Rulesheet for Williams "Fire!"
1987 System 11A
Rom Revision 2
Jason R. Putnam
July 28, 1998
Fire! was introduced in 1987, so a rulesheet is a little overdue. I wrote this rulesheet because one didn't exist, and since this game is a mild departure on the traditional pinball machine layout (no pop bumpers, no drop targets, no lane change) I figured a rulesheet would be beneficial to anyone trying to master this game. "Fire!" is a trademark of Williams. This rulesheet is public domain (free).
Since this is my first rulesheet, it may suck. Be that as it may, remember - What did you pay for it!?!? Please feel free to email me if you find any typos, spelling errors, or mistakes involving the rules and gameplay in this rulesheet, or if there is anything that you think I should add to it. That being said, on with the show.
The best way to start off one of these things is to describe the game's layout. So, that's what I'll do. To begin with, we'll start at the plunger, which is of the manual type and in the traditional (right side) location. The shooter lane goes just more than half-way up the playfield, where it comes to a one-way gate that is angled about 45 degrees, so that if one were to shoot the ball and just go through this gate, the ball would roll back and the gate would deflect it down towards the flippers.
The skill shot is in the area just above the shooter lane's one-way gate, and consists of five roll-over sensors and a stand-up target at the very end. These are spaced evenly, and labeled so that the first one from the gate is 20,000 points, then 10,000, then 30,000, then 100,000, then 5,000, and then finally the stand-up is worth 1,000 points. The object here is to shoot the ball just far enough to roll over the 100,000 sensor, and then it rolls back and falls into play. The highest sensor the ball rolls over is the score you get, and if you shoot too hard, the ball hits the stand-up target at the top and you only get 1,000 points.
Next, we'll look down between the flippers and see the fire plug, which is a little round peg that pops up during different parts of the game to prevent a drain. More on this later. Next, you can see that the flippers are of standard size, and just above them on either side are the slingshot kickers, again in the traditional layout. Outside of these you will see little rails that separate the areas outside the kickers into an inlane and outlane on the left and right sides of the playfield.
Now look at the top of the playfield, and you will see in the center a large building that is for our purposes shaped mostly rectangular. In the front of this main building in the middle is a little ramp that has a ladder painted on it that can drop level into the playfield. I'll refer to this as the "Ladder Ramp". There is a turnaround that forms a "U" behind the ladder ramp, with an entrance on each side of the ladder ramp. There is an insert lamp for each side of the turnaround to show when it is "lit". More on this later. If the ladder ramp is in the usual down position (flush with the playfield) then shooting a ball up the middle would hit a bumper peg and be deflected back down. If the ramp is up, the ball can be shot through the "window", in which it will either go to the left or to the right on the upper loop. When this happens, a ball (or "Fireman") is locked ("trapped") into either the East or West building. Immediatly to either side of the ladder ramp are little side buildings with 3 stand-up targets on each. Each target has a insert lamp that looks like a fire. Just below these targets are the upper slingshot kickers, and on the outside of these kickers are the "save the girl" ramps. These start about two/thirds the way up the playfield and extend all the way to the back of the playfield and at the top they are raised up so that the ball almost touches the playfield glass. They have a sensor at the top to register a hit.
Outside of the "save the girl" ramps is the "main loop" ramp. This starts from outside of the entrances of the "save girl" ramps and goes up towards the back of the playfield, under the "save the girl" ramps, and into the sides (through) the main building. The entrances to this loop can raise and lower, so if they are in the initial position (up), the ball is on the lower loop of "the loop", so a shot into the left side would come out on the right side and vice-versa. If the entrances are both down, the same thing happens, only the ball goes on the upper part/loop. Only if one side is up and the other is down, if the ball goes into the side that is down, it will follow around the top loop and go across the other side's entrance, which is in the up position, so the ball continues along a little railing and is dropped into a building, where it is locked in the same place it would be locked if the ball went through the window of the building. If the ball goes under a raised entrance when the other side's entrance is down, the down side entrance will raise to allow the ball to come back out as if both sides were raised (just like the initial position) and then that entrance will go back down. Whew!!
