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Elvira was a new game on me when I bought it, not surprising as it seems to have been a low production run, though this is a shame as it's a really fun and funny game from one of my favourite designers - Dennis Nordman.

First impression is that it looks fun.... It's bright and colourful and is plastered with superb characters all over it, dominated by the gloriously buxom Elvira herself. She adorns the backbox in a very sexy, plunging black outfit showing acres of cleavage, she sprawls out along both sides of the cabinet, and she glares out of the playfield from between the flippers too.

Closer inspection of both the backbox and playfield reveals a multitude of funny creepy monsters and tongue-in-cheek jokes....in fact the closer you look, the more you see. Hats off to Greg Freres for the usual high standard.

On top of this, the game is packed with unusual ideas never seen on a pinball machine before... ...and in some cases not since either

"Ooh - Nice Organ". OK, so it looks good, now how does it sound? Chris Granner is on the credits and it's a typically quality offering with some perfect catchy tunes enhancing different moods from spooky to celebratory. I especially like "Elvira's Theme" - not quite up to there with the Whitewater high score music but close.

The speech is great quality as Elvira and Dracula talk and taunt you throughout with some cute, risque, funny, and sometimes even useful sound-bytes. If you've played the much later Scared Stiff you'll recognise some of the samples.

The styling of the cabinet is like that of Bally games of that era with a the speaker panel above the blackglass with the twin displays horizontally across the bottom of the larger-than usual backglass. The artwork is typically Greg Freres and lives up to his superb comical styling used in Dr.Dude and Party Zone (both also Nordman games). Greg's one of my favourite pinball artists so I'm biased.

Enough about how it looks, how does it play? In a word - excellent - it has a wide range of shots, easy and difficult, plenty to shoot at. Lots of things to do and toys to play with such as the boogiemen (crazy rubber monsters who boogie up and down with their arms flailing), the Deadheads (weirdo hippies who appear in mirrors at the back of the table), a set of party monster drop targets, and the barbeque flip up(!) targets - 'Chief Cook' and 'Chief Kook'.

When I bought my game, it was dirty, lots of bulbs were out - in fact ALL of the flashers, and had assorted other faults - broken wires/chopped cables/unfunctioning switches and a grimey, slow drop-target bank that needed a rebuild. That's OK because I always completely strip my games then clean and rebuild them. This one proved very easy to work on and very rewarding too - most things are easily accessible

The transformation was incredible - especially in the light shows. Let me tell you that replacing all the flashers (WITH THE CORRECT BULB!) was the single biggest (and easiest) improvement I made - the light shows are awesome and some of the best I've seen on any game - the Multiball and Replay shows are especially impressive.

In conclusion, I think Elvira and the Party Monsters is a MAD game - total wackiness (is that a word) and I've got to say I like a lot - it's fun, funny, spooky, and one of the best looking and best sounding games of the era. It really stands out in my game room and people are drawn to it because it just looks fun. Some of the best people in pinball were involved in creating it and that shows.

All the above is my personal opinion - Agree/Disagree? Drop me a line here.

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fez@extraball.co.uk
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last updated 16 Jun 2010