Bad Cats (Williams, 1989) VP8

VP8 Williams SS Recreation Bad Cats (Williams, 1989) VP8 v5.1 JP 2020-01-28

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Williams 1989,
IPD No. 127

Bad Cats Version 1.01 Written by Bill Ung

"There's more than one way to skin a Bad Cat!"

"BAD CATS" and dozens of other things in here are probably copyright Williams Electronics Inc.


Playfield Layout
Skill Shot
Fishbowl Ramp
Trash Can / Fish Bone-Us
Tiger Ramp
Curiosity Spin
Software Bugs

BAD CATS is a game by BARRY OURSLER. It is a very friendly-themed pin, based on the life of a cat and the things they tend to do (accompanied by the sounds that they tend to make :-)). The game credits are as follows:

Playfield: Barry Oursler
Software: Ed Suchocki
Mechanix: Don Sondej
with support by Al Cardenas
Art Clafford and Mark Johnson
Sounds & Music: Dan Forden
Good Management Support by Walter Smolucha & Joe Joos
Cats & Dogs, Bees & Birds by the Pinball Python
I suppose you could call Bad Cats a cousin of Cyclone. Both are fun-themed pins with just a single ball and I highly suspect that the "SEAFOOD" wheel is the same mechanism as the Mystery Wheel in Cyclone.

Bad Cats also comes with a very amusing backbox toy of a woman with a broom smacking a spinning cat. She also has a butterfly tattoo on her butt. :-)

We'll take this in the usual clockwise fashion, starting from the left flipper:

Left Flipper
Standard 3" yellow flipper, nothing unusual here.
Left Slingshot
Standard size slingshots for this era.
Left Inlane
Opens Bulldog's Mouth (lights DogHouse scoop) when lit.
Left Outlane
Awards "Curiosity Spin" spin when lit.
"Bird" Drop Target Bank
Five drop targets. Hit them all down to award a B-A-D C-A-T-S letter, working toward lighting the Jackpot shot.
Tiger Ramp
Long ramp on the left, going up to the top of the playfield and down the right side, emptying into the right inlane.
Left Rubber-Switch
Just to the right of the Tiger Ramp is a simple leaf switch behind a rubber band. When hit, it makes a dog bark, and awards 50 (BIG) points.
Trash Can Eject Saucer
Just left of the Fish Target, shoot the lane that curves around, awards the Trash Can value (10K) when "Empty", or the "Fish Bone-Us" when lit. The value may be multiplied 10X, if lit. The ball is then ejected towards the bumpers.
Fish Target
This is a "linear" target, with the picture of a cat on it. Theoretically, the harder you hit the target, the more it will award you. This target lights the awards for "Fish Bone-Us".
Center Lane
Nothing special, it curves around and leads to the top rollover lanes.
Right Rubber
Switch - On the right wall of the Center Lane, this switch makes a cat meow sound, and awards an even bigger 10 points per hit.
"SEAFOOD" wheel
This is a gimmick in the middle of the playfield. A cat is fishing and there are eight fish in the pond. The wheel spins and whichever one ends up in the net will award it's appropriate value.
Fishbowl Ramp
Center ramp, easily hit from either flipper. This ramp awards increasing values, up to an Extra Ball, and is also where you collect the Jackpot.
Top Rollover lanes
Three rollover lanes that spell T-O-Y and empty into the bumpers.
Jet Bumpers
There are three, in the usual configuration.
Barbecue Lamp
Flashlamp, in the middle of the three jet bumpers.
"Milk Bottles" Drop Target Bank
Three drop targets. Hit them all down to award a B-A-D C-A-T-S letter, working toward lighting the Jackpot shot.
Doghouse Scoop
This is a scoop, roughly playfield-mirrored to the T2 Database shot. "Ralphie" the Bulldog lives here.
Right Outlane
Awards "Curiosity Spin" spin when lit.
Right Inlane
Lights the 10X lamp at the Trash Can, when inlane is lit.
Right Slingshot
Looks damn similar to the left slingshot, only in reverse.
Right Flipper
Ya know, this one looks awful familiar too...

The ball is shot into the upper rollovers. One is selected at random, and will be flashing. Pass the ball through the flashing lane and the game will award you BONUS 2X + 120K + lighting the barbecue light. Lane-change does not move the Skill Shot lamp.

