Popeye Saves The Earth
Bluto Bashing
Version 1.2 by Adrian Donati

This represents my second attempt at a rulesheet (well, can't let Bowen and Cameron do them all .. :) ) and they say you get better with practice, so maybe this one will be a little more organised than Indy.

Given that the subject matter is undoubtedly copyrighted by somebody, this sheet is freely distributed on condition that: 1) No attempt is made to make money out of it without asking me first, and 2) No alterations are made which will remove or invalidate these conditions.

Thanks go out to:

  • Me (Adrian Donati)
  • Don Coons
  • Kevin Martin
  • Shawn Dohery
  • John Gantert

who share the iffy distinction of having played Popeye, and still come back for more! (not counting early PAPA IV finalists .. :)

Current known software versions are: PA-0 PA-5 LA-2 LA-5 PX-3 My opinions are derived from a PX-3 machine.

General Comments:

My initial opinion of this game was not particularly high. It improved a little while the hardware was still working and I had some idea what I was doing, but after substantially more play I have decided that this is the worst game I can think of in Bally history! Arriving hot on the heels of ST:TNG didn't help it any either.

The newer software seems solid, if somewhat useless, but the hardware has some major problems: notably a weak plunger and a very bad lock hole. Graphics/animation and the sound are both good quality but really only provide a distraction to the player - they do nothing to let the player know what is happening, and it is pretty rare you see your score displayed.

Playfield Layout

Continuing the current trend, this is another widebody and plays on two levels. The playfield is a little cluttered with a good number of shots hidden from normal view making them hard to hit consistently. We also see a return to the 'Mutant Pygmy' flippers making the centre drain pretty painful.

The following is how the playfield is laid out starting on the lower level from the cavernous centre drain and working clockwise:

Sail Again
A small light between the flippers, flashing when the Ball Saver is active and hard on when Extra Ball has been awarded. Note: the default setting for the Ball Saver is off so don't be surprised if yours does not work.

Left Flipper
Short, 2.5 inch variety. (yuk!)

Left Slingshot
Standard triangular type, although apparently aligned such that flipper passes are next to impossible.

Left Inlane
Nothing special here either. Lights right loop when lit.

Left Outlane
No kickback. Collect Extra Ball when lit.

P-O-P Targets
Bank of 3 stand up targets making up the first half of POPEYE. Spell POPEYE to light a Spinach Can (more later).

Left Loop
Called the 'Round House' loop. Potentially BIG point scorer and used to collect animals. This is one of the shots with a Spinach Can.

SEA Target
One half of SEA-HAG which lights Collect Item at the Left Ramp.

Left Ramp
Increments the 'Ramps' count which has a similar function to Bear Kicks in TAF. Collects Jackpot during Multiball, and an Item when lit. This shot also has a Spinach Can and feeds to the right inlane.

Animal Sinkhole
Feeds to the Animals on the upper level. Starts Instant Multiball when lit and is another shot with a Spinach Can.

Left Jab Target
Single stand up target used to light Lockjaw and during Fight Bluto rounds.

Sinkhole used for locking balls for Multiball and relighting Jackpot once collected. This is also the Multiball kickout. (see below: Miscellaneous)

Right Jab Target
Same as the Left Jab above.

Jet Bumpers
Situated Behind Jab/Lockjaw/Jab (ie Bluto's head) is the usual combination of three pop bumpers. Ball can exit these into the Animal & Fight Bluto sinkholes, either side of Bluto's head, and up through the O-Y-L rollovers.

O-Y-L Rollovers
Spell OYL to advance BonusX by 1 and light Fight Bluto. O-Y-L lights are rotated right by both flippers.

Fight Bluto Cartel
Sinkhole which feeds to the right inlane. Starts a Fight Bluto round when lit. This shot has a Spinach Can too.

HAG Target
The other half of SEA-HAG. Shoot SEA-HAG to light Collect Item at the left ramp.

Right Loop
Called 'Round House' loop. Collects Animals and scores good points. Another shot with a Spinach Can.

Access to the upper level. When lit will allow you to select a random award (more later) before sending the ball up.

E-Y-E Targets
The other half of POPEYE. Shooting POPEYE will light a Spinach Can.

Right Outlane
Nothing unique about this. Collects Special when lit.

Right Inlane
Bog standard lane fed from left ramp, upper playfield and the skill shot. Lights Left Loop when lit.

Right Slingshot
Another basic triangle.

Right Flipper
Short, 2.5 inch variety.

