Author Topic: Stern KISS LE Review  (Read 2025 times)

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Offline Strangeways

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Stern KISS LE Review
« on: September 22, 2015, 01:20:07 PM »
This is my own personal KISS LE #395. It is my first NIB purchase. Here is my review of the game after playing 50 games.

Here's my unboxing thread - http://aussiepinball.com/index.php?topic=14157.0




First of all - some context to my review. I am one of those rabid fans in the KISS Army. I was an active collector. I stopped collecting and spending money on KISS after the "Farewell" tour of 2001. I did go to the Symphony Show in 2004 at Etihad and the last concert I attended was the 2014 Etihad Show. I've pretty much put my cue in the rack int terms of spending money on KISS - Unless it is related to the original line up.

Second of all - I'm not a massive fan of stern games. I'm not a stern Fanboi, or a Stern basher. My favorite Sterns are the classic Sterns. However, Ironman, Spiderman and CSI are favorites. I did a review of TWD LE in January. I DO like the game, but I would not own one.

I knew KISS was being done in 2015. Not from Stern, but from music industry people I know. My view always was that if the game represented the classic original line up, it would be a massive seller. If it featured the current tribute band line up, it would be a massive mistake.

When I saw the first photos, I was blown away. It represented the Original line up, but did have subtle references to the current line up. But the art package had me on the phone to Joe (Kids Just Wanna Have Fun). I ordered my game the moment it was 9:00 AM in Perth.

The Cabinet

Amazing. The classic line up depicted. Cabinet was a throwback to the Solo albums simultaneously released in 1978. Subtle changes, but it is Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter. The flames etc really looked good. It is simple and to the point. No need for high detail here. Everyone knows who it is ! The LE artwork with the gold and silver finish need to be seen in person. The red trim initially put me off. Now that I have the game - I'm leaving it. It really looks great. The backglass is cool. Again, strong ties back into the original, classic, game. Historically incorrect, as Gene didn't design or play the Axe Bass until 1982. The stage drawings are of the 1978 Love Gun tour. That's Ace on the backglass and clearly not Peter behind the drums as he didn't play a double bass. I don't really care.

Backglass should be a real backglass. But it still looks great.

Cabinet is a 10/10.

Playfield

Hand drawn with the colour scheme of the original machine. It is mainly a black background with the reds and yellows from the original palette.The drawings are excellent. There's flash bombs and explosions - everything you would associate with the live show circa 1978.

The design is very well laid out. The moment you serve the ball, you are in the game. Unlike TWD - where you calibrate your skill shit, then wait 5 minutes for the bell to exit the pops area, KISS is totally different. The only similarity is that the pops are set up similar to TAF. But unlike TWD - the ball drops onto the flippers or is thrown randomly. Gene's head is smaller than I though, but is 100% better than a bash toy. The spinning effect is totally random, and not as "violent" as I initially thought. If you hit the two targets at the entrance to the head, you active the lock. Do this three times for "Demon multiball". The LE has a real 3 ball lock as opposed to the PRO that has a virtual lock. The only thing about the head mechanism I HATE - These designers are damn stupid. When the Demon muntiball starts, the head spits out the balls - SDTM. How dumb are the designers and testers ? Point the damn thing at a flipper ! Demon Multiball usually starts with the three balls draining in quick succession and then relaunched. The starchild area is one VERY hard shot - and this is the theme with the game (early code) - it is HARD. The drop target does nothing except pop up and down depending on whether the ball is in that area or nit. It does not seem integrated yet. Ramps are smooth. Center ramp is VERY easy, right ramp a lot harder. The Drop targets are hard to hit, but come into play alot anyway. If you drop all targets, you get the "front row" lit on the LHS outlane. This is effectively a ball save. The centre KISS, instruments, characters lights don't do much. If you knock down the DTs and kit the RHS spot targets, it lights the corresponding insert. The inserts also change colours, depending on how many times you have hit the corresponding targets. It is really hard to work out what the other inserts do at this stage. Suffice to say that even with the glass off and hitting everything lit, it is impossible to advance the bouns multiplier and the "Colossal Bonus". But given the the colour changing inserts, there is future rules that can make good use of this part of the game. Pop Bumpers feel a lot better than other games. not sure why - they are the same. The Love Gun mutiball is HARD. You need to spot all the targets in the starchild area and then run up the RHS ramp.

