Kahler's Guide to Big Guns
Preliminary Version, as of 11/1/93
Disclaimer: This rule sheet was written completely from memory- I haven't seen or played a Big Guns in at least a year. However, I 'saved the Queen' many times back when it was new. Questions, comments and additions can be forwarded to me, Mike Kahler.
Single level main playfield is almost completely symmetrical from Left to Right, with exception of Kickback on Left and Gate on Right Outlanes. Skill Shot and return from Center Cannon also differ from side to side, but they are on a raised level, so the actual playfield is very symmetric.
Besides being divided Left and Right, the playfield also has distinctive Upper and Lower areas. The Lower area is comprised of the Lower flippers, Slingshots, and Left/Right Guard Targets and Cannon Loads. The only passage to the Upper Area is dead cent er between the Left and Right Guard Targets. The Upper Area is about 1/3 the length of the full table. Each Left/Right Drop Target Bank, Troll Target and Bonus Loop is located opposite the opposite side's upper flipper.
The Skill Shot is hit or miss only. The plunger feeds to the right entrance of a raised, horseshoe shaped path. At the center of the top of the horseshoe is the path you are shooting for. Hitting this path will award the Tower Bonus, starting at 100K a nd increasing 100K for each successive hit on the same ball (IE, Extra Balls and plunger fed balls for Multi-Ball keep the award increasing. Advancing to ball 2 or ball 3 resets the award to 100K.) In addition to the Tower Bonus, the Right Cannon Load saucer is scored on a successful Skill shot. Overshooting the Skill Shot will place the ball coming downward toward the lower flippers in the Right Cannon Load path. Undershooting will return the ball to the plunger. The Tower Bonus maxes at 900K (or was it 1M ?).
Modes? This is a 1987 game- who ever heard of modes!?
Drop targets/Troll targets
Each Left/Right set of drop targets has lights in front of each target, 150K, 200K and 250K, from top to bottom. These lamps cycle 150, 150+200, 200, 200+250, 250, 250+150 continuously (values are from memory, but the idea is correct, the lamps cycle a single lamp, then two adjacent, then the next single, etc.). Hitting any drop target when it's lamp is lit will set up the Troll target for that value(s), and a timer will begin. The lit value(s) will begin 'pulsing' faster and faster, and the drop targets reset if the Troll is not hit before the timer expires. The Drops also reset if the Troll is hit. Hitting 3 Trolls during the course of the game lights one of the inlanes for Extra Ball, which can then be alternated via Lane-Change(tm). The number of trolls is probably, if not automatically, adjusted.
Passing behind one of the Drop/Troll target sets will begin a timer and light that loop for Bonus X. The timer expires as do the Trolls, pulsing faster and faster, then unlit. Bonus X's are displayed up the center of the playfield, from 2X to 9X. One X value is flashing to begin with- reaching this X will light an Outlane Special for the remainder of that ball. The flashing X for Special is settable or automatically adjusted. Scoring 9X and 99K EOB Bonus awards a different musical salute at the end of the ball.
Note it is possible to rack up Bonus X's continuously in a figure-8 arrangement. After hitting, say the Left Loop, the ball is fed to the left upper flipper. Easy shot to the Right Loop, which feeds to the right upper flipper. Now hit the Left loop, then right, and so on. Fairly quick action due to the short playfield area up there :).
Either Inlane will light the Center Target for Raise Post. Here again the center target light is on a timer and expires as does everything else. Hitting the Center Target when lit will raise the Center Post for a pre-determined amount of time (about 10 seconds).
The current value of the Guards is displayed on 5 lights just above the lower flippers. Values are 100K, 150K, 200K, 250K, and Special. The game starts with 100K lit, and all 10 guards lit. Hitting (un-lighting) all 10 guards will award the Guard Value , advance to the next value, and light the Kickback and open the Gate if needed. Guard value does not carry from ball to ball (may be settable?).
At the entrance to each Cannon Load is a large red Load Cannon light. When lit, the Cannon Load will place the ball in the Cannon and serve a new ball to the plunger. If un-lit, the ball will be served to the Cannon, then fired into the habitrail and back to the respective inlane. Note if a Cannon is already loaded, and that Load Cannon saucer is hit, the cannon will first be fired into the habitrail, then the ball will be fed from the saucer to the Cannon, where it stays loaded. After loading both Left and Right Cannon, the Center Cannon is lit for Load. Placing the remaining ball in the Center Cannon begins Multi-Ball(tm) (see below). At the beginning of a new game, both Left and Right Cannons will be lit for Load Cannon. After the first Multi-Ball(tm), only the Left Cannon is lit for Load Cannon. Only after the Left Cannon is loaded is the Right Cannon lit for Load Cannon. Note that as the game starts with the Right Load Cannon lit, hitting the Skill Shot will automatically load the Right Cannon and serve a new ball.
