Banzai Run


Rules for Williams'
"Banzai Run"
by Bowen Kerins

In the beginning, there was darkness in the world of pinball, and all was boring. The people of the earth cried out, "Who will save us from the torment of pinball hell?" Then, one day, a new beginning took shape; along came the savior and his name was Pat Lawlor. And Pat said "Let there be Banzai Run," and there was Banzai Run.

"Banzai Run" and "Williams" are probably trademarked names, but I'm using them anyway. This rule sheet is shareware, but if you would like the complete set of rulesheets, please send $29.95 to Of course, any comments or corrections are appreciated, and I'd really like to hear from someone who owns this game, or has played it in the last four years. Most of these rules are from personal memory from when I was about 12 or 13, so expect everything to be pretty much wrong.

Still to be answered: what lights the Special? Help me out :)

General Information

Banzai Run's major attracting feature is its upper playfield, referred to as "Banzai Hill". Unlike most other two-level games, Banzai Run's upper playfield really goes up, straight up; it's on the backglass. Because of this, the backglass is about a foot or two higher than the average game, with the scoreboard on top. Play on the backglass is unusual, due to the extreme slope, and usually doesn't last too long.

(Lower) Playfield Description and Basic Rules

Generally from the lower left, around to the back, then back to the lower right.

Left Inlane/Outlane
The left outlane is equipped with a kickback which usually sends the ball into the bumpers. The inlane lights "Double Lap" on the ramp, and also lights the right spinner for 3K/spin.
Slingshot Kicker
BR's left slingshot has an unusual design; the top and left of the slingshot contain a kicker, similar to TZ's Rocket. This kicker fires the ball straight upward, usually toward the Captive Ball. Sometimes the kicker fires the ball right to the entrance to the Hill.
Left "1-Lap" target
This target, near the exit to the ramp, adds one lap to your total when lit.
"Race Blue Beard"
Three standup targets on the left side of the playfield. Shoot all three to light Blue Beard on the Hill.
"Race Red Hot"
Three targets just above the Blue Beard targets. Shoot all three to light Red Hot on the Hill.
Captive Ball
Just above the Red Hot targets. The ball can be shot for either 1OK, 25K, or 5OK, depending on your total laps. It can be lit for an Extra Ball as well.
Left Spinner
This spinner scores 1K per spin, 3K if lit by the right inlane.
Hill Entrance
Through the Left Spinner, this shot will activate a magnet to the upper playfield if the Hill is lit, else it will kickout toward the Green Machine rollovers.
"Race Green Machine"
Three rollover targets at the very top of the playfield. The left two lead to the bumpers, and are separated from the rightmost rollover by a barrier. The rightmost rollover leads to the upper right flipper. Complete all three rollovers to light Green Machine on the Hill. You can advance the lit rollovers with the flipper buttons.
Typical three, 1K per bump.
Bumper Saucer
This saucer is located within the bumpers, but can also be shot straight-on between the Yellow Belly targets. It spots a target on one of the four opponents, lights the kickback, plays "Freestyle" if lit, is the Time Lock hole during multiball, and also functions as the multiball restart. It's pretty important.
"Race Yellow Belly"
Three standup targets located in the middle of the playfield. The left two are separated from the rightmost one by a hole leading to the Bumper Saucer. Shoot all three to light Yellow Belly on the Hill.
Right Spinner
Spinner scores 1K per spin, 3K if lit by the left inlane. Shooting through the spinner hard enough leads through a one-way gate to the Green Machine rollovers, and a very hard shot goes all the way to the Hill Entrance hole.
Upper Right Flipper
Standard length flipper, usually used to peg standup targets and the Captive Ball.
The ramp is shot by the left flipper, goes all the way around the back of the playfield, and falls toward the right flipper rapidly. The ramp scores one lap, two if after rolling over the left inlane or during multiball. Before the first multiball, the ramp also spots a target on one of the four opponents. A ball leaving the upper playfield returns via the ramp, but does not score any laps.
Right "1-Lap" target
Just to the right of the right ramp. Scores one lap when lit.
Right Inlane/Outlane
Metal, like TZ's right side, which makes this side the bigger drain victim. Inlane lights left spinner, outlane lights your bonus.
Race Standings area
Just above the flippers, this informs the player which racers have been challenged, and which others have been defeated.
Manual Plunger
Used to shoot the ball toward the Green Machine targets. Shooting the Hill Entrance is the Skill Shot; more on that later.

(Upper) Playfield Description and Basic Rules

The ball is fed to the upper playfield via a magnet which rides the ball upward. The ball is then dropped for an easy feed to the left flipper. If "Freestyle" is available, sending the ball to the upper playfield will activate it once before the ball is dropped.

