Gladiators by Gottlieb/Premier
Well, here it is. Just as I'm posting it I realized I didn't put in a section on game quotes, but none of the quotes are particularly funny. The game just tells you what to do ("shoot the ramp", "shoot the spinner", "one more for multi", "shoot the ball" if you don't plunge the ball within about 10 seconds, "make the right choice" for the weapon choice, and "shoot again" if you activate the ball saver) and what you've done ("jackpot", "super/ultimate jackpot", "50 million" for hitting the catapult saucer near the end of a timed catapult round, "next round 2 x" when this is awarded, and all the mode names.) There are probably a couple more that I've left out.
Various things divide the playfield into an upper and lower half, and I think that's a convenient way to describe it. Across the top we have:
Below the outlanes, on the panels containing the rule card, are two sets of LEDs which keep spell WEAPON and DOUBLE. These carry over from ball to ball, and game to game.
Finally, the play of the game!
The skill shot gives you a choice of three options, shown by three lights in the plunger lane. The ball goes into the I lane and around to the mystery saucer. The ball must stop in the mystery saucer to be awarded the skill shot. On the machine I play, a full strength plunge is too strong, and the ball bounces back out of the saucer and down the I lane, while a 3/4 strength shot works fine.
Skill shot choices:
There is a ball saver which lasts about 10 seconds at the beginning of each ball. If the ball saver is activated, you don't get a skill shot on the new plunge.
There are 5 labeled shots that spell MULTI (as described above). At the beginning of the game the M shot is lit, and hitting it will light the U, etc. Hitting the lit I shot lights the mystery saucer for multiball, and since the I lane leads to the mystery saucer, a good I shot starts multiball. The spinner itself is the I shot, so it is possible to light the lock without locking the ball - this is generally a bad thing, since you still need a good I shot to start multiball, and the lit lock goes away when the ball drains, leaving you to start over at M again.
During multiball, the object is to first hit the M ramp for a jackpot worth 20 million. The ball will be held while you try to send the second ball up the M ramp for another 20 million. If you take too long, the first ball will be released again, and you can continue to try for jackpots on the M ramp. If you succeed in getting both balls locked at the top of the M ramp, they will then be released from the crane directly to the upper left flipper. If you send one ball up the T ramp, and it goes all the way around, this scores a super jackpot of 100 million. If you also manage to send the second ball up the T ramp, it scores an ultimate jackpot of 200 million. These last two jackpots are timed, so you will only get a couple of chances at them. After all but one ball drains, multiball ends and the MULTI lights are reset. Normally the MULTI lights stay on after the shots are hit, but after the second multiball, the lights go back one step if you don't hit the next one within about 10-15 seconds, making it much harder to get multiball.
Hitting "start round" on the skill shot, getting awarded "start round" by the mystery shot, or putting the ball in the mode saucer when you are not already in a pyramid round or multiball will start the next round on the pyramid. There are six rounds in three rows: rain of terror, catapult, and fire and ice on the bottom row, cataclysm and blade fight on the middle row, and calm before the storm at the top. Initially rain of terror is flashing, but the pop bumpers change the flashing round among the uncompleted ones at the current row. While in a pyramid round, you can't add MULTI or WEAPON letters, but you can use almost all the other features: combo shots, attack mode, abyss shots, and adding DOUBLE letters. Each of the first 5 rounds normally lasts for 15 seconds, but if MB has been lit (by hitting the MB target 3 times) then a multiball is started, and the round lasts until 1 ball drains. Calm before the storm is always a multiball. After calm before the storm ends, the entire pyramid flashes. The next round is the beast challenge, described below.
Each hit of the left drop target or left slingshot advances the blue light one position in a set of 5 lights. The right drop target and right slingshot similarly advance the yellow lights. When the lit blue and yellow lights are side by side, the "attack" mode begins. As you would expect, this happens quite often. In the attack mode, the M ramp is worth 3 million, and it locks the ball. Pressing a flipper releases the ball through the crane (which is swinging back and forth), and a carefully timed release will drop the ball into the catapult saucer for 30 million. The 30 million can also be scored by simply hitting the saucer without going through the M ramp. The mode ends when the 30 million is collected, or after a timer (I think 15 seconds) expires.
