Radical! (Bally, 1990) VP9

VP9 Bally SS Recreation Radical! (Bally, 1990) VP9 v1.0 [16-9] 2020-01-28

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Bally 1990
IPD No. 1904

Radical! Rules
Bally Radical!, 9/90

Version 1.0, 06/17/02

Design by: Dan Langlois, Peter Perry
Art by: John Youssi
Music by: Paul Heitsch
Sound by: Paul Heitsch

Radical! is a game from a few years back for which I couldn't find a rule sheet. As it happens, I rather like Radical!, so I decided to do a rule sheet myself. Having played the game a while now, there is a good deal more to it than one might realize at first glance. Well, better late than never.

Radical! is a 2 ball, 1990 Bally game with four flippers, lots of ramps, a skate board theme, and a very "period" speech package. It spans the transition from 80's to 90's games nicely, including both "classic" earlier pinball era features (e.g. long "Bally" style flippers, physical ball locks which can be stolen, random jackpot value, no under playfield troughs) and "modern" feature (e.g. random award, reflexing, big complex ramps with diverters, stackable modes). It encourages intense ball-never-stops flowing games, a style of game play which I rather like, and it has a slightly cluttered playfield with excellent short, medium and long shots, all of which are required to do well on the game.

The goal of Radical! is to collect the letters in RADICAL (Radical Mode), lock two balls (Skate or Die Mode), start Multi-Ball Mode, and go for the Mega-Million jackpot.

Playfield Layout
Starting at the left flipper and moving clockwise:

Left Flipper: Every Radical! I've seen uses the long "Bally" style flippers (20-9592, despite what the manual says) all the way around.

Left Kicker: Standard.

Left Inlane: Standard.

Left Outlane/Kickback: Standard outlane and kickback. The Kickback is, by default, lit at the start of each ball, and is re-lit by collecting all seven RADICAL letters. This outlane is also where a random Special can be collected when lit.

Snake Lane: A narrow "S" shaped lane immediately above the Left Outlane which servers as one of the entries to the Ball Lock Lane. Each shot to the Snake Lane lights a letter in "SNAKE", lighting all five lights Extra Ball.

Ball Lock Lane: A narrow lane on the far left side of the playfield where balls are locked for Multi-Ball, or held briefly for light and sound shows. It is fed by the Snake Lane, the Right Ramp (when diverted) and the Left Ramp (when not diverted). It has some rather clever logic designed to keep a second ball from getting trapped in there when it should not.

Vertical Ramp: Immediately to the right of the Snake Lane is the entrance to the Vertical Ramp. This ramp faces the Lower Right Flipper, and normally returns the ball to the Left Inlane, but can also drop the ball onto the playfield above the Left Kicker. The ramp is the first of two Extra Ball shots. 5 (?) Verticals can (operator adjustably) light Extra Ball.

Letter Value Advance/Increase: Two standup targets immediately above the right post on the Vertical Ramp facing to the right.

Left Ramp: A wide ramp on the left side of the playfield between the Letter Value standup targets and the Upper Left Flipper facing the Upper Right Flipper. A weak shot can exit into the Pop Bumpers. Diverters can guide the ball to either Ball Lock Lane, the Upper Right Flipper (via a second diverter and a whirlpool bowl), or the Lower Right Flipper. This is Mega-Million (jackpot) shot.

Upper Left Flipper: Full sized flipper which is immediately below the bottom left Pop Bumper, pointing nearly straight down. It faces the lower right Pop Bumper, the lowest of the Top Drop Targets and the Right Ramp. This flipper is fairly unique in 80's and 90's pinball machines: there is no ball guide of any sort which feeds it. The only way to send a ball to it is via the Right Orbit, and that shot only feeds it correctly only at fairly high ball speeds. All shots made form this flipper are made "on the fly".

Pop Bumpers: Four pop bumpers arranged in two vertical rows, the left row directly above the Upper Left Flipper, the other row set just slightly higher and to the right of this, leaving a lane in between them which leads to the Top Spinner and Left Orbit above them.

Top Spinner: A spinner located at the end of the vertical lane between the bumpers and at the entrance to Left Orbit and the exit of the Right Orbit.