I'm VERY grateful there are no magnets. The game flows so well without magnets and useless video modes. That's the key with this game. It is FAST and flows so incredibly well. No "stop and start" which i dislike in any game.

Demon Mutiball and Love Gun multiball are both cool. Demon multiball is jaw dropping. The playfield goes dark with only selected RED LEDs. Needs to be seen to believe. Once multiball is over the playfield GI etc switches back on. I LOVE it !

After 50 games - I can count "on my hand" the dimples. TWD LE looked like the surface of the moon after 50 games. No comparison. This table is 1000 times better.

Playfield - 9.5/10 - Fix the alignment of the Gene head exit and I'll be happier !

Code needs to be developed as there are a lot of functions not enabled - Bonus multiplier andthe method behind obtaining the characters (revolves around the spinner at the moment !).

Sounds

Unreal. Sounds like a stereo system. Turned it up all the way and i had the neighbours drop in ! AMAZING quality. The VERSIONS of the song were my biggest gripe, but it has more to do with what Stern was permitted to do with the license. Given tracks were from the early albums, the production from album to album was not uniform at all. KISS fans know that "Hotter than Hell" sounds like it was recorded in a basement, and "Creatures of the Night" has a missive Bonham drum sound. The re recordings of the tribute line up means ALL the songs sound uniform in terms of qulity and production. they lack the "vibe" of the original recordings, but I'm happy with it. The call outs are from Gene and Paul. Would have loved Ace or Peter's voice.

Sound package - 10/10

The GOOD

Amazing art package - THE best I've seen on a pinball.
Great theme - KISS fans have effectively bought all the LE's within 48 hours..
Great soundtrack and sound effects
Playfield layout and design is outstanding. Fast, smooth flow and 2 really cool multiballs.

The BAD

The Gene Head needs to be adjusted to point to the flippers.
Bloody EXPENSIVE game.

CODE

Needs a lot of work ONLY because there so much potential with the lighting effect, the multicoloured LEDs on the inserts could be incorporated into the code for various achievements. There needs to be a "Spaceman" and "Catman" multiball. The "Demon multiball" turns the table red. "Spaceman" could turn it blue, and "Catman " Green. so much potential..

VERDICT

If Gene's head was replaced with a Shark and the theme was "Jaws", it would be rated very highly. This game is really only going to be bought and enjoyed by KISS fans, or friends of KISS fans. I'm not sure if a "pinball fan" would buy this game due to the theme. These poor sods don't know what they are missing out on. This game absolutely ROCKS. The layout, artwork and sounds are incredible. To SEE the visual improvements with multicoloured LEDs is worth a game for KISS haters. Take the price out of the equation - it is a killer pinball machine, but as a KISS fan - this game was worth saving up for and waiting for.

On EARLY code - and this NOT because I'm a KISS fan - this game is "as good" as any Stern I've played - yes - it is "as good" as a developed Iron Man or AC/DC. With code updates - this will be the BEST Stern table.

One thing I have noticed - Play KISS LE for 10 games and then TRY to play TWD LE. You KNOW you are playing a Stern table when you play TWD. KISS has a NEW feel to it that I cannot put my finger on. It is FAST, smooth and HARD.

My LE is going home as I need to work on pins and not play them. I have not enjoyed playing a game as much as this game for many years.


With code releases it will be the best Stern by a long stretch. I know it is a big call, but this game plays different that what I would expect from a Stern.

I rate the game as a 9.5/10.
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Offline oldskool1969

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2015, 05:06:59 PM »
If Gene's head was replaced with a Shark and the theme was "Jaws"

Don't know about highly rated, but it sure would be a lot better  <.>

I call Demon multiball, swallow my balls multiball too!  &&
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Offline Cow Corner

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2015, 06:53:21 PM »
If Gene's head was replaced with a Shark and the theme was "Jaws"

Don't know about highly rated, but it sure would be a lot better  <.>

I call Demon multiball, swallow my balls multiball too!  &&

+1
First thing I thought when I saw KISS was a Jaws re-theme.

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Offline mitchjjam

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2015, 11:09:54 PM »
I wonders if there is any adjustment in the head? It is a pain when she goes down the guts trying to get multiball.

Offline skywalker

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2015, 03:42:20 PM »
Well done on the NIB, The LE sure does look impressive, Honest & detailed review also  ^^^

Offline Brunswick Brawler

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2015, 06:14:54 PM »
I wonders if there is any adjustment in the head? It is a pain when she goes down the guts trying to get multiball.