As well as the lower playfield, there is a basic upper playfield made up of two sections which can be accessed in one of two ways: via the Escalator which will access both, or the Animal Sinkhole which just feeds to the Animals.

This is of a similar size and location to IJ's Path of Adventure gadget although it is fixed. The ball is fed from either Kneedeep (the mini upper playfield) or the Animal sinkhole. The left flipper fires a kicker which diverts the ball into an Animal which eventually drops into the Left Inlane.

Kneedeep Playfield
Fed from the Escalator, this is a true mini-playfield with two short (ala Thing) flippers in the appropriate position and a centre drain hole which drops the ball down through Bluto's head to where Lockjaw kicks out.

Super Animal Targets
Two stand up targets which light Super Animal when hit are left of the left flipper.

Super Animal exit
Just above the targets is a gap which feeds left to the Animals section. It is lit for Super Animal if the targets have been hit.

Swea' Pea
Directly opposite the flippers is a short, steep ramp which leads to three gates. Shooting these gates searches for Swea' Pea. This feeds around the back of the Super Animal targets to the upper left flipper.

2X Wheel exit
Right of the Swea' Pea gates is an exit to the Skill Shot wheel. Collects Extra Ball when lit and doubles value of the wheel when lit for that.

Below the 2X Wheel is the exit from the Escalator. If the ball finds its way down here it is sent straight back up.

Skill Shot Wheel
A rotating wheel is roughly the same position as IJ's Idol and containing 8 awards. The ball arrives from either the plunger shot or from the Kneedeep playfield and feeds to the Right Inlane. See below for list of awards.


The following section provides some detailed descriptions of what's worth what and how to get various awards. I suspect that there is a bit more to this game than first meets the eye, but I doubt it will ever get enough play for us to ever discover everything. Also, since you cannot see your score half the time, it's been very difficult to find out what shots score what.

Skill Shot
With a bit of practice and no hardware problems (more later), this is a fairly easy thing. The ball is launched up a short habitrail and drops onto a rotating disc which contains 8 different awards in order as follows:
100,000 points10M points
Lite Lock Spinach Can
OYL Spot Animal
2M points Spot Item
This skill wheel may also be fed from the Kneedeep playfield. If this is the case you have no control over the ball and if 2X Wheel was lit the above awards are doubled.

Round House Loops
When lit, consecutive loop shots are worth 2M^(no. of loops) with a maximum (if any) of at least 32M. Note that consecutive shots means just that; if you hit any other switch between two loops, the loop value is reset to 2M although the loop still remains lit for a few seconds. Lighting loops is done as follows:

  • From the inlanes. There is always one and only one inlane lit for Lite Loop and this swaps on each flipper press. If collected, the opposite loop is lit so the left inlane lights the right loop and vice versa.

  • During Save the Animals where each loop saves an animal as well as scoring points. They do not have to be consecutive to save Animals though.

  • During Fight Bluto loops will often be lit. Again, in addition to points, a loop will also help towards defeating Bluto.

The animation of Bluto getting a right hook and his head spinning around is quite good, especially if you manage to hit a few consecutive loops.

When the ball finds its way up to the Animals area, you have to divert it from the left lane into the right lane where the Animals (Rhino, Panda, Leopard, Eagle & Dolphin) are by means of a kicker controlled by the left flipper. If you are successful in collecting an Animal you have a limited amount of time in which to shoot loops and save them. Saving at least one should be fairly easy since the ball is dropped from this upper area into the left inlane. Animals are worth 5M each.

If you manage to save all five, this starts a Hurry Up counter at 50M (maybe 40M) and shows an animation of Bluto being chased by the Animals. Shoot the Left Ramp to collect the points.

Super Animal
This is the top left exit from the Kneedeep playfield and is lit by hitting one of the two targets on Kneedeep. It feeds to the Animal lane (surprise). The 'Super' bit just means you get double the points you would for an ordinary Animal.

2X Wheel
The top right exit from Kneedeep. Collects Extra Ball if lit and awards double the Skill Wheel value it lands in. This is by far the best thing to go for up there.

POP & EYE Targets
Spelling POP or EYE awards 2M, or 3M if it was done in sequence.

Spinach Can
Spelling POPEYE lights one of the five Spinach Cans which correspond to various playfield shots (see playfield layout for locations). Once a Can is lit, it stays lit for the rest of the ball or until that shot is hit. Making a shot with a lit Can scores double the value of that shot including anything else that may be lit there (ie Jackpot).

