entrance. The edge of the playfield often gets worn by pinballs which don't make the jump fast enough.
- near the flippers. On many games now returing from location, there's wear above the flippers. Usually near the tip of the flippers when they're upright (where the scroll is drawn)
- the trolls. Sometimes the edges of the playfield get damaged, especially if there's no mylar ring around them anymore.
- pop bumpers. If there's no mylar between the bumpers anymore then the playfield can wear.
Plastic parts that often break on Medieval Madness:
Troll faces. These are available. Balls slamming into the faces will damage them (hole in nose, ..)
- Dragon wings. These are often broken by airballs. Replacements are available.
- Castle towers. Not for sale, but the small towers usually are chipped from bumping into each other. Usually they don't break, all they need is some paint.
- Ramps. The green moat ramp is often broken. The entrances of the other plastic ramps can also break. Available as repro.
- Archer plastic above slingshots. On top of the slingshots there's an extra plastic. Often this is broken or missing.
- Targets at the drawbridge. These yellow targets take a beating so are often worn and need to be replaced, or need new foam to prevent airballs.
- Decals. On top of the troll flaps and on the drawbridge, often wear. New are available.
A complete set of plastics for Medieval Madness is available so if a game has too many broken plastics then
you can replace them all.
When the game was new on location, ball traps were found on top of castle towers and on the dragon body between the wings. Therefor a set of clear plastic protectors was released to avoid this, but not all machines have them installed.
- Trolls. These are game-specific parts. As the assembly is large and heavy, check it's not broken and still works fine (trolls stay above the playfield and register hits).
- Drawbridge. The hinge can get damaged by balls which hit it. The motor or its gears can wear. The metal gate also get worn by balls which slam into it but you can repaint it (repro gates are under construction).
Default catapult assembly as used on other games. Often is worn (not powerful enough).
More important: sometimes the metal ramp in which balls are flung is broken.
All other coils/assemblies are not very game-specific (except for the divertor on the right damsel ramp) or don't often break.
Put a flat piece of foam on the metal part which stops balls shot at the merlin hole. This stop pinballs better, so they don't roll out back onto the playfield, and also makes the ball roll less around in the saucer so it wears less.
Medieval Madness shipped like other WPC-95 games with a manual, wpc95 schematics, warranty card and a small operators manual. I don't know the contents of the 'goodie bag', probably only flipper rubbers, fuses and light bulbs, no promo plastics or slingshots ?
The promo plastics for this game consist of a plastic catapult one can construct to shoot small plastic items which are featured in the game (skull, bowling ball, ..), and three flags.
Ed Cheung has an interesting website where he documents his Medieval Madness restoration and modifications.