Safe Cracker


October 29, 1996 - M. Coriale


This rule sheet describes the Safe Cracker® game by Bally®. Safe Cracker is the first "Token-Pin®" - a pinball game that also dispenses collectable tokens. There are 20 collectable tokens, including one which is silver colored. As with most modern pinball games, Safe Cracker has many settings that govern the way the machine behaves. This rules sheet does not detail these settings. This is not the ultimate rule sheet for this game. Many pieces of information are missing (intentionally or otherwise), and very little strategy is discussed. I encourage someone else to spend some time editing and filling in the blanks.

General Description of the Game

Safe Cracker is a timed pinball game with an interactive board game. The player's score is determined by a combination of pinball play and the results of the board game. The main objective of Safe Cracker is to break into the bank and play the board game. At the end of the board game is "The Vault". The Vault is where the player obtains tokens and many points.

The Design Team

Safe Cracker was designed by:

  • Pat Lawlor: Concept, Design, and Playfield
  • Matt Coriale: Software and Design
  • John Youssi: Art
  • Dean Grover: Software and Design
  • John Krutch: Mechanix
  • Carl Biagi: Mechanix
  • Adam Rhine: Dot Matrix Art
  • Brian Morris: Dot Matrix Art
  • Dan Forden: Sounds & Music
  • Lyman Sheats: "Assault on the Vault" Programming
  • And a cast of thousands...

"Main Play" rules:


The player has 4 goals during "Main Play": accumulate points, accumulate time, alter the state of the board game for the best odds of getting to the vault, and breaking into the bank.

The Timer and Timer Lights

Each player starts with a set amount of time. The timer runs whenever the player is in main play. The amount of time the player has remaining is shown in two places: on the timer lights in the center of the playfield, and a "life bar" on the display during score sweep. Almost all switches on the playfield add a very small amount of time or pause the timer briefly. This encourages the player to keep the ball moving.

Sudden Death

When the player runs out of time, the game goes into "Sudden Death". This means that when the player loses the ball, the game ends. During sudden death, the game will not add time for most common events. The player can add time by several means, but most normal main-play rules no longer add time. If the player executes a rule which adds time during sudden death, the game comes out of sudden death, and normal main play rules then allow time to be added again.

Drop Targets

Bottom Left 3-Bank

The bottom left 3-bank has two main purposes: to spot other drop targets, and to add additional entrances for "break-ins".

Other Drop Targets

The remaining drop targets are used to light entrances for breaking into the bank. To light an entrance, the player shoots the blinking drop target sets. When all blinking sets have been completed, the player can then shoot the "lock" shot. After locking the first ball, the bottom left 3-bank lights additional entrances into the bank.

The Big-Kick and Bob's Getaway

The Big-Kick on the left side of the playfield gives "Bob's Getaway". This is a random number of points that ascends during game play.

The Wheel and Wheel Awards

The Wheel is important for several reasons. First, it is a good way to add lots of time during main play. When the wheel is lit, it adds more time than when it is unlit. The amount of time added is proportional to how much it spins. When the wheel is lit, it advances the current "wheel award". The current award is shown on four lights in the center of the playfield. To collect the "wheel award", the player must shoot into the main entrance of the bank (a scoop in the center of the playfield).

Light Locks

This award bypasses the needed drop target sets and immediately lights the locks on the left ramp.

Disable Computer

This award starts a short mode, during which the timer is held. If the player is in sudden death, this mode will keep the game from ending if the ball is drained.

Deposit Window

This award gives a "free gift" form the teller. There are many gifts, ranging from 20 "minutes" of time on the clock to a free token.

Call Guard

This award randomly allows the player to break into the bank for free. Other times, it just awards points.

The Sliding Target (Manhole Awards)

The sliding target gives several awards. To get the award, the player must hit the target all the way back, and then drop the ball through the hole behind the target.

ATM Card

Multiplies the awards from the '$' spots in the board game.

Note to Teller

Used to get past the teller on the board game.


Starts a frenzy where the drop sets score big points.