Yellow Belly
A loop shot on the left side, which spots Yellow Belly when lit (all opponents spotted score 5OK). You need only trip the entrance to the loop to get credit for it.
"A" target
On the inside of the Yellow Belly loop.
Lock Shot
Just to the right of the Yellow Belly loop. It locks for multiball when lit, else kicking upward toward the Red Hot shot area.
Green Machine
A standup target in the middle of the playfield, which is easily shootable from either flipper. It can also be made by looping Blue Beard, then holding up the right flipper.
Blue Beard
A loop on the right side, similar to the Yellow Belly loop.
"B" and "C" targets
On the inside of the Blue Beard loop. Completing "ABC" extends the timer on the center post, and doubles the value of the Cycle Jump (only for the current Hill trip).
Upper Left Flipper
Tiny flipper, fed by the Lock Shot kickout. It shoots Red Hot and the Captive Ball.
Red Hot
A shot to a hole in the upper left of the upper playfield, which spots Red Hot if lit. It also scores Cycle Jump, and returns the ball to the lower playfield.
Captive Ball
Spots one lap when shot. Also used as the "jackpot" shot in multiball.
Red Hot drain
Located to the right of the upper left flipper, this hole will usually collect your ball if you miss Red Hot. It drains the ball to the lower playfield.
Center Post
Located between the two lower flippers, it effectively covers all center drains until the timer runs out. Lights and sound tell you how long you have left. The post covers all drains (except from the Red Hot area), since there are no inlanes or outlanes.

"Freestyle" Playfield: Area (on the backglass) with no flippers, just eight targets, two corresponding to each opponent. If any of the eight are lit, a ball is kicked from the lower left of the playfield. If it hits any of the lit targets, that opponent is spotted for you, also scoring the 5OK for clearing the opponent. If not, tough.

Skill Shot

The Skill Shot is to shoot the Hill Entrance directly from the plunge. It awards 1OOK for the first Skill Shot (called "Cycle Stunt"), 2OOK, 3OOK etc. to a maximum of 5OOK. In addition, it will advance your opponents. A successful Skill Shot will award the lowest possible of the following:

  • Light an opponent. Order of lighting is Green Machine, Blue Beard, Yellow Belly, Red Hot.
  • Light all remaining opponents for Freestyle. Since the ball then goes to the Hill, this also activates Freestyle once.
  • Spot an opponent, in the same order as above. The spot awards 5OK.

In all cases (except at the beginning of multiball), a Skill Shot will also send the ball immediately up to the Hill. If at the start of multiball, a Skill Shot will only award the points.


You start the game with one lap spotted toward your total. The total is increased by:

  • A shot to the ramp, which is usually one lap. The ramp is worth two laps during multiball or if the left inlane was tripped before the shot.
  • A shot to either of the "1-Lap" targets, which light after each trip to the Hill. When one is shot, both turn off.
  • A shot to the Captive Ball on the upper playfield, which spots one lap.

The number of laps affects the value of the Captive Ball on the lower playfield. It starts at a value of 1OK, increases to 25K at 4 laps, and maxes out at 5OK after 7 laps. A flexible number of laps (usually 8) lights an extra ball at the lower Captive Ball. 25 laps awards "Finish Line", which is 75OK plus an extra ball.

Each lap is also worth 1OK toward your end-of-ball bonus. After "Finish Line", the number of laps is reset, but no extra ball is available at 8 laps the second time around.

Cycle Jump

On the upper playfield, the Red Hot hole will award a Cycle Jump. The value of the Cycle Jump begins at 75K and increases by 25K for each Jump, with a possible maximum of 2OOK (help!). This value is not reset ball-to-ball.

The Cycle Jump value is doubled by shooting the "ABC" targets, and is only temporarily doubled for that round on the Hill; the actual Cycle Jump value is never doubled.


You begin the race in Banzai Run in 6th place. To win, you must light and then pass five opponents. The first four are Green Machine, Blue Beard, Yellow Belly, and Red Hot, and the fifth is the King of the Hill.

The first four opponents may be passed in any order. To light any of the four opponents on the Hill, you must complete the bank of three targets corresponding to the opponent. Any target can be spotted for you by shooting the Bumper Saucer, or, before the first multiball, the Ramp. The spotted target will be the one that most helps you complete an opponent's target bank; if you had 2 targets left on Yellow Belly and only one on Blue Beard, it would spot the final target on Blue Beard.

When any opponent's target bank is completed, the game sexistly declares, "He's going after _________," with the name of the completed opponent said. If two or more target banks are completed in succession, the game says, "He's going after __________ and _________!" Pretty cool there. In addition, the challenged racer flashes in the Race Standings area of the playfield.

If at least one racer is currently being challenged (ie the target bank has been completed, but the racer has not been passed), then the Hill will be lit. On the upper playfield, shooting the target corresponding to that racer will pass the racer. "What a move on ________!" Any racer defeated awards 5OK and solidly light that racer in the Race Standings area. After the ball falls to the lower playfield, you are updated on your place in the race. "He's moved into fourth place."

