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Pinball: Medieval Madness
"I am the King of Payne! Welcome to my kingdom!"note 

Medieval Madness is a Williams Pinball machine designed by Brian Eddy, with artwork by John Youssi and Greg Freres, and released in June 1997. The player must defeat six enemy kings and their castles, ending the tyrannical rule of the King of Payne. This is done by visiting each castle, hammering its drawbridge, then breaking open the front gate and storming in.

Along the way, the player will also fight dragons, rescue maidens, participate in jousts, and rally angry peasants. Two trolls will periodically pop out of the playfield to menace the player, but Merlin the wizard is nearby to help. It's all played for laughs, with clever writing by Scott Adsit and Kevin Dorff of Chicago's Second City.

In 2013, Rick Bartlett of Planetary Pinball Services announced plans for a Limited Edition rerun of Medieval Madness, with improvements including a better sound system, built-in support for LED lighting, double hard coating, and a shaker motor. The one thousand units sold out in less than three hours, prompting him to announce plans for a standard edition several days later. A partnership between Planetary Pinball, Chicago Gaming Company, and Stern Pinball to assemble the remakes was announced in 2014.

A digital version of the game is available as part of FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade collection.


This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The catapult fires bowling balls, cats, chickens, cows, and Skull the Bone Head.
  • The Alcoholic: The Duke of Bourbon.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: At least, the valley girl does.
    "Thanks. Um, do you have a horse?"
  • Alliterative Title
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for laughs throughout the game.
    Rioting Peasant: "They took our pinball machines!"
    Lord Howard Hurtz: "I wish someone would invent the gun."
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: The Magic Shield; if your ball drains too soon after launch, Merlin gives you another one.
    "Don't move."
  • Awful Wedded Life: The peasants, apparently. When one of the rioting peasants shouts, "They took our wives!", all the other peasants start cheering like crazy.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: One of the princesses is very happy to be rescued by the knight...
    "Biiiig dragon! But I bet you're bigger!"
  • Big Word Shout: This may happen when you start the troll mode. It might be the peasants doing it or might be the King of Payne.
  • Black Knight: You fight five of them during castle multiball.
  • Brawn Hilda: The "Opera singer" princess.
    "Yoohoo! Mein helmet has horns!"
  • Breath Weapon: No points for guessing what dragons breathe.
  • The Cameo: Skull the Bone Head from No Fear: Dangerous Sports.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: The princesses, but especially the Valley Girl and Jewish American Princess.
    "Keep that dragon away, it's frizzing my hair!"
    "Why me? Ugh! My hair is frizzing, oy."
  • Clucking Funny: A chicken is one of the items you can catapult at the castle.
  • Creator Cameo: Artist Greg Freres did the voice of the jousting announcer.
  • The Don: Lord Howard Hurtz, complete with Brooklyn accent.
    "I'm gonna make you look like an accident."
  • The Dragonslayer
  • Dragons Prefer Princesses
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: Destroying a castle causes it to explode in a mushroom cloud.
  • Everything's Better With Cows: If you launch three cows from the catapult, the Video Mode will be "Save the Calves".
  • French Jerk: Francois du Grimm.
    "I am Francois du Grimm, and I will be rude to you!".
    "Go away, you peasant from another kingdom!"
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Sir Psycho.
    "You're driving me crazier!"
  • Jewish American Princess: One of the damsels to be rescued.
    "What are you, some kind of prince or somethin'?"
  • Large Ham Announcer: The announcer during the jousting tournaments.
    "Sir Loin of Beef / Lanceless / Miss-a-lot / Movensteinnote  charges the center lane!"
  • Laughing Mad: Sir Psycho normally embodies this, but the same thing happens to the King of Payne as you get closer to destroying his castle.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Par for the course in a pinball game. For example:
    "Nice move by / Sir Loin of Beef!"
    • Subverted in that most lines (with the exception of the "...charges the center lane" quote) are recorded in one take rather than recording each part separately and piecing them together.
