Stern Metallica Pinball Machine Review

Metallica pinball machine

Metallica frontman James Hetfield poses with a Metallica pinball machine / Ars Technica

The Stern Metallica pinball machine is a popular and best-selling game, and a classic among pinball fans. It’s especially beloved if you grew up listening to Metallica during your teenage and college years.

This machine is based on the trailblazing metal band which has sold over 110 million records worldwide. They’re well-known for revolutionizing the metal industry and shaping it for what it is today. Formed in 1981, it has produced some of the most important heavy metal songs, such as “Master of Puppets”, “One”, “Four Horsemen”, and many more. And what’s really cool is – the pinball machine includes all of these songs! They complement the game beautifully, as the fast pace of pinball is matched with the electrifying Metallica soundtrack.

In this post, we’re going to do a full review of the Stern Metallica pinball machine, the Pro Edition. We’ll go through all of the features, gameplay, and design of the machine. Then we’ll look at customer satisfaction – what do people think of the Metallica pinball machine? Lastly, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the machine, and whether it’s worth the price.

Metallica pinball machine for sale

Unboxing and Set-up

The pinball machine weighs around 272 pounds, and it will be delivered in a large cardboard box, with dimensions of about 27 x 35 x 40 inches. This is the compressed size; when you set it up, it’s gonna be bigger and taller. Setting up the machine is fairly easy, though it would be best to have at least a couple people around. Getting the machine out of the heavy box, moving it to the desired place, and propping it up requires a bit of manpower. There is an instruction manual given, which details how to set up and install the pinball machine in your house. It basically tells you how to move the pinball machine, take off all the packaging, unscrew the bolts, un-fold it so that it’s standing upright, and plug it into a power supply. The final dimensions of the pinball machine will be 55 x 27 x 75.5 inches. At a height of about 6.3 feet, it’s taller than the average person.

Funnily, when I installed my Metallica pinball machine in the room, I noticed there’s a removable note at the top. It’s sort of a warning, about the use of adult language and swear words in the game. That’s when I thought “This game is gonna be awesome”. The note also says that you can turn off this censor, and the game will play without any swear words. This is useful for when there are any small children around the house while you’re playing the game.

At the front of the pinball machine, there’s a helpful little section that gives you some basics and tips on how to play this game. It has descriptions of the different terminology the game uses, and different techniques and maneuvers that you can use to advance through the game. You can open the backdoor to tighten up the loose bolts, and check to make sure all the wires all in place. Once the pinball machine is set up and plugged in, it’s ready to play.

Features

The Stern Metallica pinball machine has toys in the playfield which were custom-made by Stern and Metallica together. They worked together to craft unique toys that blend the Metallica theme and atmosphere into a pinball machine. Some of the toys include a ball-eating snake which serves as an obstacle; it can eat up your pinball. It then ejects the pinball after the penalty. There are illuminated grave markers to guide you throughout the game, in classic Metallica fashion. The playfield has many parts that are made out of stainless steel. Whether it was intentional or not, it complements the heavy metal theme of the game. The stainless steel ramp, as well as the stand-up targets, are strategically placed to give the pinball a challenging obstacle. There’s a study-looking metal wire ramp which launches the pinball into action, at the beginning of the game.

The artwork and design is something that has to be talked about, because it’s amazing. Both Stern and Metallica have adeptly collaborated to create a slick and cool design that turns the playfield into a Metallica world. The playfield is backlit with a bright blue light, and there are streaks of lightning etched on the base of the playfield. All the toys are durable, and they can withstand countless blows from the steel pinballs. The design cleverly displays the classic Metallica tropes, such as lightning, fire, tombstones, and demons. There are 2 stylized M’s engraved on both of the steel ramps, in the traditional Metallica-style logo. In the middle of the field, there’s stylized cartoon artwork of the four original band members – James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo. At the front and top of the playfield is a bobblehead toy strapped to an electric chair. When your pinball hits its targets, it wobbles and shakes as if its being shocked by electricity. Pretty cool.

The soundtrack of the pinball machine plays during the gameplay, and you have control over it. It contains 12 copyrighted and official Metallica songs. The songs are of varying tempos, and they automatically play to match the tempo of the game. The soundtrack also features custom speech tracks from members of the band. The music and sound effects of the game are immersive and a treat for Metallica fans.