If you light enough Spinach Cans, you hear a sort of 'hurry up' type of sound effect. Buggered if I know what you are meant to do though - the display didn't help and there were no lights flashing violently.

Escalator Award
When lit, a shot to the Escalator allows you to select an award before the ball is pumped up to the Kneedeep field. The awards are displayed and can be advanced by pressing the flippers. There is a time limit to this (operator settable) and once that time expires, the award currently displayed is given. I understand that the awards are also shown in the same sequence every time so if you have enough time you MAY be able to cycle through them if you have missed a good one - I would recommend you take more care in the first place. The following is a list of known awards:
Spot POP Spot EYE
Spot OYL Lite Lock
Spot Item Spot Animal
Spinach Jets at Max
Special Extra Ball
Light Escalator Points (various values from 20 up to 10M)

Note that the Extra Ball only lights the 2X Wheel exit from the Kneedeep playfield for an EB. You have to score that shot to collect one.

s to the left ramp are recorded in a counter (think Bear Kicks, Robots) and an award is made every 4 loops so this could be quite useful. The first few are as follows:
4 loopsLight Spinach
8 loopsLight Extra Ball at left outlane (!!!!)
12 loopsLight Spinach
16 loopsSpot Animal (?)
20 loopsLight Spinach
It would appear that every other award is Light Spinach. If this is the case, it should not be too difficult to collect loop awards since the first Spinach Can to be lit is always at the Left Ramp.

Find Swea' Pea
When on the Kneedeep playfield, shoot the three gates to search for Swea' Pea. The display shows a picture of three doors, with a miniature map to the left. The 'X' on the map is where Swea' Pea is hiding, and the doors match up with the gates on the playfield. Shooting a gate will move you through the corresponding door unless it is not available (you can tell this by lights at the entrance to the gate, or from the map).

If you actually manage to find Swea' Pea (and it's bloody hard), you might be forgiven for not noticing. On our game, there is nothing special on the display, and only a 'ding ding' sound effect to give you any hint that you've found him - you don't even get to see how many points it's worth (apparently 50M).

Sea Hag Multiball
This is the Instant Multiball which can be which can be lit at the Animal sinkhole. Lighting it is done by collecting all four Items (Can Opener, Baby Bottle, Ketchup, Flower) from the left ramp when lit or from the Skill Wheel. Lighting the left ramp is done by hitting the SEA & HAG targets.

Once this 4 ball Multiball is running, you need to return the Items to their owners to collect a mammoth number of points. (OK, 50M ..:) I believe you need one POPEYE target to return the Can Opener, one OYL target to return the Flower, hit a Find Swea' Pea gate to give the bottle back and the 2X Wheel shot for Wimpy's Ketchup.

Bluto Multiball
Lock three balls in Lockjaw to start the Bluto Multiball. Lockjaw is lit either from the Skill Wheel, an Escalator award or shooting the two Jab targets.

When it starts, Sail Again (the ball saver) is active for some time while the balls are kicked out. This is neccessary since the balls are kicked SDTM (like JP's Raptor Pit). The objective is to shoot the left ramp to collect the Jackpot, shoot Lockjaw to relight it and so on until there are less than 2 balls in play.

Successive Jackpots are worth 30M x Jackpot number. A Spinach Can lit on the left ramp will double the jackpot, although no jackpot (doubled or otherwise) will exceed 180M.

If you drain 2 of the 3 balls without collecting a Jackpot, you get about 20 secs to restart Multiball by shooting Lockjaw.

Stampede Mode
Just above the flippers in the centre of the playfield is the Geomap which contains the 5 Animals from the upper area. Spotting all 5 of these Animals via the Skill Wheel (no doubt among others) will start the Stampede Mode. Don Coons tells me this is a frenzy type mode in which all switches are worth 100K.

Fight Bluto Cartel
This is Popeye's addition to the recent Mode craze. Fortunately there is only 4 of them - Unfortunately, the only difference between them is the animation and the name. During each one Bluto is doing something bad and you have to shoot the flashing targets to stop him. It appears that there is no time limit, it's a simple case of you beat him or he beats you. The 4 Fights are:
Earth Pavers
Bluto is building a wall of blocks. Shooting the targets destroys them a few at a time. If the wall gets to 15 blocks Bluto wins, 0 and Popeye does. Aim for the jet bumpers here, each pop smashes 1 block.

Never Green Logging
Bluto burns trees, Popeye plants them - six trees on the display is victory for Popeye, none and Bluto wins.

