Banzai Run


"Banzai Run"
Rules Sheet, Version 1.1
(January 8, 1994) By Michael Dunn

Changes from Version 1.0

I just cleared up a few things I wasn't sure about earlier. I also added in some stuff sent to me by Wolf T. Blitzer.


Banzai Run is a race, and the objective of the game is to challenge 4 racers ahead of you, defeat them, and then challenge and defeat the King of the Hill. You may notice that the announcer always uses the word "he" in referring to the player. [PC griping deleted]

Banzai Run has the most unusual playfield design I've ever come across in all my pinball years. It takes the concept of multiple playfields to the extreme, putting the upper level on the backglass, and the LCD readouts up on top of the playfield. The upper level is nearly vertical, so the ball moves rather quickly and timing is the key to mastering the vertical layout.

Speaking of the LCDs, they are of the 7-digit, top-line-only-alphanumeric type, so the highest score you can record is 10 million, after which the display goes back to 0,000,000. If you get 10 million or more, you automatically get #1 on the high score board with a score of 9,999,999.

I'll use the following abbreviations during your tour of Banzai Run: "K" for a thousand, "M" for a million, "LP" for lower playfield, "UP" for upper playfield, and "w/l" for when lit.

Parts of the playfield that are named (either by me or by the game) will be capitalized so you know you can find info about them here. (I try to be consistent on this point...)

I'm doing this sheet entirely from memory (except for a couple of things that I got from Bowen's sheet [*growl* he beat me to it]), so forgive the occasional inaccuracies. Anything I'm not sure of will be flagged with a question mark, and anything I stole, uh I mean borrowed, from Bowen will be my secret.

I'm sure Williams will get on my case if I don't mention that Banzai Run and Multiball are their copyrights. The awesome playfield design is the trademark of Pat Lawlor. (I still wonder how he convinced Williams to make Banzai Run; that design must have cost major $$$ to build.)

What's What and Where It Is: Lower Playfield

Starting at the lower left and going roughly clockwise, here's what you'll find on the LP.

Left inlane/outlane
The left outlane has a kickback (what's that doing on a Lawlor pin?) and thus a nice big curved metal side. It can also be lit for a Special. The Kickback is lit at the start of each ball, and is relit by the Lock Saucer. Sometimes, the Kickback will send the ball directly into the Lock Saucer if it's in a generous mood. The inlane lights the Right Spinner for 3K and the Ramp for 2 laps (both for a short time).

Slingshot kicker
This is a vertical lane just to the right of the inlane. If the ball falls into it, the kicker at the bottom will send the ball straight back, and it usually hits the LP Captive Ball. It helps to give the machine a little shake just before the kicker activates to ensure the ball goes straight.

Left 1-Lap Standup
This is at the end of a short curved lane. It awards one lap w/l. This and the Right 1-Lap Standup are lit each time you come off the UP, and both turn off when either is hit. The ball comes out this lane when it leaves the UP and the Ramp.

Blue and Red targets
The three Blue Beard racer standups are just above the exit to the just-mentioned lane, facing directly right. The three Red Hot targets are above them, also facing right. See the rules on The Race for how these targets function.

Captive Ball
This can be hit from the Slingshot Kicker, or from the lower right flipper. It has status lights to indicate its value: 10K (no lights), 25K (lit after 3(?) laps), 50K (lit after 6(?) laps), Extra Ball (lights at a varying value, between 6 and 8 laps as I recall).

Left Spinner lane
The spinner is 1K per spin, or 3K w/l. The spinner is lit by the right inlane. The lane is very wide, and so very forgiving of errant shots. The lane leads to the...

Hill Saucer
Sends the ball to the UP w/l (the light is light orange and reads "The Hill"). When not lit, it kicks the ball over to the Green Machine rollover lanes. This also serves as the Skill Shot, and activates the UP Freestyle playfield if any targets there are lit. See the rules on The Race for more info. You can reach this Saucer by shooting the Right Spinner Lane, but the ball never seemed to fall in for me.

Yellow targets
One Yellow Belly racer standup is to the right of the Left Spinner Lane, and 2 others flank the open lane that leads to the Lock Saucer.