Safe #

Awards a letter in the word "VAULT". When the player completes "VAULT", the next break-in to the vault results in Token Multiball. These letters are held from game to game.

Lite Outlanes

Lites the outlanes for "Extra Time".

The Left Ramp and Donuts

The left ramp is used to collect donuts, lock balls, and collect various jackpots.

The Main Entrance and the Deposit Window ("Gift Lady")

The "Main Entrance" is a shot into a scoop in the center of the playfield. This shot is used to collect wheel awards and to start the board game.

The Top Lanes and the "Roof" entrance.

The top lanes (labeled A,B,C) are used to add time to the clock. Completing the ABC lights adds 5 "minutes" to the timer. The center lane is also used to enter to board game through the "roof" when lit.

The Jets, and Jet Levels

The jets add time to the clock for each hit. Lit jets add more time than unlit jets. Jets are lit by completing drop sets.

The "ALARM" Targets

Spelling out the ALARM targets disables an alarm on the board game.

The "Extra Time" lights on the outlanes

Rolling over the "Extra Time" lights, when lit, adds time to the clock, even if the game was in sudden death.

The Return Lanes:

Lite Deposit Window

Lites the "Main Entrance" for a free gift.

Lite 2 Donuts

Times out the ramp shot for 2 donuts.

Bonus Multipliers and Bonus

Each entrance to the bank advances the bonus multiplier, which is indicated in lights at the bottom of the playfield. The bonus is computed only at the end of the game.

Multi-Player Games

In Multi-Player games, each player plays in turn until they run out of time. All remaining players continue until all players have run out of time. New players may be added at any time, up until any player has entered sudden death.


If a player tilts during sudden death, the game ends without any bonus. If the player tilts with time left on the clock, the game continues, but the player is now in sudden death.

The "Board Game":


The Board Game is the main feature of Safe Cracker. The player can increase the odds of successfully completing the board game by using the Pinball rules to modify the various landing spots and rules of the board. Completing the board game lands the player in "The Vault", where at least one token can be won. During the board game, a guard (indicated by a slow blinking light) chases the player (indicated by a fast blinking light). If the guard catches up with the player, the board game ends.

The Three Entrances

The three entrances to the bank are the "Cellar" (behind the sliding target), the "Main Entrance" (the scoop in the center of the playfield), and the "Roof" (the center lane above the jets). The entrance that the player uses to start the board game determines how far the player must travel to reach "The Vault". The path the player will take is determined by drawing a path from the corresponding entrance light on the board, clockwise around the center circle, and entering the first unlit "gate".

Spinning the Safe Knob

The player's movement is determined by stopping the safe knob using flipper buttons. There is an adjustment for this feature. When set for "random", the knob will stop on a truly random number, otherwise, the knob will stop based on when the player hits the flipper buttons.

The Guard's Roll

The Guard begins chasing the player after the player has moved several spots. The Guard chases the player from the entrance that the player starts the board game from. The Guard's movement is determined by a purely random roll of the dice.

Your Stash

During the board game, the player accumulates a "stash" of money. This money is not added to the player's score automatically, it is used as a reward for successfully completing the board game. If the feature adjustment is set for giving a choice to "continue or quit", the player may quit the board game after any successful spin and take the stash.


The '$' spot adds money to the player's stash. This value is multiplied by the number of ATM cards collected.


The '?' game puts up several items on the screen and gives the player one of them by stopping a randomly moving box when the player presses the flippers. These items can be both good and bad.

Money Bag

The money bag adds money to the player's stash.

Move Forward

The clockwise arrow moves the player forward several spots. The player then receives the appropriate award or consequence of the spot landed on.


The stopwatch adds time to the clock, even if the player is in sudden death.

Dog Biscuit

The dog biscuit is used to defeat the CyberDog. The player can accumulate multiple dog biscuits, and each time the player lands on the CyberDog spot, one is subtracted.


The "code" adds a letter to the VAULT spell-up.


The Donuts add 12 donuts to the player's collection.


The key is used to unlock a "locked" gate. If the player has a key when landing on the gate spot, the player may continue. The player may accumulate multiple keys.

