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Pinball / Medieval Madness

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"I am the King of Payne! Welcome to my realm!"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 was reached between Planetary Pinball, Chicago Gaming Company, and Stern Pinball to assemble the remakes, and they were delivered in March 2015.


A digital version of the game was available as part of FarSight Studios' The Pinball Arcade collection until July 1, 2018, when their license to all Williams and Bally tables expired. However, on September 4, 2018, Zen Studios announced that it had gained the rights to this and other WMS tables to be released within Pinball FX3. In particular, this and three other tables (Fish Tales, The Getaway: High Speed II and Junk Yard) were the first to get this treatment.


They took our tropes!:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The catapult fires bowling balls, cats, chickens, cows, and Skull the Bone Head.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Some of the titles you must achieve for Battle for the Kingdom. Castle Crusher, Patron of the Peasants, Defender of Damsels.
  • Adjustable Censorship: There is a Family Mode setting, which censors scenes such as the Dragon Death with the word CENSORED replacing them.
  • 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: Mostly because, when referred to by name, the "Ye Olde" is often left out.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for laughs throughout the game.
    Rioting Peasant: "They took our pinball machines!"
    • Lord Howard Hurts in and of himself, being a New York gangster type.
    Lord Howard Hurtz: "I wish someone would invent the gun."
    • The Valley Girl damsel wears an '80s style tube top and has a telephone hanging on the wall in her dungeon.
    Valley Girl: This is, like, totally medieval!
    • Some of the anachronisms on the backglass include:
      • One of the trolls is wearing basketball sneakers.
      • Someone is spray-painting "the king is a queen" on the castle wall.
      • A UFO is flying above one of the castle towers.
      • Two jousters climbing up the castle are wearing football jerseys.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Magic Shield; if your ball drains too soon after launch, Merlin gives you another one.
    "Don't move."
    • The ramps are split down the middle vertically at the bottom to prevent center drains from shots that don't go all the way up.
  • 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.
    "Now hurry up and marry me so we can get a divorce."
  • 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 "NO!": The King of Payne lets loose with a satisfying one when you complete Battle for the Kingdom, thereby defeating him. Sadly, this isn't present in the Pinball Arcade version, though it is present in the Farsight version.
    • Sir Psycho also might do this when you defeat him, but in that case it's a big "OH NO!"
  • 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.
  • Cap: The bonus multiplier tops out at 250x.
  • 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."
  • Cat Apult: As mentioned above, a cat is one of the five pieces of ammo used by the catapult.
  • Combos:
    • Shooting a shot that ricochets off the right troll into the left castle wall, or the left troll into the Merlin's Magic saucer is a Troll Combo, which will award one troll bomb.
    • When Victory Laps are active, shooting a second shot quickly after getting a Victory Lap awards an Ultra Combo which is worth twice as much as a Victory Lap. Getting back-to-back Ultra Combos increases the Victory Lap value.
    • Completing any of the five major madness shots (Damsel, Peasant, etc.) between the Multiball and Royal Madness rounds triggers a hurry-up bonus. Completing any of these before shooting the castle gate AND the value timing out resets the bonus to a higher starting value.
  • Company Cross References:
    • 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.
    • Spiritual predecessor Attack from Mars gets several nods:
      • The rioting peasants sometimes cry "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 possible quote from the King, after defeating the Trolls:
        "Fools! I told you to use the Atomic Blaster!"
      • Francois du Grimm is basically one giant Shout Out to the Frenchman from Attack From Mars; in addition to the two characters using the exact same voice, about half of the former's lines are Snowclones of the latter's.
    • If you defeat the left Troll during the Trolls! mode, the right one can quip:
    • Occasionally, whenever you shoot the Damsel ramp, you can hear "Toasty!" (on the second shot) and "Fatality!" (on the third shot). (Williams acquired Mortal Kombat developer Midway Games in 1988, and sound designer Dan Forden worked on both games.)
    • Another Midway allusion: the jousting announcer can sometimes shout "BOOMSHAKALAKA!", just like in NBA Jam. (Again, Tim Kitzrow provided voice work for both games.)