Green Machine rollover lanes
The ball can reach the lanes by being kicked out of the Hill Saucer, being plunged here, or rolling up the Right Spinner Lane. The left 2 lanes lead down the the bumpers, and the far-right lane leads directly to the Right Spinner lane. These lanes don't follow the traditional use of top rollover lanes in that they don't count towards a bonus multiplier; they do score bonus points, though.

3 of 'em, just below the Green Machine lanes. They will usually fling the ball around for a while before letting it fall down. Sometimes they will kick the ball into the Lock Saucer, and other times the ball will be kicked out of the lock saucer and be kicked right back in again. Their value can't be increased (that comes in later Lawlor pins).

Lock Saucer
This is placed just to the right of the center Green Machine lane. It can be hit directly from the lower left flipper, but it is a very unforgiving shot; the open lane is barely wide enough to let the ball through. Sometimes the Kickback will shoot the ball directly in here.

Here's what it can score:

  • Kickback: Relights the Kickback.
  • Lock: Lit in Multiball before the King is defeated, and also lit to restart Multiball if the King was not defeated before one ball drained. There are 2 different lights (Lock and Time Lock) but I don't remember which light was lit when.
  • Freestyle: Lit if any targets on the UP Freestyle playfield are lit, and activates that playfield when shot.

This saucer also spots a Racer Target when shot during one-ball play.

Right Spinner lane
The spinner is 1K, or 3K w/l (it is lit by the left inlane). The lane leads to the Green Machine Rollover lanes. The ball can also land in the Hill Saucer, but it never seemed to work for me.

Upper Right Flipper
A full-sized flipper at the entrance to the Right Spinner lane. I personally never use it, but if you choose to, it can hit almost any Blue, Red, or Yellow Racer Target, as well as the Captive Ball.

The Ramp
The entrance is low, and can be shot with either lower flipper (backhands are tough, though). It scores 1 lap, 2 laps w/l (lit for a short time by the left inlane, and always lit during Multiball). It has a flasher underneath the plastic that indicates when a Victory Lap can be collected, and when the King can be defeated. The exit to the Ramp is above the Left 1-Lap Standup, and the ball usually falls right onto the lower right flipper. Balls leaving the UP also fall onto the Ramp and exit the same way (but don't score a lap).

Right 1-lap Standup
Just to the right of the Ramp entrance. Functions like the other 1-Lap Standup target.

Right in/outlane
The outlane can be lit for a Special. The inlane lights the Left Spinner for 3K for a short time.

Race Status Lights
Two rows of four lights each, color coded for the racers. The bottom row indicates which racers are challenged (flashing) or defeated (steady) in the current race. After Multiball ends, these lights will turn off and the four "Previous Race" lights will turn on, saving them for the end-of-ball bonus. After the ball ends, the current race's status is saved, but the previous race's lights turn off. There are also lights indicating your place in the race (6th to 1st).

A manual plunger. The plunger lane leads to the Green Machine rollover lanes. Hit the Hill Saucer from the plunger to score the Skill Shot.

Lower Flippers & Slingshots
2 of each, normal places, but the left slingshot is a bit wider than the right, to accommodate the kicker. (Here is the first example of Lawlor's fascination with unusual inlane configurations.)

What's What and Where It Is: Upper Playfield

Going from bottom to top, here's the layout of Banzai Hill.

The only way to reach the Hill is via the LP Hill Saucer. When you do, a mobile magnet comes down, picks up the ball, and drops it onto a metal lane that leads to the lower left flipper. However, if any targets on the Freestyle playfield are lit, Freestyle will activate before the ball is dropped. The ball can *always* be caught by the left flipper after it is dropped from the magnet.

Lower flippers
These flippers raise to a far greater angle than your average LP flipper in order to get the ball to move up the vertical playfield. Use the regular flipper buttons to control them. Passing between these flippers is possible. To pass, wait until the ball is near the tip of a flipper, then tap the flipper button. The flipper should go about halfway up, and the ball will land on the metal lane leading to the other flipper.

Center Post
Completely blocks the gap between the Lower Flippers, and is always lit after the ball is dropped off the magnet. An orange "Post Out" light will flash to indicate the timer on the post.