Defeating all flashing racers at once may not be such a great idea; doing this closes the Hill until more racers have been challenged.

When all four racers have been challenged (not necessarily defeated), the banks of opponents' targets reset. Targets are still spotted as before, but instead of challenging the racer a second time, completing the bank lights that opponent's targets on the "Freestyle" mini-playfield. Then, upon any shot to the Hill or to the Bumper Saucer, the ball is kicked on the playfield. This feature is totally random; sometimes you'll get opponents for free that way, usually you won't. Opponents are easy enough to defeat that it's no big deal.

Should you light all the remaining opponents on the "Freestyle" playfield, the targets reset themselves again. This time, completing a bank of targets defeats that opponent outright.

When all four opponents have been defeated, the Lock Shot is lit _immediately_. So if the final opponent was Yellow Belly, the Lock will be lit right there. Otherwise, the game will tell you to "Go for the hill!" and start flashing things at you until you do.

When the lock is finally made, you're ready for...


After the Lock, the second ball is sent to the manual plunger; the Skill Shot is still available, but only for the points. After the second ball hits a playfield targets, the ball in the Lock Shot kickout is kicked upward, but since the upper playfield's flippers are disabled, it falls to the lower playfield. Throughout the multiball, the ramp is lit for 2 laps.

The object of multiball is to defeat the King of the Hill to win the race. First, either of the two balls must be shot into the Bumper Saucer, which flashes "Time Lock" throughout multiball. With a ball in the lock, you have about 2O seconds to defeat the King by shooting the Captive Ball on the upper playfield. Shooting the ball scores 1M and gets you a whole buncha blinkin' lights; collecting "ABC" and then shooting the Captive Ball (you must do both on the same trip to the Hill) scores 1M plus an Extra Ball.

If you fail to defeat the King on a trip to the Hill in multiball, the Time Lock timer continues to run (it is paused while a ball is on the Hill), so you have enough time to shoot the Hill Entrance two or three times before the second ball is released.

Once the King has been defeated, even more points are available: for the rest of multiball, the Ramp is lit for two laps as well as a 25OK "Victory Lap". The scoring from Victory Laps is potentially unlimited.

And the music is tres cool. Thank you, Brian Schmidt.

After multiball, things return back to normal the defeated riders are moved to "Prior Race" in the Race Standings area, so they can be remembered for end-of-ball bonus. In addition, the Ramp no longer spots opponent targets.

End-of Ball Bonus

Your end-of ball bonus is: 1OK * (Number of laps) + 2OK * (Number of opponents defeated).

Laps are carried ball-to-ball until 25 laps are accumulated (for Finish Line), then are reset. Opponents are carried ball-to-ball until multiball has been achieved, then are reset after that ball the opponents defeated before multiball are still counted toward the end-of-ball bonus for that ball (which is why the defeated riders are moved to the "Prior Race" area in Race Standings).

There is no bonus multiplier. Notice that the bonus is calculated only by numbers of particular targets hit; there's never just some mysterious "Bonus" number calculated behind your back. Every Lawlor game is like this...

"Hill Closed"

Banzai Run uses a software compensation if the magnet heading to the Hill isn't working. Any shot to the Hill Entrance will spot a challenged opponent if lit (one per shot), lock the ball for multiball, and defeat the King. This means no Cycle Jumps or other cool stuff, but at least it doesn't kill the game.

Tips and Strategies

Try to rack up the laps on the Ramp as early as possible. In the early stages of the game, the Ramp advances you toward multiball, adds to your bonus, adds to the Captive Ball value, and eventually lights an extra ball. All in one handy dandy shot. Get used to it.

Just because an opponent is challenged on the Hill doesn't mean you have to defeat them right away. A better strategy is to shoot only for the Cycle Jump until several opponents are available. Don't forget the 2x Cycle Jump, which can be worth a great deal later in the game.

After the Ramp has been shot several times, the Captive Ball is worth 5OK per shot, and it's an easy shot. Pretty easy points, pretty safe as well.

Don't bother with the 1-Lap targets; they're drain shots and you can just as easily get a lap from the Ramp.

Try to defeat one of the lower three opponents last (ie get Red Hot as early as possible), so that the Lock is immediately lit on the upper playfield. Saves a trip to the Hill.

The Freestyle playfield is fairly unimportant; don't work toward lighting opponents in Freestyle unless you're really bad at the upper playfield shots. It's too much work for a chance shot at claiming an opponent when you can just as easily just do it yourself.

uhhh... uhh... head for the blinkin' lights.


Well as a 13 year old, I guess 7 million on this game was probably pretty good. I'm sure someone can do better, and I'm happy to put someone's high score in this sheet.


Editor's Notes

  • HTML added by David Gersic
  • E-mail addresses have been expunged to prevent web-bot spamming, and Web links have been updated where possible.

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