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Artist Greg Freres did the voice of the jousting announcer.
    • Musician Dan Forden will occasionally spout his signature "Toasty!" when completing the second for four shots up the Damsel ramp.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anyone who isn't a Large Ham will make up for it with snark to spare.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: When you complete Battle for the Kingdom, the King of Payne rushes out from the ruins of his castle to fight you himself... then stops when just his eyes are on the dot display, does a Big "NO!", and blows up. There’s no explanation for him exploding, but it sure is satisfying.
  • Distressed Damsel: You rescue them to light up Multiball Madness and progress towards Battle for the Kingdom. It's all Played for Laughs, with the damsels' suggestive dialogue, anachronistic speech, and whatnot.
  • The Don: Lord Howard Hurtz, complete with Brooklyn accent.
    "I'm gonna make you look like an accident."
  • The Dragonslayer: The player character takes on this role.
  • Dragons Prefer Princesses: The player must rescue a variety of princesses from the dragon.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: Destroying a castle causes it to explode in a mushroom cloud.
  • 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.
  • I'm a Humanitarian
    Troll 1: Mmmm, human burgers...
  • I Will Tear Your Arms Off: One of Sir Psycho's threats.
  • Jewish American Princess: One of the damsels to be rescued.
    "What are you, some kind of prince or somethin'?"
  • Large Ham: Just about everyone, really.
  • 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.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The "King of Payne" doesn’t sound too friendly, does he?
  • New Game Plus: If Battle for the Kingdom is completed, Victory Laps will be lit (described above). The six titles to reach Battle for the Kingdom will be unlit and must be earned in the same way to reach it again. Each successful completion of Battle for the Kingdom is worth 50M more than the last.
  • Off With Its Head: The third shot up the Damsel ramp shows a dragon's head getting sliced off.
  • On Second Thought: The King of Payne invokes this on a very rare occasion, when challenging his men.
    King of Payne: "You will NEVER defeat Sir Psycho!...well, maybe..."
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: When you destroy a castle, a series of smaller explosions destroy several of the turrets first, then the rest of the castle goes up all at once in an enormous mushroom cloud.
  • Precision F-Strike: "I'm Lord Howard Hurtz; who the [bleep] are you?!
  • 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!note 
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: This table features, among other things, a castle lord who talks like a New York gangster and wishes someone would invent the gun, a jousting match commentated like a modern-day sports game, peasants complaining that "they took our pinball machines", trolls who like "human burgers" with fries on the side, and a Distressed Damsel with a "Valley Girl" accent.
  • Rabble Rouser: Inciting the peasants to revolt is one of the central goals. Word for word on the first insert of the left ramp.
  • Retraux: The remake uses an LCD instead of a DMD. It will zig-zag between simulating a DMD during gameplay or taking advantage of its higher resolution when there are cutscenes.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Merlin, almost always.
    "It's not tragic, you have Merlin's magic!"
  • 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:
    • One of the princesses is a pastiche of Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady.
    "The rahyn in Spahyn... oh, just save me!"
  • 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.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The Castle Hurry-Up theme.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: One of Lord Howard Hurtz's introductory clips is "I'm Lord Howard Hurtz, who the [BEEP] are you?"
  • 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 Joust loops, the Peasant and Damsel ramps, the Catapult, and the Castle Lock) are lit for a Battle Jackpot value of 2,500,000 points, and after hitting all the major shots, the player has to destroy the castle (with each hit worth 5 million points) for a 50 million point bonus. However, unless you have troll bombs ready to destroy them, the trolls will permanently be raised during the mode, making the castle shots harder and more dangerous.
  • World of Ham: A large part of the game's humorous appeal is the sheer over-the-top hamminess of it all.
  • Written Sound Effect: The three shots on the Catapult are Wham, Bam, and Slam. These are displayed on the DMD after each shot is made.
    • Starting Barnyard Multiball will display words based on animal sounds.

Joust announcer: Sir Tropealot with the tropes! BOOM SHAKALAKA!