Center Drain
Once the post's timer runs out, the ball can drain between the flippers and return to the LP.

Yellow Belly
Defeats Yellow Belly w/l. A looping lane that is easily backhanded from the left flipper. The exit from this lane is above the left flipper, so the ball will usually be catchable.

Green Machine
Defeats Green Machine w/l. A single standup target, facing down, between the entrances to the Blue Beard and Lock lanes. It can be hit directly from either flipper, and sometimes the ball will hit it after speeding thru the Blue Beard lane if the right flipper is kept raised. The ball is very difficult to control after it hits this target.

Blue Beard
Defeats Blue Beard w/l. Another looping lane. The ball exits this lane via a long straight lane, much like the lane that guides the ball away from the magnet, but the ball will be moving faster and so will not usually be catchable by the right flipper. It will either fly over to the left flipper or hit the Green Machine target and bounce wildly.

A-B-C Standups
A is located between the entrance and exit of Yellow Belly, and B and C are located between the entrance and exit of Blue Beard. Hitting all 3 doubles the value of the Cycle Jump for that time on the Hill *only*, and lights Extra Ball during multiball, also for that time on the Hill only. The ball is sometimes controllable after a shot to any of these targets, but no guarantees.

This is a very long shot between Green Machine and the entrance to Yellow Belly. It can be hit with either flipper, but is a lot easier to hit with the left flipper. It is a U-shaped lane that leads to a kicker (and where the ball is held). The kicker sends the ball up to the top mini-playfield, which consists of the Top Flipper, Top Drain, Captive Ball, and Red Hot.

Top Flipper
A teeny-tiny flipper just big enough to hold the ball. The ball will always be catchable after it is kicked up from the Lock.

Top Drain
A hole to the right of the Top Flipper. It drains the ball back to the LP.

Captive Ball
Always scores 1 lap (although there's no light or text to tell you that it does). Defeats the King and scores an extra ball w/l.

Cycle Jump/Red Hot
Another vertical lane with a bend to the left. Defeats Red Hot w/l. When not lit, it scores the current Cycle Jump value (doubled if A-B-C have been completed that time on the Hill). The Cycle Jump starts at 75K(?) and increases 25K(?) per hit, and is saved between balls. The ball drains back to the LP after this shot is hit.

Freestyle Playfield (or as I like to call it, the Pachinko Playfield)
This is a totally separate playfield, with one ball, no flippers, and 8 targets (2 for each Racer). If the ball hits any lit targets, the corresponding Racer is immediately spotted. The path of the ball is totally unpredictable; sometimes it will fall back down in a split-second, other times it'll bounce around and collect a couple of Racers. Go figure.

On to the rules....

The Race

The first stage of the Race involves the Racer Targets and the Hill. To challenge a Racer, complete all 3 of the Racer's targets. Doing so lights the Racer on the UP with a flashing light. Other ways to spot a Racer Target are the Lock Saucer and the Ramp (for the 1st race only).

You can challenge the racers in any order, and you can defeat the challenged racers in any order. Once all 4 racers have been challenged (but not all of them defeated), the non-defeated Racers' targets will reset and light again. Completing a bank of targets will light 1 of the corresponding Racer's targets on the Pachinko Playfield.

If all non-defeated Racers targets have been lit on the Pachinko Playfield, the Racers' targets will reset and flash very quickly. Completing them again will defeat the corresponding Racer.

Defeating all 4 racers (no matter how) immediately lights the UP lock. So, if you hit the Yellow Belly loop to defeat him, and he's the 4th racer you defeat, you can shoot the Lock right away.

If, after lighting the UP Lock, you hit all 12 Racer targets, the Lock at the LP Lock Saucer lights.

Shoot the Lock to start....


When you lock the ball, the 2nd ball is served to the Plunger, and the Skill Shot is available. When that ball hits something, the locked ball is kicked out and drains to the LP.

The goal is to lock one ball in the LP Lock Saucer. Listen for the announcer to say "Go for the Hill!" to tell when a ball is locked. The Hill is then lit on a timer; if you don't hit the Hill Saucer within about 12 seconds, the locked ball is kicked out and must be re-locked.