Gameplay

The gameplay of this pinball machine is similar to other pinball games by Stern. The several obstacles and targets throughout the game make it a fun and exciting experience. With narration and score-keeping from the scoreboard, you don’t have to do much except kick ass at pinball. The game will guide you through the different levels and announce your score and the level names. The Metallica songs play in the background, and they really take the game to a whole new level. Metallica’s metal songs synchronize really well with the game, especially due to their fast tempo drums and loud vocals and guitars. Playing the game immerses you into what feels like a Metallica concert, and you experience the same energy and excitement as you would at a concert.

One of the most impressive parts of the gameplay is the special effect of lightning. The bobblehead, strapped to the electric chair, has two lightning balls next to it. When you score a special win and advance to the next level, all the lights on the playfield turn off, except the three lights that are engraved by lightning bolts. The bobblehead is “electrocuted” as the lights that resemble lightning are flashed. It looks like real lightning is striking on the field, and it was a part I really liked about the game.

One of the special levels is known as the Multiball level. This is when 4 pinballs are simultaneously in the playfield, and you have to control them and score the highest possible, while trying not to let any of them fall through. The game ends when you beat the high score, and all the pinballs have fallen through. It’s an insane level which will keep you on the edge of your toes. The Multiball level is one of the hardest levels, but it can also get you the highest score, since you’re playing with 4 pinballs instead of 1.

 

Pros, Cons, & User Satisfaction

Pros

  • Authentic and nostalgic experience for Metallica fans, as Metallica worked with Stern together on this pinball machine.
  • The artwork and design is well-made and uses many Metallica symbolism, such as lightning, fire, and tombstones.
  • The energy and excitement of playing the game is reminiscent of a heavy metal concert.
  • There are countless modes and levels to keep the player from being bored or quitting.
  • The Pro Edition is very affordable and is sold at a good price for its features.

Cons

  • For first-time pinball players, the machine can be hard to set-up as it’s heavy and it requires some tweaking and tightening of bolts/wires.
  • It would be nice if it came with a cleaning and maintenance kit, so we wouldn’t have to get our own or use tools around the house.
  • It’s geared towards Metallica fans, so someone who doesn’t like Metallica or their music might not be able to get into it as much.

User Satisfaction

I looked around the web to see what other people are saying about this pinball machine. On Pinside, it currently has a user rating of 8.5/10, based on an average of 547 ratings. The categories that received the highest score were Artwork and Game design. Some users said they found the game a bit too complex for casual gameplay. There were also a few complaints about the toys; that they should be of better quality and be more varied by including shakers and LED lights. But overall, the reviews were very positive. The Internet Pinball Database also gives it a positive rating, currently a 7.8/10 based on 19 ratings.

People generally agreed with me that the best parts about this game are its design, artwork, music, and the way it incorporates the Metallica theme.  A Reddit user, damageinc55, showcased their awesome collection of Metallica pinball machines.

A Reddit User’s Metallica Pinball Machines

My overall opinion on the pinball machine is that it’s a solid machine with plentiful features and fun gameplay. It’s a must-have for anyone who’s a fan of both pinball and Metallica.

My Rating: 4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

Summary & Final Thoughts

The pinball machine showcases several of Metallica’s iconic trademarks, such as heavy metal guitars, electricity, fire, and demons. It plays many of its classic songs, so it functions as a stereo as well as a pinball game. It has an engaging gameplay with several features.

The many features include an electronic scoreboard, voice-over commentary recorded by Metallica, 12 copyrighted songs, toy targets, a bobblehead, a mystery target, a ball-eating snake, stainless steel ramps, and multiple levels.It has the option to be coin-operated. This means you can play it for free whenever you want, or set it so that it can only be played when a coin is inserted. This makes it a great attraction for visitors and customers, and can even make you money.

The artwork, design, special effects, and sound effects blend in expertly and they create an energizing and immersive experience. It may be hard to get the hang of it, if you’re a new pinball player. The package could use some extras, like a cleaning kit, which is convenient for maintaining the machine properly.

See the product page for more details, such as the price, warranty, and shipping. The one that I received operates in a standard 110 Volt AC cord and has a 9-month warranty. There are other editions of the Metallica pinball machine that you can explore, such as the Premium edition.

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