Now, the only part left of the playfield to describe are the buildings where the ball is locked from the loop. These are about half-way up the playfield. On the inside sides of these buildings, are more stand-up targets (three each side) that have the little fire-looking insert lights. The building on the left, when it is releasing a locked ball(s), shoots them out of the upper right corner through a one-way gate just above that building's top-most stand-up target. The one on the right released locked balls through the bottom, which drops each ball into the right side inlane. Oh yeah, just in case you didn't already know, the left side building is the "West" building, and the right one the "East" building. Ok boys and girls?
Ok, after the ball is plunged into the game and comes out of the skillshot area, it will head directly for the flippers. Good thing the fire plug is up at the beginning of each ball! If not, a good percentage of balls would drain immediately.. At random during the game, different groups of the fire targets (stand-up targets with the fire looking insets) will be lit. They always lite in their groups of three. When a fire target is hit, the corresponding insert lamp goes out, thus putting out that fire. You have to put out all three targets in the bank to put out the fire "group". Also, sending the ball through the loop will spot (put out) one of the lit fire targets.
Starting from when you plunge a ball into play, one group will be lit, and the 10x lamp will be blinking (of the upper column of 10x, 7x, 5x, 3x, & 2x. The rest will be lit solid.) After a while, if you haven't put the first group of fire targets out, the 10x will turn off and the 7x will start blinking, and so on. Now you get less for putting out that fire, and at random either another fire will start up in addition to the existing one, or if you get lucky, the machine will pick the same fire you already had lit, so you don't have to put out an additional fire to avoid the decreasing fire bonus light. Either way, it is always good to put out the fires as soon as possible. The longer you take, the bonus column will show less of a multi- plyer until you get none. If you already put the first fire out, the timer will reset, and another will light (the column will stay on 10x.)
To get multiball, you must put out all the fires on the building that you want to lock a ball into. Once you put out the building that was on fire, you'll see the opposite side ramp drop down for entry into the building you just put out. Shot the ball up that ramp onto the top loop to lock the ball into the freshly extinguished building. Now try to lock a ball into the other side's building using the same technique. Once you have locked a ball in each building, the ramps should both be up, and the "Lights Rescue" lamps should be lit. Fire a ball through the lower loop to raise the ladder and then get a shot through the window to start multiball. Once multiball is acheived, you must put out all lit fires with at least two balls in play to get the Million point award.
To get an extra ball, you must go up each "save the girl" ramp once. Then, one of the two "save the girl" ramps will be randomly lit. To get the extra ball, you must again hit the target at the end of the lit "save the girl" ramp.
Each time you go through the turnaround at the top of the playfield by the ladder ramp, the fire plug is raised for a few seconds (operator adjusts this) to keep the ball from draining. If one or both sides of the turnaround are lit, enter the turnaround from the lit side to raise the bonus level multiplier. Additionally, sending the ball through the turnaround when it is lit will raise the ladder for a window shot. Each time the ladder is raised, it will stay up for an operator set period of time. You can hear the seconds tick away and see the "Rescue Shot! Break Window" lamp flash as your time of having a raised ramp diminishes. Hitting any slingshot kicker will cycle around which turnaround lamp is lit. Also, the kickers cycle which extra ball light is lit. When the bonus multiplyer is on 10x, if you get another lit turnaround shot, the outlane "Special" lites will be lit.
The only trick I have figured out so far is this: When you have the ball in the shooter lane, you can lightly plunge it so the ball moves through the one-way gate just enough to trigger the 20k sensor, but not enough to go all the way through the gate. This way the ball can register the score and go back down the shooter lane for another attempt. But, unless you're good at this, it could be a sure fire way for you to blow your skill shot. Additionally, the more time you waste fooling around with the shooter lane, the more time you waste on whatever fires are lit, and so your point values for those buildings will be less.
The only bug I've found using the Revision 2 game roms was that when you are getting ready to plunge your final ball, the display will show what score you have to attain to get a replay in the bottom left display, but it will keep toggling between displaying that and something else in that display. All the while there is an empty display on the top right that could be used to show this information, thus no toggling between the messages would be needed. Hopefully, Rom Revision 3 (currently the latest Revision and probably the final) fixes this. Anyone know?
I don't know if this is an easter egg or not, but could Fire! be Williams first game to have cows in it? When you start a game, there is a cow mooing loudly in the background. I guess this is supposed to be the famous cow that started the great fire in Chicago in the old days, hence the theme of this machine. I could be wrong however!
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