  • Match Sequence: As a pair of numbers quickly flash, an arrow is fired from off-screen, skewering a roasted marshmallow and stopping the numbers.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Shooting ramps consecutively prompts Skull to appear. He's also one of the things fired from the catapult.
    • One of only two game-opening lines that isn't spoken by the King of Payne is "It's a great day for jousting!", referencing the opening line of Indianapolis 500.
  • Punny Name: Lots, especially the Kings and knights. Lampshaded by Lord Howard Hurtz:
    "You wanna know why they call me Howard Hurtz? LORD, Howard Hurtz!
  • Psycho for Hire: Sir Psycho, naturally.
  • Rabble Rouser: Inciting the peasants to revolt is one of the central goals.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Merlin, almost always.
    "It's not tragic, you have Merlin's magic!"
  • Save the Princess
  • Score Multiplier: You can start with a 5x (or higher) multiplier by making the Skill Shot. The multiplier can be further increased by rolling over just two lanes; bonus multipliers beyond 30x are not unheard of.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Occasionally, whenever you shoot the Damsel ramp, you can hear "Toasty!" (on the second shot) and "Fatality!" (on the third shot). Sound designer Dan Forden worked on both Mortal Kombat and Medieval Madness.
    • One of the jousting quotes references NBA Jam. "Sir ______ with the lance! BOOM SHAKALAKA!"
    • A reference to the spiritual predecessor Attack from Mars by the peasants: "They took our livestock and treasured historical monuments!"
      • One possible intro dialogue for Trolls! is "Trolls rule!" "That's right! Rule the universe!" Rule The Universe is the Wizard Mode in Attack From Mars.
    • One of the princesses is a pastiche of Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady.
    "The rahyn in Spahyn... oh, just save me!"
    • The inclusion of Francois du Grimm may be a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail's French taunting, but a more overt reference to the movie is said by one of the peasants.
      Peasant Leader: THEY TOOK OUR SHRUBBERY!
    • One of the quotes at the start of a game is "It's a great day for jousting!", a reference to a similar quote from Indianapolis 500.
  • Sir Verba Lot: One of the knights in the jousting tournament is "Sir Miss-A-Lot".
  • Skill Shot: Shooting the flashing lane at launch gives 50K points (incrementing 10K each time) and adds 5 to the bonus multiplier (making it 6x if there is no held bonus multiplier). The Super Skill Shot which can be activated by holding down the left flipper while launching the ball will score 100K points as soon as a shot is made and start a Castle Hurry-Up for up to 1M.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Earl of Ego.
    "I am the Earl of Ego, and I am far superior to you."
  • Smart Bomb: The Troll Bombs, which are available during "Trolls!" They're similar to the Martian Bombs from Attack from Mars.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: One of Lord Howard Hurtz's introductory clips is "I'm Lord Howard Hurtz, who the [BEEP] are you?" An operator control allowed the unbleeped version instead.
  • Spiritual Successor: Of Attack from Mars.
  • Storming the Castle: Done literally, as the player must batter down the drawbridge and smash the gates before a castle can be destroyed.
  • Summon Magic: The trolls are summoned by Payne with bolts of lightning.
  • Those Two Guys / Those Two Bad Guys: The trolls.
    Troll 1: "We eat you for lunch!"
    Troll 2: "With croutons and sprouts!"
  • Torches and Pitchforks
  • Treasure Room: Defeating the five knights during multiball and then shooting the left castle wall will reveal a treasure room that scores a Super Jackpot.
  • Valley Girl: One of the princesses.
    "This is, like, totally medieval!"
  • Video Mode: After spelling out the F-I-R-E rollover eight times, visit Merlin to start Video Mode. A flock of falcons attacks a group of children, and you must move your character left and right to fend them off. There are 30 falcons all together, but beating 20 falcons yields an Extra Ball.
  • We Have Reserves: Francois du Grimm's reaction after his castle gets destroyed:
    "Big deal! I have another one just like it down the road!"
  • Whack A Monster: The two Trolls in front of the castle work like this generally, but the Smack-a-Troll mode is the straightest example.
  • Wizard Mode: Battle for the Kingdom, a two-stage, four-ball multiball which is available after achieving the six major achievements shown on the playfield. All of the major shots (both loops and ramps, the Catapult, and the Castle Lock) are lit for a Battle Jackpot value of 5 million points, and after hitting all the major shots, the player has to destroy the castle for a 50 million point bonus.

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