Repairs, Restorations, Tweaks and Insights
About a year and a half before I got Creature, I asked if anyone in the local pinball group wanted to trade a Creature for my nice Star Trek: The Next Generation (here). Since there were no takers, I moved on, keeping my STTNG, and even fixed it up more. Since then I kept an eye open for a Creature, but couldn't find one for what I considered a reasonable price. A lot of Creatures seem to be "shopped" and selling for big bucks.
I ended up getting Creature by asking if anyone had one for sale locally. Luckily a nearby collector had one. I went to see it, and now it's mine. It is in excellent physical condition, but needs a good cleaning. The hologram is sharp and green, the ramps and the plastics are not cracked!
Here are some interesting aspects of Creature...
Cabinet and translite are awesome!
Excellent moving hologram of the creature during multiball. This is truly a perfect way to capture the "3-D" aspect of the theme!
Cool winding ramps on playfield
Drive in movie theme is integrated into the game exceptionally well
Fun, eye catching, playfield art
Cool chaser lamps on one of the ramps
Two VUKs (vertical up kicker)
The Music! Sure, you are going to say "Jeesh! This sounds like a synth from the early 1990s." Well, the game is from late 1992! The music fits the game very well.
Sure do! It takes some effort to get a good picture of the hologram. The image below is the best I was able to accomplish. There is really quite a bit of detail on him when you see him in person!
In a nutshell, a light source exists in the far back of the cabinet. The light is funneled through a tube-like box towards a mirror near the front of the cabinet. Two images of the light source are shown below, followed by two images of the mirror.
This mirror on the front of the cabinet reflects the light up toward the playfield and onto the hologram. The hologram is attached to the black object that looks like a picture frame in the image below. When you look down through the translucent plastic, you see the illuminated Creature from the Black Lagoon hologram. Very cool!
The mirror is attached to a motor which changes the direction of the reflected light. This causes the Creature to appear to move back and forth. Additionally, the hologram is connected to a motor that slightly presses a section of the hologram forward. This causes the creature's hand to appear to move toward you.
Within a day of bringing Creature home, the "slide" VUK stopped working. It turned out to be a simple problem. One of the wires to the solenoid had broken off. Here is a picture of the offending solenoid (after the repair)
Yes, but not a ton. First, here is a picture of one of the lamp PCBs before and after cleaning. All the lamp PCBs have been cleaned.
The following shows the "FILM" inserts before and after cleaning. In the first picture, I had already cleaned the leftmost insert. All the inserts have been cleaned.
The subway ramp was dirty. I don't have a picture showing it before cleaning, but here is the cleaned result.
Normally when I pick up a used pin, there are no coin mechanisms. This isn't always the case, but I certainly don't expect them to be there when I open the coin door. Strictly speaking, this was true for Creature. It did not have any coin mechanisms. It did, however, come with a dollar bill validator! Just in case you haven't seen one, here are some pictures.
It is a Mars VFM2-L1 mechanism. It seems to accept a dollar bill about 25% of the time. I haven't investigated what can be done to improve its reliability
Here is a nice big picture!
Yes! Here it is.