Left Orbit: This orbit begins at the Top Spinner and curves to the right around behind the Snake Run, running down the right side of the playfield past the entrance to the Right Ramp, exiting at the Bottom Spinner and feeding the Upper Right Flipper or the Lower Right flipper.

Snake Run: A short, narrow, hard left curving lane ending with a standup target. The entrance is flanked by a "cone" of posts. The Snake Run is the game's random award.

Top Drop Targets: Three drop targets directly below the entrance to the Snake Run which block it when they are up.

Right Ramp: A ramp with a steep wide entry on the right side of the playfield near the top right corner. Normally this ramp feeds to the Ball Lock Lane, but slow shots can sometimes go instead to the Lower Right Flipper.

Bottom Drop Targets: A set of three drop targets facing the Lower Left Flipper about two thirds up the right side of the playfield, just inside the right orbit.

Spot Letter Target: A standup hidden behind the Bottom Drop Targets.

Tail Slider Whirlpool: A "whirlpool" exit (like Creature from the Black Lagoon or Junk Yard) from the right branch of the X ramp into which a diverter can direct the ball. This exit feeds the ball fairly consistently to the Upper Right Flipper.

Right Spinner: A spinner which ties the Bottom Drop Targets to the ball guide on the Right Orbit, also about two thirds up the playfield, facing the Lower Left Flipper. This spinner is the entry point of the Right Orbit.

Right Orbit: Orbit which starts about two thirds up the playfield, just to the right of the Bottom Drop Targets, leading up the right side of the playfield, past the entrance to the Right Ramp, around the Snake Run and exiting at the entrance of the Left Orbit.

Upper Right Flipper: A flipper immediately below the Right Spinner at the entrance to the Right Orbit. This flipper can be fed by the Left Orbit, or by the ball finding its way in at the bottom of the entrance to the Right Ramp.

Plunger Lane: A manual Plunger Lane in the normal position, which goes about half way up the playfield, and which aims towards the Left Ramp, though one can also hit the Letter Value targets and the Upper Left Flipper. There is a gate which keeps a ball from resting there during Multi-Ball Mode.

Right Outlane: A harsh, but standard outlane. This is the second of the two Extra Ball "shots". Occasionally, a ball which enters this outlane at the right angle and speed will retain enough momentum to travel all the way to the Kicker switch in the Left Outlane and be fired back into play.

Right Inlane: A narrow inlane that has a gate at the top which keeps balls from going up and out of the inlane. For those who, like me, are constantly trying to "catch" the ball, this saves many from going "up" the inlane and out the outlane. A nice touch.

Modes and Features
Radical! has two "major" modes on which multi-ball can be stacked. In addition, it has many of the usual features of pinball games, including a skill shot, bonus, extra ball, random award, and so on.

Skill Shot
When a ball is served into the Launch Lane, the RADICAL lights just above the flippers start cycling quickly. If you "make" the skill shot (up the Left Ramp), whichever lamp was lit when the ball hit the entry switch is collected. The Skill Shot is not hard, but it can be missed by either under and over shooting.

Radical Mode
The main task of Radical! is to light the RADICAL letters (centered just above the flippers), which in turn lights Skate or Die (i.e., Multi-Ball lock mode), which in turn starts Multi-Ball Mode (after the second lock), during which Mega Million is lit and can be collected (and re-lit and recollected if you work hard enough; see Multi-Ball Mode below).

RADICAL letters are associated with, and collected by making all of the major playfield shots:

R: Snake Lane
A: Vertical Ramp
D: Top Spinner/Left Orbit
I: Right Ramp
C: Bottom Drop Targets
A: Right Spinner/Right Orbit
L: Left Ramp
RADICAL letters can also be spotted by the Skill Shot, by the Spot Letter target (behind the Bottom Drop Targets) when lit, and (operator adjustably) by the Inlanes.

RADICAL letters are worth 20K, 40K, 60K, 80K, 100K, 500K, or 1M. These Letter Values start at 20K, and are advanced by collecting a letter, or by hitting both the Letter Value Advance/Increase targets. Each value, once lit (operator adjustably) times out after a few [5? 10?] seconds. Collecting all seven letters is therefore worth between 140K and 1.74M.

