APOLLO 13 RULES
by Steve Lane
I like Apollo 13 a lot, rating it behind only Frankenstein in
Sega's series of games. And I may end up liking it more
It has a very crowded playfield (almost all shots are no more
than midway up the playfield), excellent backglass, playfield,
and cabinet art, terrific dots, and decent sound (save
for the repetitive quotes).
Most of the shots are quite narrow and somewhat difficult,
especially from fast-moving inlane balls. This, combined
with how often the post comes up, makes gameplay pretty much
There's a lot of things to do on A13: play the missions (modes),
go for standard or 13-ball multiball, and completing the
Odyssey's flight back to a Splashdown on Earth.
The theme is very well implemented into game play.
The DMD instructions and playfield light indicators are
top-notch as far as letting you know what you're supposed
to do. Your score is almost always on the display.
- Game Software - Lonnie Ropp
- Display Software - Orin Day
- Mechanical Design - Bob Hurtadu
- Music and Sounds - Brian Schmidt
- To be completed.
VITAL STATS OF THE MACHINE I USED
- Serial #: 127937
- Manufacturing Date: 12/27/95
- CPU ROM: 5.01
- Barcode : 675081?
PLAYFIELD - THE BOTTOM
- 2 flippers, standard.
- I think they feel way better than
the ones on recent WMS/Bally games I've played.
- Slingshots, standard.
- I have a tough time doing slingshot
passes for some reason. On the other hand, bounce passes seem
to be particularly easy.
- not standard, as the inlane switches are lower
in the lane, parallel to the flippers. This makes hitting
them more easy, and this is important, because hitting them
lights the corresponding Orbit shot for a few seconds.
More on Orbits and Advancing the Spacecraft later.
- Outlanes (1M)
- standard, and -no- kickback! Foam tape covers
the inlane/outlane divider, and I don't have much trouble
saving balls from the outlanes. Most outlane drains were
from slingshot bounces.
PLAYFIELD - THE SHOTS AND ONE-BALL, NON-MODE RULES
This is a little different format than most rule sheets; I'm
going ahead and including the rules governing each shot in one-ball,
From lower left clockwise...
- D-O-C-K standup targets.
- Complete them to light
Mystery at the Spinner Lane saucer.
- Left orbit.
- Pretty easy from a caught ball; harder from
a moving one. Advances Spacecraft when lit (solidly at the
start of a game, for a brief time after hitting the opposing inlane
rollover). Usually the ball goes around
and out the right orbit entrance, but it can be diverted onto
back to the left inlane via a short ramp and wireform.
Anything lit at either orbit is collected by hitting the switch in the orbit;
the ball does not have to go all the way around to the other orbit or reach
the top rollovers. In fact, a slow ball that hits the switch a 2nd time
on the way back down will credit 2 orbit shots!
An unlit orbit is worth around 5-9M points.
- Food standup.
- Halfway up the playfield, between the
Left orbit and Spinner lane entrances. Scores a small # of points.
- Spinner lane.
- Leads to a saucer in the bumper area
at the top of the playfield. The spinner scores from
250K to 2M per spin, depending on its value, which is increased
by the "13" top lanes. Mystery is lit here, but it must be
collected at the top saucer. This shot is quite easily backhandable.
- Rocket ramp.
- A short metal ramp with a plastic rocket on
top. When hit hard enough, a magnet grabs it under the rocket,
and releases it back down the ramp toward the flippers.
A big post pops up between the flippers when this happens,
so your best thing to do is to let the ball hit the post and
then catch it in a flipper.
There's an LED (yay!) under the Rocket ramp that tells you
how many shots are needed to start multiball (regular or
13-ball), and provides other info in some modes and MBs.
When the LED reads 1, the next shot to the Rocket starts
The first MB takes 3 Rocket shots to start. Successive MBs take
2 more (5, 7, ...)
- Battery standup targets: 4 of them, yellow, facing to the
- At the exit of the bumper area, and a ball leaving the
bumpers will usually hit one of them. The manual mentions
something about being able to get an extra ball from hitting them
enough, but I've never seen any behavior from them except in the
- "Battery Lane": a gap to the right of the Battery standups
that leads to and from the bumpers.
- M-O-O-N standups, facing the flippers.
- The leftmost
one starts out flashing, hit that to light it and flash
the next one. When you complete the sequence, Shoot The Moon
(see its section) is lit at the ramp for a hurry-up. The sequence
also lights Super Jackpot in regular multiball.
- Blastoff ramp.
- A shallow blue ramp. I haven't been able to
backhand it. Has a diverter that sends the ball to either the
left or right inlane. The diverter is not machine-controllable
and just switches from side to side after each made ramp shot.