Blutonium Waste
Bluto is dumping waste in the river and Popeye removing it - 6 barrels in and Poeye loses, 0 and he wins. Probably the toughest one this.

Spill Oil Co.
Display shows Popeye on the left, Bluto on the right and a wall in the middle. Both are waist deep in oil and cranking a handle to change the oil level. Whoever doesn't drown wins ... :)

Mutant Spinach Multiball
I am led to believe that you enter a mad 5-ball Multiball upon completion of the four Fight Bluto modes. I have no information on it, but am assuming that you actually have to beat Bluto 4 times to start it as opposed to ST:TNG where just starting a Mission counts toward Final Frontier.

Rescue Olive Super Jackpot
Six ball Multiball where the objective is to collect all 5 Spinach Cans and then shoot Lockjaw to rescue Olive for the Super Jackpot.

This is almost a carbon copy of the Vacation Jackpot from WhiteWater. To start it, you need to complete the Sea Hag Multiball, all 5 Animals, the Bluto Multiball, Find Swea' Pea, and the 4 Fight Bluto modes - not an easy task by anybodies standard. THEN you have to collect the 5 Spinach Cans and shoot the Lock to collect the jackpot!


The best strategy is to play a different game. I mean it - this game might appeal to a casual player who never looks at the display and just wants to bat a sliver ball around a bit, but anybody who has even a passing interest in pinball is likely to be turned off pretty quick.

Anyway, by all accounts this is a one objective game, that objective being Bluto Multiball which can be started with just 3 shots! (ie Light Lock from skill shot, shoot lock, repeat). Once it's going, shoot the Left Ramp for Jackpot then Bluto to relight it.

I don't fully agree with this. There is good value in Round House Loops, and Ramp Loops, and the Animal jackpot is worth 50M so is also worthwhile. Sea Hag Multiball is only really good for spotting a few targets/loops in quick succession coz it's too hard to complete. There is definitely something on Popeye that is worth points since my personal best is 977M but I have no idea what I shot to get that much!

One or two tips:

  • Shoot Bluto when unlit. The Ball Saver is active for the kickout so you get a free (random) item from the Skill Wheel.

  • Avoid Swea' Pea. When on Kneedeep, hit the standup targets then shoot Super Animal or 2X Wheel.

  • Play Star Trek: The next Generation instead ... :)


This is the odds 'n ends section where I put stuff which does not logically fit anywhere else. The following comments are mostly my opinions/experience and in no particular order:

  • The Skill Shot is ruined by a hardware problem on the local machine. Think back to DrWho where a short habitrail fed the right inlane. This rail had a nasty piece of blue rubber designed as a stopper for the ball which caused bad things to happen. Well, a similar piece exists at the end of the habitrail the ball is initially launched up and this causes it to bounce back down to the plunger. Not only does this make the Skill Shot next to impossible, but it causes big problems during Multiball when Sail Again is active. Add a weak plunger to this and the problem is chronic.

  • On the subject of Sail Again (this is the ball saver), it is active at the start of each ball, and each time a single ball is kicked out of Lockjaw (different rules apply during Multiball). This is operator settable and defaults to OFF which is another really bad thing.

  • The Lock/Kickout arrangement is really bad. Whether it is due to bad software, bad hardware or a combination of both, I don't know, but the game rarely knows how many balls are locked, and often won't register a hit to the lock at all.

  • The awards from the Escalator appear to be much better if you are having a lousy game than if you are having a good one.

  • Hitting the Swea' Pea gates is harder than you might think since the gap between each gate is pretty narrow and there is a lot of rubber there too.

  • The ball saver timer starts counting as soon as you launch, not as soon as the first switch is hit. Combined with the above problem, I have had balls where Sail Again has timed out before the ball is actually in play.

  • The Fight Bluto timers keep counting even when the ball is out of play ie after a Lockjaw kickout or while selecting an Escalator award. This may, or may not, be a bug. Whichever way, I don't like it.

  • Extra ball buy in exists with a limit of one. Nothing special is awarded for using EB buy-in.

  • EB on the outlane is fairly easy to light by shooting 8 Left Ramps. However, this is the most ridiculous set up I have seen since you have to drain to collect it. I suppose if you look at it as a kickback then it's not so bad.

  • Death Saves and Bang Backs are out.

Not a lot more I can add really, and since I have no intention of putting in any serious time on this machine until I can access it during cheap lock-in sessions, don't expect much more in the way of updates unless somebody out there gets really keen on it or I get to play with it with the glass off for a while.

Good Luck - You'll need it with this one.


Editor's Notes

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

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