The Letter Advance/Increase targets are only lit after the Letter Value has decreased a step. [It appears to take hitting both to advance/increase the letter value, though it may be that one "advances" the value, and the other "increases" the timeout?]

Collecting all seven letters does several things:

starts Snake or Die Mode
turns on the Kickback (if it is off)
lights "Bottom Million" (see Millions)
advances the Outhole Bonus by 100K

Skate or Die Mode
This is the Multi-Ball "lock mode", which is accompanied by more good music and a menacing (annoying?) voice which like to repeat "Skate, Or, Die" rather a lot.

When lit, either by collecting all seven RADICAL letters or as a random award from the Snake Run, no RADICAL letters can be collected (though Snake Run still can be). The three lit Skate or Die (ball lock) shots are the Snake Lane, the Left Ramp and the Right Ramp.

When the first ball is locked during Snake or Die, the RADICAL letters and Letter Values reset, a new ball is served to the launch lane, and one starts working on collecting a second set of RADICAL letters. The second set of RADICAL letters requires a little more work than the first since neither the skill shot nor the Inlanes spot letters this time around. Locking the second balls starts Multi-Ball Mode.

Multi-Ball/Mega-Million Mode
When a second ball is locked in the Ball Lock Lane, the Multi-Ball Mode music starts, a random Mega-Million (jackpot) between 3M and 10M is chosen, and Multi-Ball Mode begins.

The lit Mega-Million shot is the Left Ramp, which remains lit for a short (operator adjustable) time after one ball drains.

When the Mega-Million shot is made, the ball is diverted into the Lock Lane, and there is a very cool count down of the jackpot accompanied by glaring lights and blaring sounds for each of the three to ten million collected.

However, unlike Radical Mode and Skate or Die mode, which are mutually exclusive, Multi-Ball Mode is (always) stacked on top of these modes.

Initially, Multi-Ball Mode is stacked on top of the normal Radical Mode with only the differences mentioned above. Specifically, the Left Ramp is lit for Mega-Million instead of the second A in RADICAL. However, once Mega-Million is collected, the Left Ramp is once again available for collecting the A and Tail Sliders. Note that even if Mega-Million has not been collected, it is nonetheless possible to collect the A via the Inlanes or Spot Letter. A second difference is that if all seven letters are collected, Skate or Die Mode is entered, and a ball is shot into the Lock Lane, it is, since we are in Multi-Ball Mode also, only a virtual lock. That is, the lock is acknowledged, and the ball is kick back out into play. With enough work, Mega-Million can be re-lit and collected again.

In addition to Mega-Million, there are three ways to score a million points with a single shot.

Shooting the Right Ramp when "Top Million" is lit.
Shooting the Spot Letter target (behind the Bottom Drop Targets) when "Bottom Million" is lit.
Collecting a RADICAL letter the Letter Value is "1 Million".
Getting the "One Million" random award for the Snake Run.
Top Million is lit at the start of every game, and (operator adjustably) at the start of every ball. It is re-lit when Snake Run is made.

Bottom Million is an (operator adjustable) hurry-up lit by collecting all seven RADICAL letters (see Radical Mode).

Letter Value One Million is lit by collecting the first six RADICAL letters before any of the Letter Value lamps have timed out or by advancing the Letter Values (see Radical Mode).

Snake Run
Snake Run is Radical!'s random award. Completing the Top Drop Targets lights a timed Snake Run hurry-up. Making either the Snake Run or the Snake Lane starts a nice light and sound show, and awards one of the following:

Skate or Die -- Starts Snake or Die
Extra Ball -- Awards Extra Ball
Award Tail Sliders -- Awards 25K * number of Tail Sliders
Award Verticals -- Awards 25K * number of Verticals
Mystery Score -- 50K - 250K (?)
One Million -- Nice light show (and a million points)
The relative length of the hurry-up and the relative percentage of these awards is operator adjustable.

In addition to giving one of these random awards, making the Snake Run also re-lights Top Million (see Millions).