Okay, well, I've yet to see a Cat hold a barbecue, but then, perhaps I just didn't get invited. The barbeque, when lit, causes the point value of the jet bumpers to go up from 500 points each to 5,000 points each, plus accompanying cat meows and the occasional dog bark for each hit. It's worth lighting it just for the sound effects ... really!!! If you don't light it via the Skill Shot, you can light it by completing a drop-target bank.

The left inlane, when lit, lights the DogHouse scoop. The right inlane, when lit, lights the 10X Fish Bone-Us. One lane is always lit, when collected, the light moves to the other lane. The lit lane can also be moved by the slingshots, possibly the left/right rubber-switches, and maybe even the jet bumpers.

The center ramp wraps around a Fish Bowl (well, sticker) and, when lit, awards 30K, 50K, 100K and Extra Ball. On Factory Default settings, the ramp is lit at the beginning of each ball until the EB is collected. You may only collect one EB from this ramp per ball (though once I saw it happen twice, so this is probably a reflexing option). If it isn't already lit, you can light it by completing a drop-target bank.

Yeah! The S-E-A-F-O-O-D feature is collected from a lit Doghouse. The Doghouse is lit by passing through a lit left inlane, or by shooting the unlit Doghouse. It is lit for 20 seconds on Factory Settings. Shooting a lit Doghouse spins the S-E-A-F-O-O-D wheel, which will award one of the following prizes:

Spots B-A-D C-A-T-S letter & 25,000 points
10,000 points
50,000 points
Lites Jackpot
Spin Again & 100,000 points
Extra Ball
250,000 points
The wheel is also spun if you manage to collect "Curiosity Spin".

The Trash Can is linked to the linear "Fish" target. If you don't hit the Fish target, the Trash Can is considered "Empty", and will award 10K if you hit it. Hitting the Fish target will light the fish for 25K, 50K, 75K, 100K or 500K. These are timed and will slowly unlight, one at a time, until only the 25K lamp is hit, so after hitting the Fish target, you'll want to shoot for the Trash Can. You get 20 seconds per lamp, on Factory Settings.

Now if you manage to pick up a lit right inlane, this lights the 10X multiplier. Should you do this, the awards from the Trash Can are multiplied by, you guessed it, 10X. That means 100K, 250K, 500K, 750K, 1M or a huge 5M points (plus a delightful sound and light show).

Due to a bug in the software, the light on the Trash Can doesn't really mean anything. The trash can is routinely unlit at the start of each ball, but the Fish Target and 10X lamps, if lit, are left lit. All awards from the Trash Can are controlled by the Fish target and the 10X lamp so these really carry over from ball-to-ball, regardless of the actual Trash Can light.

This is the far left ramp, not a particularly easy shot, and a weak shot can easily go SDTM ... so be sure you make this shot, or get good at nudging and slap saves.

On Factory Settings, this ramp is always lit for something. First it is 50K, then 100K, then 200K, then 1 million points, unlimited. There is also a 20 million point lamp, but the scorecard doesn't tell you how to light it. I will.

On your last ball ONLY, will the 20 million point lamp light. And this is only after making consecutive ramp shots to go from 50K --> 1 million. You can only collect this 20M value once.

Oddly enough, this ramp isn't timed. You could theoretically hold the ball forever and the ramp will retain it's value. You must, however, make consecutive ramp shots in order to advance the ramp value. Should you fail to do this, everything unlights except for the 50K lamp (or whatever your starting value is, based on difficulty settings). Be careful not to nail a birdie drop-target by accident.

Now for particularly high scores, you can sometimes pick up the 20M shot, drain down an outlane, pick up an Extra Ball from the "Curiosity Spin", and then pick up *another* 20M. Theoretically, you should really only be able to pick up 20M once per game. I've seen this happen twice, but wasn't able to get it to occur later on. So I guess you could call this an intermittent software bug.