Once you get to the Hill, there is one thing to do: hit the UP Captive Ball to defeat the King for 1M and a noisy light show. (If you feel greedy, hitting ABC lights the UP Captive Ball for an extra ball. See what greed will get you?)

If you drain from the UP without defeating the King, the locked ball is immediately kicked out and must be re-locked.

If you manage to hit all 12 Racer Targets, the announcer says "Go for the Ramp!" Forget about the Lock now, just hit the ramp to defeat the King.

After you defeat the King, hit the Ramp for a Victory Lap bonus of 250K. You can get Victory Laps as long as 2 balls are in play. Once one ball drains, you can get only one more Victory Lap.

If you drain one ball from the LP without defeating the King, shoot the LP Lock Saucer within 20 seconds to restart Multiball. You can restart Multiball only once per race.

Other Assorted Stuff

Skill Shot
Shooting the Hill Saucer from the Plunger awards the Skill Shot, which is 100K the first time, 200K the second, up to a max of 500K(? on these values). The Skill Shot will also challenge a Racer, or light a target on the Freestyle playfield if all Racers are challenged, or defeat a Racer if all possible Freestyle targets are lit. (In short, it's worth going for.) The ball must be plunged at less than full strength, but if you hit the plunger with the heel of your palm, the ball may bounce into the Hill Saucer anyhow. Hitting the Skill Shot at the start of Multiball awards only the points.

You start with 1 lap, and can earn laps via the Ramp, the UP Captive Ball, and the 1-Lap Standups. Laps advance the LP Captive Ball's value, and getting 25 Laps awards the Finish Line bonus of 750K and an extra ball. I don't remember what happens after you reach the Finish Line. The counter may reset (as Bowen says) but I can't say one way or the other.

Extra balls
Banzai Run is pretty stingy with its extra balls. The EB at the LP Captive ball stays lit until collected, and the Finish Line awards an EB, but the UP Captive Ball EB is hidden (i.e., not explained anywhere on the machine).

Defeating all Racers twice lights the outlanes. One outlane at a time is lit. I'm not sure if they disappear after one ball (the specials, that is, not the outlanes) or if they stay lit until collected.

Fun With Bonus (I love that name! :) )
10K for each lap, and 20K for each defeated Racer. If you defeat all the Racers twice on one ball, you only get credit for having defeated them once. (BOO!)

Other scoring
Defeating a Racer scores 50K. Locking a ball to either start or restart Multiball is 100K.

flying balls: If the ball somehow manages to fall off the UP without going thru one of the 3 drains, the game will realize this and give you another ball (with the display: "Super Jump, Shoot Again"). (CHEER!)

Nope, no cows...I just felt like saying "cow."


I concentrate on getting laps right away. Once you get the hang of the Ramp, you can get the extra ball pretty quickly. After that, well, go for the hill!

Don't beat Red Hot last; it'll save you a trip up the Hill.

Hit the ABC targets right away, before the post times out. It's hard to control the ball after hitting these targets, and rather easy to control a shot to either the Yellow Belly or Blue Beard loops. Besides, ABC increases the Cycle Jump or lights an extra ball. Of course, if you are just shooting the Lock, don't fool around with the targets.

The most important thing to master on the UP is timing. If you've already gotten a replay and want to practice your timing, try to shoot Blue Beard or the Lock without catching the ball as it rolls off the magnet. An even tougher shot is hitting the Lock with the right flipper. The tiny flipper shots are tough as well; I never could hit the UP Captive Ball with any regularity.


Well, since Bowen did it, I'll do it too ;> I never played a marathon multi-million game; I usually stopped after 10M points. But I did break 10M numerous times.

Closing Credits

Well, I hope this rule sheet helps you out :> If you have comments, corrections, or Xmas cards, mail 'em to me at any of the addresses at the top of this rule sheet (preferably the Internet address).

I didn't really steal too much from Bowen :> Just the names for Red Hot and Blue Beard, and a coupla other little scoring details. (honest!)

Live long and prosper. Hasta la vista, baby.

[fade to black]

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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