by Joel Iott
Gottlieb/Premier's latest machine "Waterworld" has just shown up on test at Town & Country.
The game is based on the movie that just opened Friday in the US. The backglass features two large heads of the movie stars - Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper (similar to Demolition Man).
The big toy on the game is a half-pipe ramp and a suspended boat. The boat is mostly flat, and has two surfaces (flat top & flat bottom). It's mounted on a spit similar to what would be used to roast meat. A motor can turn the boat to have either surface on top.
The half-pipe ramp is a large ramp about 6 inches wide and 6 inches high. The ramp is a half-cylinder in shape, and shots up the half-pipe will land in the boat. There's some plastic on the ramp to make it look like a cresting wave (I think). The ramp is mounted in the upper middle of the playfield, at the end of a wide lane with pop bumpers.
In one mode, you lock 3 balls in the boat. There are no actual switches in the boat, so the game relies on optos in the half-pipe to tell it when the balls have remained in the boat. The boat turns to dump out the balls to start multiball.
When the boat does not lock balls, shots up the ramp will either return to the left flipper (and spell WATERWORLD) or drop down the center scoring nothing.
Other features of the playfield are a lane on the left (think Fish Tales reel without the reel) called the "Harpoon" lane that will give awards. It is difficult to get the ball in this area on purpose, except by the special "Curvy" lane. The harpoon kicker seemed to have problems getting the ball up the 180 degree return wireform.
The "curvy" lane is on the extreme right behind a target, and can only be hit off the tip of the left flipper. A strong shot to this lane can end up in the harpoon lane.
The game features left and right orbits, and a diverter can open to catch left orbit shots. A small "jet-ski" toy will raise up on right orbit shots. This looks just like the Stargate "raising guard" targets without the actual target that the ball hits - in other words, the jet-ski is for show only, no ball interaction.
The last major playfield feature is the "dive hole", which is a very deep sinkhole that is pretty easy to shoot. The dive hole is hexagonal in shape. The dive hole's main purpose is to give one of 9 awards.
9 awards are arranged in a 3x3 grid in the center of the playfield. 4 of the awards are "Feature" which gave Player's Choice. Usually one of the choices would be "Super Hint" which seemed to be help information! The center award is Jackpot, and the remaining 4 are various awards. Lighting a line or the four corners lights other modes.
The thing you collect and trade in this game is "Dirt" (!) which is definitely the strangest trading material so far. Premier has very helpfully listed the various trade-in values for Dirt on the bottom arch, which is a big improvement over the mystery trade in values of Stargate, etc.
There's the usual Jackpots, Super Jackpots, combos, etc. common to the latest Premier games.
The flippers seemed a little different than usual. In the resting position, they seemed to be a little higher than normal. It was still very easy to catch balls with them.
There is no auto-plunger on this game, so multiball modes are two balls only, except for the boat-locking multiballs which are four ball multiballs.
My first impression of the game was that it wasn't all that exciting. The half-pipe is so wide that it's easy to loop it to spell Waterworld or lock balls in the boat. The lack of an auto-plunger means that there are no additional balls spit out into play like Stargate and Big Hurt, which I enjoyed on those games. The harpoon lane is difficult to hit on purpose, so the game seems to be consist of 4 shots - the orbits, the wide ramp, and the dive hole. This is only a first impression, and I'll follow up when I've played the game some more.
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