A sign over the ramp has two lamps: a yellow one that indicates
when a BLASTOFF letter is available, and a red one that
is lit when the Shoot The Moon hurryup is available. The yellow
lamp is lit at the start of a ball.
A letter in BLASTOFF can be collected via a combo when the
yellow lamp is not lit. The combo is either ramp -> ramp or
ramp -> left orbit -> ramp, depending on the current position
of the diverter.
Hitting the Blastoff ramp is an easy way to light an Orbit
to Advance the Spacecraft.
There's a big plastic moon in the "kink" of the ramp that
has a magnet that can grab the ball and rotate it around to a big
hole beside of the ramp. This happens whenever the ramp is
hit with the yellow lamp lit in one-ball, non-mode play.
- Water standup.
- Like the Food standup.
- Right orbit.
- When lit, Advances the Spacecraft. Like the left
orbit, easy from a caught ball, harder from a moving one.
- Mission start lane.
- A short lane which leads to a saucer
(like the ones on T2 and NF, but on the right). A red
lamp is above it, which indicates when Start Mission is
available. This is where you collect lit Extra Balls.
After hitting this shot, the post comes up for a few seconds,
so the best thing to do is again to let the ball hit the
post and then catch it.
This is a surprisingly difficult shot, and part of the reason
is that hard shots to the saucer often bounce out. This
is most unfortunate.
PLAYFIELD - TOP LANE AND BUMPER AREA
Plunged balls head for the 2 top rollover lanes, labeled
"1" and "3". Completing "13" advances the pop bumper
and spinner values by 250K, to a max of 2M (they both
start at 250K). After a ball goes thru
a lane it enters the pop bumper area.
Occasionally a ball bypasses the top left diverter and goes down
the left orbit. This gives credit for anything lit at the left
orbit. This also sometimes happens for the right orbit.
- Pop Bumper area.
- an enclosed area with three -strong-
pop bumpers. The ball can bounce around in here for
quite a while. Get here from the "13" rollovers, or from
a shot to the Spinner lane. Bumpers score a value of 250K
at the start, which increases by 250K after completing "13".
The bumpers also increase the Shoot the Moon value, by
their current value.
- Top saucer.
- most Spinner Lane shots end up here. The ball
can also bounce in here from the bumpers. Awards Mystery
when it's lit at the Spinner Lane. Displays the Shoot The Moon
value when hit.
The ball always exits the bumper area thru the "Battery Lane",
unless it pops back up a "13" rollover and down an Orbit.
SELECTING GAME MODE
After starting a game, you have a choice of "Regular" or
"Novice" mode. "Regular" is the normal 3-ball arrangement.
"Novice" is timed play; the player has 2 minutes when any
drained balls are autoplunged, and after the 2 minutes expires,
the game is over when the ball(s) on the field drains.
You can start a game in "League" mode by holding the left flipper
button in while starting a game, and "Wizard" mode by holding
the right flipper button in. The only special thing I've
seen about either of these is that in "League" the sums of the
scores of players 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 are also shown on the display.
No skill is involved. Pick one of three awards: Start Mission,
Mystery (see the available Mystery awards below), and either Multiball
Countdown (reduces the MB LED Countdown value by 1) or
13 Million (if the MB LED is 1 already, or if BLASTOFF is lit). The ball
heads for the "13" rollovers, and either enters the bumper
area or goes down either the left or right orbit lane.
Collect the Mystery either with the Skill Shot or at the
top saucer. Possible Mystery awards (that I've seen) are:
- 2 Orbits
- BLASTOFF letter
- Hold Bonus
- Double Bonus
- 13 Million
- 50M / Washing Machine
- Mystery 3-Ball
- M-Ball Ready
The first 5 are the most likely ones. Washing Machine (har, har)
comes up every few games, and is worth 50M. The manual mentions
others I haven't seen, like "13 Ball Play", "Extra Ball",
and "Light Special".
Mystery 3-ball starts, well, a 3-ball multiball where the spinner
is worth a "mysterious" amount of points. Seems like it was 50M.
The 50M award was called "Washing Machine" in earlier (2.05, at least)
SHOOT THE MOON
When the M-O-O-N targets are completed, Shoot the Moon is lit
at the Blastoff ramp. It is a hurry-up shot, but counts down
-very- slowly, so you don't really have to hurry. You -do-
want to collect before losing the ball, tho :). If you don't
collect it, it resets to 20M.
The Shoot the Moon value can be very large in a long game.
I've had it over 400M in a 4B game.
ORBITS AND ADVANCING THE SPACECRAFT
Oooh, this is important. Collect an Orbit and Advance the
Spacecraft by hitting the left or right orbit when they're lit.
They're lit for a few seconds by the inlane switches.
The game starts with both orbits lit solidly. I'm not sure
how the "2 Orbits" Mystery award affects the Orbits when they're
lit solidly; I think I've had them both stay lit and go out.