This is a progressive Jackpot, which is carried over from game to game, until it is collected. The Jackpot starts at 1 million points, and grows. The lights on the backglass will give you an idea of how much the jackpot is worth ... up to 8 million. The Jackpot value, itself, can go up to about 20 million. The game seems to max the Jackpot at 20M, plus whatever extra digits happened to be around when it broke the barrier. Therefore, it's quite possible to get a maximum jackpot of say, 20,010,000 ... which is what was on the machine last I looked. but I've seen higher. The Jackpot appears to grow by 10% of each player's score.

The Jackpot is lit by hitting the drop targets. Each successive sweep of a target bank awards a B-A-D C-A-T-S letter, and brings you one step closer to the lit jackpot. Completing B-A-D C-A-T-S lights the jackpot on the center ramp. It takes one hit to collect it. There is no limit to the number of Jackpots you can collect per game. You must relight the Jackpot via the Drop Targets every time so it's a lot of work, plus the Jackpot returns to 1M after being awarded and works its way up from there, so this may not be very lucrative.

Curiosity killed the cat and this is sort of the reverse. The "Curiosity Spin" lamps are lit at both outlanes (simultaneously) on your last ball. If you happen to, umm, die, by the outlane, you get a Curiosity Spin, which spins the S-E-A-F-O-O-D wheel. The beauty of this feature is if you happen to be under the average game time, the game will award you an Extra Ball as a consolation to your game (assuming the consolation ball is turned on). You might also pick up an EB by luck of the draw, er, spin. If you do pick up an Extra Ball, you do NOT get Curiosity Spin lit again for this new, last ball.

Bonus on this game is like the old days. You get various bonus points for hitting various things around the game. None of it carries over from ball to ball and nothing is awarded for things like B-A-D C-A-T-S letters that you have picked off. From around the game, you get:

1,000 bonus points to start, per ball
1,000 bonus points per hit of the linear "Fish Bone-Us" target
1,000 bonus points for any ramp entrance switch
2,000 bonus points for lit Doghouse
2,000 bonus points for knocking down any Drop Target
2,000 bonus points for any top rollover lane (lit or unlit)
2,000 bonus points for any inlane switch (lit or unlit)
5,000 bonus points for the Tiger Ramp scoring switch
10,000 bonus points for completing the Bird (5-bank) Drop Targets
10,000 bonus points for the Trash Can (lit or unlit)
15,000 bonus points for the Fishbowl Ramp scoring switch
20,000 bonus points for completing the Milk Bottles (3-bank) Drop Targets
30,000 bonus points for any Outlane switch (lit or unlit)
Completing the top rollovers will give you a bonus multiplier, from 2X to a maximum of 7X. The bonus itself maxxes out at 999,000 bonus points.

Multi-Ball is pretty simple. Install more than one ball into the game and voila! Multi-Ball. Chances are, though, that the game will get awful confused when you do this, so it isn't recommended. Besides that, you rarely see cats playing with more than one ball at a time. At least, I don't.

Now, on the off-chance that you suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13), then you probably appreciate hotels and elevators that have no thirteenth floor. In this case, you may safely ignore this entire section and not change the rules one bit.

Bad Cats has a couple of software bugs. Perhaps the biggest is that there is NO "Status Report", despite what it says on the apron. I installed the Bad Cats LA-5 (latest) ROMs into Earthshaker and they did not produce a Status Report. Alternatively, I installed Elvira ROMs into Bad Cats and they DID produce a Status Report. That's pretty conclusive evidence that it isn't a hardware fault so I'm just going to go ahead and call it a software bug. I do not presently have any other Bad Cats ROM revisions to test, so maybe it was there once, and broke in a later software revision. If you have hard, cold facts to the contrary, please Email me.

Another software bug is that the Trash Can is supposed to be unlit at the start of each ball. It is, but the 10X lamp and the Fish Bone-Us lamps do NOT get reset, so even though the Trash Can itself is unlit, if you hit it, you get all the bonus awards you would have gotten if it had been lit. All things considered, I suppose we shouldn't complain.

Last, there's that bug about sometimes being able to pick off the 20M shot from the Tiger Ramp twice in a game. Honestly, this shouldn't be possible.

One iffy one, which is likely true for all System 11-ish games, is that when the scoreboard turns over (at 100M points), the game will award you another Replay for passing the Replay score again (and again).

There are also no cows in the game (at least, not that I could find). You can call that a bug if your really want to.
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