Tail Sliders
When lit, a Tail Slider is a self feeding looping shot from the Upper Right Flipper to the Left Ramp. Tail Sliders are accompanied by "gnarly" music and "totally awesome" quotes, and score 100k each. After the first two [consecutive] Tail Sliders, the ball is diverted to the Lock Lane. Next, it is after three [consecutive] Tail Sliders, then four, and so on.

Tail Slider is lit by collecting the second A in RADICAL.

A really fast shot to the Left Ramp can on occasion sneak by the Tail Slider diverter and instead exit at the Right Inlane.

The number of Tail Sliders collected is tracked, and can be collected (* 25k) as one of the random awards given by the Snake Run.

Vertical Ramp
The Vertical Ramp awards the first A in RADICAL, and lights the 50K lamp which alternates between the left and right Inlanes. Further, this ramp exits above the Left Inlane switch (unlike the Right Inlane ramp exit), which means it can (operator adjustably) spot RADICAL letters.

By default, 5 (?) Verticals lights a 5 second Extra Ball hurry-up (which subsequently transfers to the Right Outlane for another 5 seconds). This can be turned off by the operator.

The number of Verticals collected is tracked, and can be collected as one of the random awards (* 25k) given by making the Snake Run.

Drop Targets
Completing the Top Drop Targets lights the Snake Run (see above) and advances Bonus X. Completing the Bottom Drop Targets either collects the "C" or lights the (usually hidden) Spot Letter target. This hidden target can also award "Bottom Million" if it is lit. It is well worth hammering both sets of drop targets.

Extra Ball
Extra Ball can be lit either by making 5 (?) Verticals or by lighting the five SNAKE lamps in the Snake Lane. It is a 5 second hurry-up, first at the Vertical Ramp, then, when that times out, another 5 seconds at the Right Outlane. (Lighting Extra Ball via Verticals can be turned off by the operator.) An Extra Ball can be collected as one of the random awards given by making the Snake Run.

The Outhole Bonus Multiplier is advanced 1X at a time to a maximum of 5X by completing the Top Drop Target Bank.

Each RADICAL letter collected adds 10K to the Outhole Bonus, and each completion of all seven RADICAL letters adds 100K, up to a maximum of 400K. By default, this value is cumulative across balls, but optionally can be set to reset at the start of each ball.

The bonus awarded is the product of these two values, maxing out at 2M (400K * 5X). The number of times this is collected is tracked in the audits.

Radical! is typical Bally "style" System 11C game with the tall Bally backbox with the speakers at the top and the two "inline" 16 digit displays at the bottom. No under-playfield troughs means the game runs very clean and is relative simple despite the rather interesting and (in my opinion) complex play. It has a good light show all around, and I rather like the "Xtreme" rock music and the "bitchin" period speech package. In particular, I really like the music for starting Multi-Ball mode, Tail Sliders, Snake Run, and for setting a high score. Cool man.

I've heard that some people don't like the random Mega-Million jackpot award or the fact that locked balls can be stolen in multi-player games. Personally, I like these features. For players of similar skill and temperament, it can make some of the games of this era a blast -- lots of yelling and screaming and laughing.

Technically, Radical! doesn't have any "combinations" (in the modern "timed sequence awarding extra points" sense), but there are several shots which can only reliably be made as combinations. For example, the Right Ramp can only be made from the Upper Left Flipper, which can only be feed reliably setup from the Lower Left Flipper via the Right Orbit. Each flipper has one or shots that, either via a ramp, an orbit or a lane, feed another flipper, combinations are simply natural on this machine. This encourages a style of fast, flowing game play in which the ball rarely if ever stops, but in which it is possible to can keep control of the ball as it covers nearly the whole playfield. The only shots which require loss of ball control are the two sets of drop targets, which, fortunately, are absolutely required if you really want to do well.

Occasionally during particularly intense play -- e.g. starting Skate or Die and collecting Snake run at virtually the same time -- the sound and/or feature lamps get confused and simply stop doing anything until the next mode or ball starts. I've seen this happen a few time, so it may well be a reproducible bug.

A VUK in the upper left corner (fed by a trough via the Snake Run) and a third kicker (adjacent to and above the Bottom Drop Targets, facing the Pop Bumpers) are shown in the manual (switches and all), but clearly did not make it to the production run.

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