A little of my strategy: since the Spacecraft modes are so lucrative,
I'll pick Mystery with the Skill Shot until I get the 2 Orbits
award. Then I'll pick Start Mission.
Collecting Orbits advances your spacecraft around the moon and
back to earth. Your progress is displayed (very attractively)
in the center of the playfield. Many awards are given from
- Lights Video Mode. Start Video Mode at the right saucer.
During VM, your goal is to safely land the Landing Module on the
moon. The left and right flipper buttons fire the Module's thrusters
left and right, and hitting both buttons fires the thrusters up.
Turning the plunger stops the Module's lateral movement, which
makes this mode trivially easy to complete. I have no earthly
idea why Wizard mode doesn't disable this. Just go right and
stop when you're above your landing spot; piece of cake.
If you do this. The resolution of the "distant" animation isn't
detailed enough to guarantee a safe landing. The "closeup" animation
is, however, and you should find a "key" dot in the animation to
make sure you land safely. I line up a column of dots in the background
with the 4 dots in the right "foot" of the spacecraft; if the column
goes thru the "foot" I know I'll land safely.
Video Mode is worth 50M/109M/84M for landing in the left/center/right
areas, and 25M for crashing.
- Starts Power Down. The clock is running, and 6 shots are
worth 50 - 60 - 70 - 80 - 90 - 90M. You get 10M for starting Power
Down. So the completion total is a nice 450M.
- Starts Power Up. The clock is running again. This time,
one shot at a time is lit. Hit it to collect points and light
the next shot. The scoring is the same as in Power Down.
- 2 Orbits.
- Starts Splashdown. This is a timed multiball where
the Orbits score Jackpots, apparently; I haven't gotten here yet.
One of the reasons I love the Orbit rules is that they reward inlane
passes, which are not at all hard to do on my machine. I don't
think I've ever had one lead to a drain, either.
Start a mission from the Skill Shot or by hitting the right saucer when
lit. The right saucer is always lit (in one-ball, non-mode play)
until Master Alarm is reached; after that you have to hit the
spinner to light the saucer.
There are 9 Missions; after doing all of them, Master Alarm is
lit at the right saucer.
You can lock in a lit (flashing) Mission by turning the
plunger handle. But the Mission you locked becomes unlocked
when you plunge your next ball. So be careful. The Missions rotate
by pop bumper hits (maybe other shots too).
While Missions are running, nothing else is available except
hitting the Rocket ramp to advance towards Multiball (and this isn't
available during Rocket 2 Ball), and collecting a BLASTOFF letter
if lit. I don't know if Combos are still available.
The Missions are for the most fun to complete. They're roughly balanced:
most score 100-150M except Manual Burn and Under Volt, which can be worth
400-700M (if played correctly) !
I wish there was a compelling reason to actually complete them (maybe
there is in Splashdown ?) other than the points you get from
All Missions have a starting value of 10M. This is included
in the total Mission score.
The 9 Missions:
- The left orbit is lit for a value of 50M, which counts
down rather quickly to 10M. Make this shot and a diverter sends the
ball up a ramp at the top of the playfield and back to the left
inlane, where you have a shot at the right orbit to score
triple the value of your left orbit shot.
Your first shot at the combo is the only one that's likely to be
worth much (200M). The value just counts down too quickly.
This is a very nice Mission to start a ball off with if you can
shake the launched ball down the left orbit instead of into the
- The CO2 level is going up, and you have to collect
four items before the level reaches 20. Collect an item
by hitting the Spinner. The items are: 1 Sock (10M),
2 LCG Bags (20M), Red Suit Hoses (30M), and an Air Scubber (40M).
If you get all four items, you collect a bonus, which is increased
by the bumpers during the mode. The bonus is typically around 40M.
- MANUAL BURN.
- The spacecraft is off course by 7 degrees.
3 shots are lit; either the Left Orbit, Spinner,
and Rocket Ramp, or the BLASTOFF Ramp, Right Orbit, and Right
Saucer. One of the 3 shots is flashing. The solidly-lit
shots move the spacecraft 1 or 2 degrees back on course, and
the flashing shot moves it 3 degrees.
If one of the 3 shots puts the spacecraft back on course, it will
be flashing. Otherwise, the outermost shots will be flashing.
Each shot is worth 50 + 10M to 90M until the mode ends, either by
getting back on course or timing out.
This mode is worth a TON of points if you DON'T get the
spacecraft back on course. I've gotten over 500M on
it before, and average about 250M.
- ROCKET 2-BALL.
- a 2-ball where the only thing to hit is
the Rocket Ramp. It's worth 10 - 20 - 30 - 40M to a max
of 50M. It my be wisest to shoot for the bumpers
in this mode, depending on their value.
There's a quirky series of words that go by on the display.
