by DJ B00M

I never cared much for westerns as a kid. However, as an adult I can watch Unforgiven or The Magnificent Seven and appreciate the subtle acting, the beautiful locations and the straight forward “good versus evil” of the stories. But I think it was the “simpler times” aspect that drew me to Cactus Canyon.

Sure the game features four multi-balls, the pop up targets of the ‘bad guys’ (four in all), and even a shoot out at the OK Corral. But it’s the pacing, the sense of accomplishment that drives me to place dollar after dollar into the machine. Granted the game came out in 1998, and it was the last one that Bally/Midway made before the dreaded Pinball 2000 mess that was Mars and Star Wars. But it just has that certain something.

There are some pinball purists that will say that Cactus is nothing more than a toy, that it doesn’t have the true depth that a pin should have. True, it’s not that hard to play. True, the software has a few bugs in it. However, it’s also true that it has one of the best soundtracks I have ever run across, as well as some of the funniest dot graphics I’ve seen in a while. The playfield layout is perfect, and the art work on the machine draws you in from across the room. Then there is the voice work, which is worthy of any Paul Dini cartoon. This game is simply fun to play.

With over 20 modes, or stories, to complete this game always has something to shoot at. In fact, Rosie the barmaid says just that. “Honey, just shoot anything,” she croons. From saving Polly from the mine shaft to battling the Bart brothers, this game is a hoot! Sadly, only 903 of these games were made during the initial production run. A company in Australia is re-issuing the game, with a release date for later this year. But that’s what they said in ‘07.

Some people call it the best game ever or the Holy Grail of pinball. I just call it a good western.