Thanks to Wil Angenent for the picture and Marc Weiand for game details.

The first picture of Stern's next game - The Sopranos - was released today.

Curiously, this backglass image is a very slight re-working of the cover of The Sopranos- A Family History, a book about the series by Allen Rucker and available here at e-merchandise.

But what about the rest of the game?

Although the cabinet artwork is very striking and attractive with its black and white starkness and blood red logo, it too is not original and can be purchased as a poster also at e-merchandise amongst others.

Let's take a closer look at that playfield.

If the cabinet is largely monochromatic, the playfield is a riot of colour.

In the current Playmeter magazine, Josh and Zach Sharpe describe the game as a basic fan of eight shots: the Sleep With The Fishes kickout on the far left, a left orbit leading to either the right orbit or the upper rollover lanes into the pop bumpers, then comes the Bada Bing left ramp which feeds the ball to the left inlane, an inner loop, the main centre shot to a model safe, the Stugots ramp named after Tony's boat, a right ramp which feeds the right inlane and the right loop.

The aim is to become The Boss. You do this by completing eight specific tasks shown by the eight red playfield inserts around the Under Boss insert above. The tasks are: Advance to Under Boss rank, Collect a Stugots Multiball super jackpot, acquire sufficient Bada Bing awards, hijack sufficient trucks, bury enough bodies, get enough Sleep with Fishes, complete all the episodes and collect enough rollover lane multipliers.

You can see that the right Stugots ramp has a drop target in front. Repeatedly hitting this lights the ramp for locks in the boat and then multiball. During multiball you can re-lock a ball to raise the drop target and light the ramp for Super Jackpot which you will need to become The Boss. You might like to Google to find out what "stugots" actually means.

The main toy is the safe in the centre of the playfield. If you shoot it enough times you can advance rank and the safe opens to reveal a kickout behind. The other toy of note is the talking fish over the Sleep With The Fishes kickout on the left. The fish features in Tony's hallucinations but gives the player advice in this game.

Completing the rollovers not only awards a bonus multiplier but collects one of the R.I.P. people shown on the backboard. You need to collect them all to light the corresponding red insert and advance towards Boss.

The Bada Bing ramp needs to be shot repeatedly to light it again for an award. The ball is stopped next to the two pole dancers so you can admire the view while collecting your award. Collect enough awards to complete.

Likewise, repeatedly shooting the right ramp will increase the number of buried bodies towards the target number needed to light your red insert.

Truck hijacks are achieved by shooting the loops three times to start a hijack hurry-up. Shoot the loop again to collect the award and increase you hijack total towards the number required.

The main modes are called Episodes and there is one for each season of the show. They are started from the centre loop and each one requires a different combination of shots to complete. Play them all to get your red light.

While the software comes from Lyman Sheats, the game designer is not mentioned, though it is almost certainly by George Gomez. The game features custom speech from the main characters and is available in three different profanity levels: G, PG and R-rated with increasing levels of swearing. Whether a little swearing is more offensive than burying bodies and hijacking trucks is up to the player to decide.

So that our first look at the game. Expect more details and a full review before long.


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© Pinball News 2005