Five years after Data East's own table, Sega Pinball returned to the galaxy far, far away with Star Wars Trilogy, released at the same time as the Special Edition of the original films. Designed by Joe Kaminkow and Joe Balcer with artwork by Morgan Weistling, the game came out in March 1997 just as the Special Editions finished playing in theaters.
The most prominent features of the playfield are the spaceships, with the player's X-Wing facing off against Vader's TIE Advanced; a turbolaser turret fires between them, while a frozen Han Solo sits on the lower-right side. There are six tasks that the player must complete, such as scoring various jackpots, performing heroic deeds, and thawing Han from the carbonite. Only then can the player confront Darth Vader by loading a pinball into the X-Wing, knocking down his phalanx of TIE fighters, then scoring a direct hit on his ship. Use the Force to light the jackpot and try for the Millenium Falcon's multiball, but be prepared to test your knowledge of Star Wars trivia. Operators could add extra visual appeal by choosing a 3D lenticular backbox print instead of the standard one.
Fans are divided over whether they prefer this pinball or Data East's table. Proponents of Star Wars Trilogy speak of its uncluttered playfield, more balanced gameplay, and fun toys. The biggest flaw for this pinball is arguably its reliability, as a number of owners will point out problems with loose parts and unreliable mechanisms that require frequent maintenance.
This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Anti-Frustration Feature: If you start X-Wing Multiball but drain two balls without even one attempt at shooting for the Jackpot, the ramp and the X-Wing saucer will light for 15 seconds; hit either one, and the game will automatically launch a ball to resume multiball.
- Difficulty Levels: The player can choose from normal play or "novice" mode, which gives unlimited balls for the first two minutes (the game ends when the ball drains after the time expires). Holding the flipper buttons when pressing Start also enables "League" and "Wizard" modes.
- Flunky Boss/Shielded Core Boss: Darth Vader's target is hidden behind a set of TIE Fighter dropdown targets.
- Match Sequence: A sandcrawler tube is lowered over R2-D2 and sucks him up, leaving a number behind.
- Moral Dissonance: Invoked by some of the game modes. This is most egregious in Leia's "Heroic Mode" mission, where she wins by strangling Jabba the Hutt.
- Obvious Beta: Some of the game effects suggest that the title was rushed out of the door. For instance, the "Bounty Hunter" mode features an animated display of Boba Fett pointing to a random selection, but the result is always "Video Mode".
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The Heroic Modes, which have six different tasks, one for each of the main characters: Luke, Leia, Han, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Chewbacca, and Obi-Wan.
- Space Is Noisy
- Spelling Bonus: F-O-R-C-E and F-A-L-C-O-N.
- Timed Mission: The "Hurry Up" modes.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Thawing Han out of Carbonite requires answering Star Wars trivia questions.
- Video Mode: Ride your speeder bike, dodge trees, and run over Stormtroopers.
- Wizard Mode: "The Redemption of Darth Vader", which is only available after completing the game's six goals. Starting it invokes a two-ball multiball mode for 50 seconds. During this time, the player must load one pinball into the X-Wing, use the second pinball to hit the dropdown targets in front of Vader, then launch the first ball through the resulting hole.