During Multi-Ball, all scores are doubled, with the exception of Queens Rescue. There is a 'traveling' Load Cannon light, moving from Left to Center to Right Cannon, then starting over at the Left Cannon. Placing any ball in the lit cannon will start INVINCIBLE/Queens' Rescue. During INVINCIBLE, the Kickback, Gate and Center Post are un-expireable. INVINCIBLE lasts a set amount of time, usually about 15 seconds; the displays show the time remaining. At the start of INVINCIBLE, the 6 center (3 green and 3 red) guards are lit. Hitting all 6 of these Guards scores Queen's Rescue, ranging from 300K to 3M. When scored, Queen's Rescue resets to 300K, and increments gradually during every Multi-Ball session. It is possible to score multiple Queen's Rescues on a single Multi-Ball by reloading the lit Cannon after the Queen's Rescue animation is finished.
King's Chamber Shot
Every time a ball is loaded in the Center Cannon, the mini-ball is fired in the Kings Chamber (The Center Cannon holds the ball until the Kings Chamber action is finished). The mini-ball will fall downwards and into one of the 5 slots across the bottom, lighting the shield above that slot. The five shields can be steered either way with the flippers. When the fifth shield is lit, the next Kings Chamber shot will light the Extra Ball at the Inlanes. The next Kings Chamber shot will start over with no shields lit. Lit shields carry from ball to ball, at least until the first Extra Ball is scored off of them; they may carry indefinitely. After the last ball of a game is drained, a free Kings Chamber shot is given to the player. At this time, one shield is lit, but cannot be steered as above. If when the mini-ball is fired, it lands in the lit slot, the player is awarded an extra ball. Note in multi-player games, this free Kings Chamber shot is given at the end of each player's game, not at the complete end of game as are the matches.
Tips, Tricks and Bad Things
The Skill shot is easy to master, and due to frequent Multi-Balls, maxing the Tower Bonus is fairly easy. Multi-Ball is easy to achieve as one of the two Cannons will always be lit for Load Cannon (Lock); no setup of the locks is required. The Left and Right Load Cannon saucers can consistently be backhanded off the Left and Right Flippers, as well as being an open shot from the opposing Flippers. The Center Cannon is the longest shot possible from the lower flippers, but fairly forgiving and possible from either lower flipper. Master the Load Cannon shots and you'll be in eternal Multi-Ball! -That is if the game is in good condition. As with many decomposing Williams games, the locks tend to be erratic. On Big Guns, it always seems after loading a Cannon, not until you have the next ball in play does the lock screw up and fire the locked ball out (IE, if you wait with the new ball in the plunger, the lock will seem ok, but soon after plunging you find the locked ball not locked anymore). I've seen failing locks on at least half of the BG's I've played. It is possible to load a (failing) Cannon, get the next ball, Load it in the opposite cannon, then get the next ball into the Center Cannon, all before a lock screws up, but it makes it pretty difficult.
Another simple and common ailment of BG is to have burnt out Guard Lights. This can make Queen's Rescue fairly difficult, as you have no idea what Guards are remaining to score the Queen's Rescue. Constant battering of the Guards can work, but when the seconds are counting away it gets more difficult than it sounds.
Quite often the Mini-ball wont launch when it's supposed to. After the machine tries twice (you can hear the kicker firing), it will automatically award you one shield. I recall it always being the leftmost shield, so it's to your best advantage to always steer the lit shields to the right when you know the mini-ball isn't going to fire correctly.
BG is a 7-digit display game, making the maximum score 9.9M + change. Any player rolling the score over will be awarded the highest score on the high score board, marking it with 9,999,999. Even if a previous player rolled the score 37 times and got high score of 9,999,999 the next player to roll it one time will again get the top high score. Another oddity is the machine gives replays _each_ time the replay score is passed, thus rolling it over and reaching the replay score again will award another credit, over and over. I recall suitable replay levels in the 3-5M range.
And while on the subject, my best on BG is around 45M. Extra Balls are sparse on this game, but Multi-Balls are a piece of cake, and you can get quite a score just off the Tower Bonus alone (after all, after one Queen's Rescue, it's down in the 300K range, not comparable with 1M for a maxed Tower Bonus, over and over while continuously locking balls).
"You are Invincible! Save the Queen!" (The only quote I can recall)
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