Each hit of the catapult saucer advances the DOUBLE lights. When DOUBLE is completed, then "everything doubled" is lit, and all scoring for the rest of the ball is doubled. Extra balls are also doubled, and perhaps the special from beast challenge would also be doubled.
Dropping the ball into the abyss adds 1 abyss shot. For every 2 abyss shots, the next-round multiplier is advanced - the game says "next round 2 x." (or 3x if you advance it twice before playing a round.) All the scoring in the next pyramid round will be doubled. If "everything doubled" is also lit, you can actually get 4x or 6x during a round. Some HUGE catapult scores can be made this way.
The U and L shots light alternately to advance WEAPON. When WEAPON is completed, the weapon shot is lit at the abyss. When the weapon shot is hit, a menu of choices appears. The first time the choices are multiball (the same as if you completed MULTI), 10 million points, or cataclysm (the same as if you started cataclysm round from the mode saucer or the skill shot - if you had not already completed cataclysm then it is lit on the pyramid). The second and third times the options are "? score", 30 million, or "? feature". I don't know what the ? feature is; I've chosen it and nothing happened except for the next round 2 x from hitting an abyss shot.
If no combo shot was lit, then hitting any of the MULTI shots lights another one (which should be reachable after the first shot) as a combo shot. Hitting the combo shot adds one to your combo shot total, and scores 500,000 points, and lights another combo shot. Hitting consecutive combo shots doubles the point bonus for each shot, so it is possible to get a 16 million point combo shot, or maybe better - I don't know what the limit is on this doubling. A certain number of total combo shots for the game awards an extra ball. The factory default is 26, but this is too high and auto-adjusts to values around 11 to 17. After this, a 50 million point bonus is awarded for getting twice that many combo shots, and finally 70 million is awarded at 90 combo shots (this number does not vary).
Usually, if you're not in a round or multiball, and the I shot is not lit, then the mystery saucer will be lit for a mystery award. Awards I've seen include "Start round", "next round 2x", "start multiball", point values such as 1 million, 5 million, "hurry-up extra ball" (at the abyss), "hurry- up special" (at the T ramp), and ZERO. ZERO usually comes up if you're already doing quite well in the game.
M-T extra ball:
There are sets of LEDs over the entrance to the M ramp and behind the T ramp that track how many times you've hit them in this ball. If you hit each one 4 times in the same ball then an extra ball is lit at the abyss.
Sometimes the spinner lights for acu-spin. When the ball goes through the spinner the total number of spins and the acu-spin number is displayed. If the spinner stops after exactly the right number of spins, then an extra ball is awarded. If it doesn't make enough spins, you can hit it again to try to get the right number of spins. The only time I actually managed to get this extra ball was a weak I shot, which gave about 3 more spins when it came back down, making the right number of spins.
When a ball goes out one of the outlanes a mystery point bonus is awarded. I've seen 500,000, 1 million, 2M, 3M, 4M, 5M, 10M, 20M, and 50M.
There is an extra ball buy-in for 1 quarter/token/whatever coin. Unlike earlier games with an extra-ball buy-in, you cannot use credits for the buy-in. The game I play costs 50 cents per credit, but only a quarter for the buy in. Also, the buy-in is offered more than once - I know it's offered at least three times, but if you get into the top 5 scores, you must end your game and enter initials.
At the end of the game, the DOUBLE letters are advanced once. If this completes DOUBLE, then your score for the entire game is doubled. However, if this doubling would give you a replay, or put your score into the high score list, then it will not advance DOUBLE.
If the ball is in the pop bumpers, you can get it out by holding both flippers - this turns off the bumpers. This is a good idea when a timed round has just started, and you can also hold the next round this way, if, for example, you have 2x or 3x next round lit, and you want the next round to be catapult.
Sometimes, the game will get confused, and the display will go blank for a few seconds, and when it returns it will be scrambled. The text is usually in German, and the score is either not displayed at all, or is jumbled. After a while, or at the end of the ball, the display will usually return to normal, although it once happened to me on my last ball and the extra ball buy-in screen was asking me to insert 1 mark for an extra ball. (Seriously!) This tends to happen after a game has gone on for a while, so you're usually just noticing that the game is going well when it happens. It seems (from discussion on rgp) that all Gladiators games do this.
If there's anything I left out let me know.
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