High Speed

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a game by Williams, Rareware, and Tradewest
Genre: Sports
Platform: NESNES
Editor Rating: 6.3/10, based on 4 reviews
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Pinball Games
High Speed
High Speed
High Speed
High Speed
  • Manufacturer: Tradewest
  • Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System

Dispatch, this is 504...suspect ran a red light, over!

504, this is dispatch...apprehend him.

This exchange should sound very familiar to pinball players. Yes, this game is actually based upon the William's pinball machine of the same name.

High Speed was (and remains) a popular and successful pinball in its coin op incarnation. While there have been a smattering of video-pinball games both for arcade and home, this is the second actual conversion that I know of from an arcade to a home version - the first being Nintendo's Pinbot (also by Williams). Tradewest has included all of the features from the original and has thrown in a few additional challenges and bonus screens to make it more interesting.

The basic premise is the same: as the driver of a red Ferrari, you've got your friendly law-enforcement officers hot on your tail for zipping through a red light. Your object is, simply enough, to escape, which in High Speed means that you must shoot your ball up a playfield ramp twice after completing three banks of targets three times each.

Once you have managed to escape, it's time to go for the jackpot. After your get away, two more balls are brought into play. To score the jackpot, you must have at least two of the three balls still on the playfield, then shoot one of them up the ramp. The jackpot score starts at 250,000 and increases whenever you are in a multiball play mode.

Two "highway" lanes are present, one on each side of the playfield. Their value will increase with each successful trip around the playfield through the lanes. Along with increasing point values, they will light your ball kicker(s).

Sounds like the same old pinball that you are familiar with so far, right? Well, to complicate matters further, a few more obstacles have been added. There are acid patches that glimmer on the surface of the playfield. If your ball lingers in one too long, it will dissolve. A more harmless water puddle will simply slow your ball down, making some shots more difficult. Obviously, these effects aren't possible on "standard" pinball table.

Some of these things go right after the heart of your game - the flippers! Rust balls will dissolve your flipper mounting, causing your flipper to drop off the screen. Ever tried playing pinball with only one functional flipper? Heli-bombs don't waste time with the mountings, they just drop in and explode your flipper, leaving a worthless stub!

Bonus icons appear that will either give you more points (money bags) or set you up for one of two different bonus areas. If you collect either three safes or three helicopters, a large safe or a flying helicopter with a dangling rope will appear. Shoot your ball(s) into them to enter the bonus area.

If you enter the safe, a pachinko-type playfield will appear. You must land one ball in each cup that appears before you either run out of time or out of balls. If you're successful, you will be returned to the regular playfield after receiving a bonus.

If you enter the helicopter area, a small racetrack appears on-screen, and you must use your flippers to try and either hit your car to make it go faster or hit the other three cars to slow them down. Again, a bonus is awarded depending upon how quickly you finish the round.

Once you complete two pachinko levels successfully, or come in second place or better in three races, a fireworks display will appear and one of several special features will be presented.

Another ball-kicker, an extra ball or lightning bombs (which may be used to destroy some of those flipper and ball-munching adversaries that I mentioned earlier) are just some of the features that can be activated by shooting the ball into the saucer.

If you think that pinball can't possibly work on the NES, you must take a look at this game. The graphics are excellent, much better than I expected. Game play is smooth, and it actually has the pinball feel to it - the ball responds as you'd expect generally - and you can nudge the play-field when the ball is about to drain. Also, up to four players may participate.

My only criticism is of the additional obstacles. Most of them get in the way, but aren't really insurmountable. One item really drove me crazy, however. A floating tumbleweed will grab your ball repeatedly and drag it down between your flippers. You must shake the playfield several times to get the ball loose, and after the third or fourth time, the game usually tilts. All of the obstacles may be destroyed by slamming a ball into them, but this guy just keeps coming out! I think having just the normal pinball version without the extras would have boosted the appeal of this game for me.

Criticisms aside, if you are a pinball fan, this is the best pinball for the NES to date, much better than Nintendo's original pinball. Take it for a spin, and see what you think!

Download High Speed


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

Game Reviews

  • Manufacturer: Tradewest
  • Machine: Nintendo
  • Type: Pinball
  • Release: July 1991
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Based on the popular Williams pinball machine, High Speed takes pinball action in a new direction. All of the original goals and bumper placements are intact, but Tradewest has added a few new tricks up their sleeve. Ball-hogging power surges, safehouses, and multiball play combine to make High Speed one of the toughest pinball simulations to beat to date. Also included are inventive bonus stages!!

People say:


If you already have Pin-Bot, then you'll know exactly what to expect from High Speed. The set-up is the same, only with a new playfield and the inclusion of some new bonus rounds. The game looks good but the play is a little frustrating when the game quits becoming a pinball title.


I like pinball games and this one is a good representation of the classic. There are a lot of good features not found on other flippers, and I especially liked the bonus levels. There is always something t o shoot for and the enemies are a nice touch to make it play harder.


Based on the pinball of the same name, High Speed is a pretty cool game. While it seems like a PinBot clone there are new features and some pretty cool graphics. The music isn't nearly as good as the coin-op. Not too bad, but not spectacular.


Hot on the train of cool, clean, pinball fun? If so, here is another addition to Nintendo's lineup or pinball conversations. It might have been almost innovative if it wasn't a translation of an old pinball machine. The music is bad, but the gameplay is sharp. Nothing special here.

If you thought Pinbot was good, wait till you see Tradewest's version of the old flipper game! This one has a lot of special effects borrowed from the original Williams coin-op like shrieking sirens when you run that red light, police car-radio messages and even a few new features such as lightning bombs and attacking enemies! Go for the bonus levels but watch out for the acid patch or the manic mechanics on the 3-D perspective play-field!

Published by Tradewest, Inc. and developed by Rare, Ltd., this video game was released in 1991. Game play is for one and up to four players alternating. High Speed is a conversion of the pinball game of the same name by Williams Electronics. The game reconstructs the pinball table and has the same game play from the arcade version. It also has got some features of a video game: lightning bombs, attacking enemies, magnetic helicopters, and rust balls, which dissolve the player’s flipper. The screen’s bottom part stays on the bottom set of flippers, whereas the top half scrolls over the whole pinball table to follow the action.

Snapshots and Media

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots