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 Black Knight: Sword of Rage

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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror
The House of Ainsley

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Black Knight: Sword of Rage Empty
PostSubject: Black Knight: Sword of Rage   Black Knight: Sword of Rage Icon_minitimeMon Jun 03, 2019 6:38 am

In the beginning, there was Black Knight (produced by Williams, 1980).  And it was good, although the Black Knight's voice was a bit monotoned and robotic, and not very appealing.  It was one of the first games to include a raise playfield above the main playfield, and it was also one of the first games to feature Magna Save, a mechanism through which you could save your ball from the dreaded exit lanes by mashing the Magna Save button in a timely manner, thus pulling your ball back over the nearest flipper lane with the power of magnetism.  And it was good.

Then came Black Knight 2000 (produced by Williams, 1989).  It included an even snazzier split playfield, more targets (including a "drawbridge" which you could knock down in order to shoot some balls up in there and kick off the Triple Multiball).  The Magna Save returned, but it only covered the right exit lane; for the left exit lane, there was a "Kickback" feature where a hidden plunger would smack your ball back out of the exit lane and into the main deck; it only worked once per ball (unless you earned another Kickback through gameplay, I believe), so if your ball ricocheted down that left exit lane again, you were screwed.

But the sound was Black Knight 2000's most noticeable improvement over the original Black Knight, with a more evocative Black Knight voice and a hard-rocking soundtrack.  I mean, when musicians and bands do musical covers of a pinball game (of all things), you know that it's good!

(Damn it, Sector 8, it's "Beat the Black Knight!"  "BEAT the Black Knight," dagdaggit!  I racked up enough hours of playing BK2k to know that!  Razz  )

In fact, BK2k's music is still so good (30 years later, at that) that from time to time, I'll Loop a YouTube video of the original music or one of its covers and let it play while I'm around the house, washing dishes or sweeping the floors or whatever.  So imagine my surprise when I got on YouTube yesterday to Search for some BK2k music and discovered that, about a month or two ago, Stern (who apparently has the rights to the Black Knight pinball franchise now) released a second sequel about a month or two ago: Black Knight: Sword of Rage.

Black Knight: Swords of Rage comes in three versions: the Pro (cheapest and most common, I believe), the Premium and the Limited Edition (the rarest, with only 600 units being made).  The two videos above showcase the Pro version and the Premium version, respectively, and the most notable difference between the two is that the Premium has a fully fledged upper playfield, while the Pro does not; it has a few chutes crossing over the main playfield, but it doesn't have an upper deck, and it certainly doesn't have a third flipper on that upper deck, which in my humble opinion is nothing short of filthy heresy.  At least the Magna Save came back, though I don't quite see the Kickback feature's return.  Two interesting additions to BK:SoR are the video screen on the backboard (with animated characters, words and numbers to highlight what's going on), and the Black Knight toy in the center playfield; at times he'll lower his shield to block one of the lanes (and that's bad enough), and at other times he'll start spinning his flail, which not only blocks one of the ramps but will smack your ball and send it rocketing right back at you, possibly right between your flippers and out of play!  So be careful with that Black Knight; he's a crafty bugger.  Wink

The game also has a bit more personality this time around, with the Black Knight's voice throwing out more taunts if you screw up (like letting a ball go blasting down an exit lane) and reacting to more of your actions.  Take a little break before launching the ball?  "You're wasting my time!"  Bump or jostle the cabinet?  "ARRGH!  Knock it off!"  Feed the game more quarters?  "Yes!  More gold!" or "Give me your money!"  And to my delight, the Black Knight 2000 theme song is back; the voices are different, and the rhythm is a bit different too.  But it's the same tune, just with a different tread.  "You've got the power!  (HA HA HA HA HA!)  You've got the might!  (No way!)  Get ready for battle!  (Give me your money!)  Beat the Black Knight!  (HA HA HA HA HA!)"

I'm hoping that I get a chance to play Black Knight: Sword of Rage soon.  Have any of you had that opportunity yet?
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