Some are jokes. I "get" some of them, but not all. Anyway,
they're... INCO - FAO - NETWORK - RECOVERY - LBSTR - WRMSMG
- BOOSTER - RETRO - FIDO - GUIDANCE - SURGEON - ECOM - GNC
- TELMU - GTBY - CONTROL - RGP. Thought you might be interested
in that... :)
- MOON'S GRAVITY.
- The Blastoff ramp is lit for three shots of
20 - 30 - 40M (?), for a total of 100M.
- UNDER VOLT.
- Another Mission that can be worth a -ton- of
points. The Battery targets are lit and the Under Volt value
starts at 42M and starts counting down. Hit a Battery target
to freeze the value and light all the major shots for that
value for 20 seconds.
You can hit a Battery target a second time to reset the timer
to 20 seconds and collect the point value. But this can be
tough to do as often the ball hits a target a second time quickly
after the first hit, effectively burning its worth.
- LIFE SUPPORT.
- The Food and Water targets are hit for 20 - 30
- 40 - 50M. After hitting one of them, the bottom post comes up for a few
seconds. Completing the Mission earns you 150M and a shot
of Ed Harris barfing up his dinner.
- Hit any target in the D-O-C-K bank four times to
get 10 - 20 - 30 - 40M and an extra ball. I don't think you
get the EB after the first time through the Missions.
- LITE EXTRA BALL.
- Lights the right saucer for extra ball.
- MASTER ALARM.
- This Wizard Mission is lit after the other 9 have been
played. It's a 40-second frenzy where every target scores 1M
and adds 1M to a Jackpot that is lit at the Blastoff ramp.
The Jackpot does not reset after collecting it, and it doesn't
(to my knowledge) have a limit.
Obviously, this round can be worth a ton of points if you
have the ramp shot down.
QUICK NOTE ON EXTRA BALLS
There are two possible Extra Balls that I've seen: from the Light Extra
Ball Mission and from the Docking Mission. My machine has a limit
of 2 Extra Balls per game. This is probably the default setting.
After getting 2 EBs, you get 50M for any "usual" EB instead.
Regular (3-ball) multiball is started with a shot to the Rocket
when the LED reads 1 and BLASTOFF is not lit for 13-ball.
After hitting the Rocket, 3 balls are launched, and the bottom
post comes up for about 7 seconds. There is no ball saver.
4 Jackpots are lit: at the left orbit, the spinner lane, the right orbit, and
the right saucer. The value of the Jackpots seem to depend on
the number of balls in play and number of switch closures during multiball,
and are typically in the 20-40M range. Not particularly high.
After getting all 4 Jackpots, a Super Jackpot (SJ) is lit at the
Blastoff ramp for 150M (?) for X seconds. After collecting the SJ,
another round of 3-ball multiball begins.
The SJ can also be lit by completing the M-O-O-N targets in sequence
When the 8 BLASTOFF letters (shown below the score display) are
completed (they then flash), the next multiball will be 13 BALL.
There are 4 ways of collecting letters:
- You get one at the start of a game for free.
- By hitting the Blastoff ramp when the yellow lamp is lit. The
lamp is lit at the beginning of every ball.
- From a Mystery award.
- From a Blastoff ramp combo. There are two of these, depending on what position
the diverter is in: ramp -> ramp, or ramp -> left orbit -> ramp. Any other switch
breaks the combo. Keep in mind that the ramp can be "faked" after a weak
shot that falls back down hits an inlane switch with its next shot.
When 13-ball starts, the bottom post raises and stays up for about
10 seconds. Three or four balls are launched, and after about 5 seconds
the 8 balls in the 8-ball holder are released, all at once. There is no
During 13-ball, the Rocket is lit for Jackpots. The Jackpot values seem
to be affected by the number of balls in play and the number of switch closures.
My best guess is that the Jackpot = 10M * (balls in play) + 1M * (switch closures).
In any case, they're typically in the 100-250M range.
After a Jackpot, the bottom post is NOT raised. This is very important,
as the ball will most likely head STDM. Your options are to try to slap
save it, hit it with another ball (my favorite method), or just let it go.
After 5 Jackpots have been collected, the Super 13-Ball Jackpot is lit at
the ramp for X seconds. I've gotten twice, but I don't remember what it's
worth (1B?). If the S13BJ is collected, regular 3-ball multiball begins.
FUN WITH BONUS
End-of-ball bonus is worth XM * Rocket shots + XM * Blastoff Ramp
shots number XM * Orbits number XM * Missions started. Of course, this
value is doubled if the Double Bonus Mystery award was collected.
The manual mentions a Hidden Video Mode and Undocumented Difficult
Combos. I've yet to see any evidence of either.
Otherwise, there's a few goofy animations and that's it.
To be completed.
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