Yes, the left/right angle of Gene's head is adjustable.

I would guess that factory setting is for a level setting on the leg levellers (normal playfield slope).  Gene probably can't spit his fire balls where intended, if the machine is not at the factory slope setting.  That's my guess.


PS.
I saw a KISS LE on the weekend.  Very nice.  Best pinball machine since Metallica, and probably better than Metallica.  (And I'm no KISS or Metallica fan.  They are simply great games)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 06:20:04 PM by Brunswick Brawler »

Offline Strangeways

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 07:55:27 PM »
I wonders if there is any adjustment in the head? It is a pain when she goes down the guts trying to get multiball.

Yes, the left/right angle of Gene's head is adjustable.

I would guess that factory setting is for a level setting on the leg levellers (normal playfield slope).  Gene probably can't spit his fire balls where intended, if the machine is not at the factory slope setting.  That's my guess.


PS.
I saw a KISS LE on the weekend.  Very nice.  Best pinball machine since Metallica, and probably better than Metallica.  (And I'm no KISS or Metallica fan.  They are simply great games)

The assembly can be adjusted. Also, the simple action of holding both flippers at the point of the balls flying out saves them all from draining. I didn't want to do this as it fries the older Stern flippers coil setup. Simple fix.

I think almost everyone has had a game or two and its coming home. My son (on holidays) came to work today and played it for an hour. The attention span for 11 year olds is about 25 seconds these days.. So I was most impressed. But he wants it home now.

Further playing of the game leads be to believe that Stern need to move away from dot animation and upgrade to LCD. This game lacks good animation and was the perfect title to be the first.

The funniest remarks I've had from almost all pinheads - "It does not play like a stern". Not a criticism - just an interesting observation. Consistent with my findings that I almost cannot play TWD LE - it "feels" different. I'm loving my LE - really has rekindled my interest in "playing" rather than working on pinballs.
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Offline oldskool1969

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2015, 08:16:40 PM »
don't have to worry about holding the flippers now with SPIKE setup and I am stoked your youngin likes it too!
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Offline RottyGuy

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 02:46:20 AM »
Doesn't feel/play like a Stern comment gave me a bit of a laugh. I think that's the fanatical KISS mind clouding your judgement. Certainly doesn't have any different feeling as far as I'm concerned. B/W to Stern, yes, Stern to Stern, no.

It's a very good all round package, but far from the likes of LOTR, Spiderman and Metallica as far as I'm concerned. Cabinet art is the biggest let down. Playfield , BG very good, gameplay good, cab art is terrible.

Offline Cow Corner

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 09:38:12 AM »
I didn't think it felt any different to play than any of the other Sterns at Timezone when I played it.
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Offline Caveoftreasures

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2015, 01:44:18 AM »
Kiss pinball in Pro or LE is great.

Stern has hit a lot of home runs for its last half a dozen titles.

Kiss feels and plays nice like ACDC or X Men or Mustang or Star Trek etc etc and the list goes on.
Sterns have felt great for ages.
The budget years of Avatar and Transformers were a bit basic but the rest have been very nice.

Thanks for the review.
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Offline pinsanity

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2015, 08:47:50 AM »
Well done on the NIB, The LE sure does look impressive, Honest & detailed review also  ^^^

Agreed.

A lot better to read a detailed objective review from someone credible like Strangeways and get a proper "feel" for the game itself, rather than the typical meaningless superlatives, mixed metaphors and hilarious malapropisms from the usual fanboys.

The local Stern agent over here had a KISS machine set up in their front showroom when I drove past there yesterday so I might check it out in person this weekend.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:07:54 AM by pinsanity »

Offline GORGAR 1

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Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2015, 12:45:42 PM »
..

Offline andypinboy

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2015, 05:45:09 PM »
Nino, really appreciate your review, but have to say I am surprised (perhaps shocked) at you giving the soundtrack 10/10 given your earlier comments on the pin using the tribute band recordings. What's the deal here? How can it be perfection?
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Offline pinball god

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Re: Stern KISS LE Review
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2015, 05:47:45 PM »
Nino, really appreciate your review, but have to say I am surprised (perhaps shocked) at you giving the soundtrack 10/10 given your earlier comments on the pin using the tribute band recordings. What's the deal here? How can it be perfection?
maybe he's scoring the sound quality as opposed to tracks/performers. Dunno??
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