Move Cop Backwards

The counter-clockwise arrow with the guard's hat moves the guard backwards. This is usually good, but can also be bad. If this results in the guard moving backwards onto the player, the player is caught and the board game ends.

Disable Alarm

This disables an alarm spot.

Winged Shoe

This gives the player the chance to run "around" the board. Pressing the flippers decelerates the player's spot to a stop. Dean wrote it in a cough-syrup induced haze -Ed.

Lightning Bolt

The lightning bolt sends a "lightning bolt" around the board. This travels around the board until it comes to either the player or the guard. If it hits the guard, it removes the guard from the board. If it hits the player, it ends the board game.


The TNT keg ends the board game and starts TNT multiball.


This dispenses a free token and allows the player to continue playing the board game.


The bribe spot causes the guard to ask you for about half of your money. Each time the guard asks, you can choose to give him the money or turn him down. If the guard is turned down too many times, he will eventually "catch" the player and end the board game.

Candy 2000

The Candy 2000 game scrolls randomized letter combinations across the screen. Choosing certain 3 letter combinations will give awards, like dog biscuits and keys.


The CyberDog starts a hurry-up style mode where the player's ball is ejected to the playfield and the player's spot on the board game starts moving. When the player shoots the ball back into any entrance, the player continues the board game from the spot where the light currently is. If the player has a dog biscuit, the CyberDog takes the dog biscuit and does not start the pinball mode.

Alarms and Alarm Mode

The alarm spots start the "Alarm Mode" if the player lands on them when lit. If they are not lit, they are a free spot. In "Alarm Mode", the player's ball is ejected and the player must shoot the ball into the "Cellar" entrance behind the sliding target to continue the board game. If the shot is not made in time, the stash is lost and regular main-play resumes. If the player successfully shoots the sliding target, the board game resumes with the player starting from the "Cellar" entrance.


The gate spots serve two purposes. The first is to determine the path the player will take to get into the Vault. The gate lights are turned off by completing locks. The more locks the player gets, the more gates that are opened. During the board game, the player will turn in towards the Vault at the first open gate. If the player lands on the gate square, a quick game is played with open and locked gates shown on the display. If the player gets a locked gate, the board game ends. If the player gets an open gate, the board game continues.


The Teller spot gives the player a random chance of receiving a good award or a money-bomb. The money-bomb ends the board game. If the player has a "Note to Teller", the teller will take the note and not give the player the money-bomb.

Run N' Hide

Run N' Hide bounces the player's spot around randomly within a window of several spots from the Run N' Hide. When the player presses the flippers, the board game continues from where the player's spot lands. The player also plays the rules for the spot landed on.


The '#' spot gives a "Big Find" of $100,000.


The '!' spot is a laser beam that ends the board game.

The Vault

The Vault is the end of the board game. The player receives at least one token. If the VAULT spell-up is completed, the player then plays "Token Multiball", otherwise, the player then plays "Vault Multiball", with the current stash value used as the jackpot.

TNT Multiball

TNT Multiball is a frenzy where all switches score, and completing drop sets give time, even if the player is in sudden death.

Token Multiball

In Token Multiball, a progressive jackpot of tokens is available for the player to win. Each jackpot shot gives the player one token from the jackpot. If the jackpot becomes depleted (or if a token can not be dispensed because it is empty or jammed), points are substituted. At the end of token multiball, the VAULT spell-up is reset, regardless of how many tokens are won.

Vault Multiball

In Vault Multiball, the jackpot value is set to the player's stash value from the board game. Jackpots are received from the ramp shot, and must be re-lit by hitting the wheel.

Assault on the Vault

The "Assault On The Vault" multiball is given as an award for putting the token back into the game. It is a timed multiball during which the player advances lights from each of the entrances in the board game towards The Vault. Paths are advanced by completing drop target sets. The bottom left drop target set will advance all three paths by one spot. A bonus is built up based on the number of spots lit up, the number of paths completed all the way into the vault, and the number of Jackpot shots.

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