X Files, The (Sega, 1997) VP8

VP8 Sega SS Recreation X Files, The (Sega, 1997) VP8 v1.01 Jamin

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X Files, The (Sega, 1997) VP8 v1.01
by Jamin
IPD No. 4137

RULESHEET:
From www.pinball.org

by Koi Morris

LAYOUT (clockwise from the bottom up)

Standard left flipper and in/outlane. The inlanes have a yellow circle with a black X in the center; I think these are used in the skill shot (see below).

Slingshot, rather small

Three red plastic targets which are used to increase the TRUTH and MB jackpot values

Left outer orbit which feeds the bumpers

Left inner orbit

Left ramp which can feed to either flipper via a diverter on the right hand side of the machine. The diverter is of the type that pops up and down, like the one seen on Medieval Madness, to let the ball go to either flipper: diverter down, ball goes to left flipper and diverter up, ball goes to right flipper.

Three pop bumpers and rollover lanes above with the corresponding letters E B E

Right inner orbit

Right outer orbit which feeds to bumpers

Three red plastic targets, same as on the left which do the same thing as the targets on the left

Slingshot, same as on the left

Flipper and in/outlane, same as on the left

Small post in between and below the flippers just like the post on Space Jam

In the center of the playfield is a movable file cabinet that has three drawers, of which the top one opens at certain times to allow the ball to go in it. There is also magnet under the playfield in front of the file cabinet that throws the ball to the side when the cabinet hasn't been enabled for MB (more on that later) or the cabinet is MB ready but the shot to the cabinet is not dead on. The file cabinet is also used for the super jackpot shot in MB. The inner orbits go around the file cabinet.

SKILL SHOT/BONUS COUNT

At the beginning of the game, you are presented with two faces, one of Detective Mulder and the other one of Det. Scully, that have a box flashing alternately around each one. Also an arrow points to each detective when the box is shown around the detective. Your objective is to choose Mulder (which is on the right) and Scully (which is on the left) at the appropriate times with the flipper buttons. Supposedly, if you choose one detective correctly, you get another opportunity to choose the other detective to complete the skill shot and the yellow circle in the inlane will light up. Whatever detective you have chosen, that will determine what type of bonus you get throughout the game. Choosing Mulder means that you get a Mulder bonus only in the game (you also hear the quote "Detective Mulder of the FBI.", IIRC) as you press the right flipper button; same goes for Scully (the quote heard here is "Detective Scully of the FBI.", IIRC as the left flipper button is pressed). If you get to choose both detectives then you will get a Mulder and Scully bonus. If you get the opportunity for two choices and choose the same detective twice, then the second opportunity will have been wasted. I think you have to choose a detective almost immediately after the game is started otherwise you lose your chance to choose again. I'm not quite sure about this because there have been times where I've waited, say 5-7s after the game has started and after choosing the flashing detective at the proper time got to choose again. I've noticed that in two player games if the 2nd player isn't ready when it is his or her turn, that player will almost certainly get to choose only once. I guess this is done to keep the flow of the game going, just like the skill shot in Frankenstein. I don't know how bonus is determined in this game. After the skill shot is finished, the DMD will tell the current player to push launch to launch the ball.

MODES

The TRUTH: Shoot flashing green lights with black X inside them to spot a segment of the large X in the lower part of the playfield. Each flashing green X shot is worth 50K. Shots to unlit X's are also worth 50K. A segment that has been completed will remain green; a segment that hasn't been completed will either be flashing (the next one to be lit) or not lit at all. So it takes 5 shots to start the TRUTH. The inner orbits will be lit first. Shoot either one of these to set the corresponding outer orbit X flashing. Then shoot the outer orbit to set the corresponding ramp X flashing. When both ramp Xs are flashing, then shoot either ramp to start the TRUTH. When the large X is completed, you will get a 4 ball MB in which you have to shoot each orbit and ramp once (you will be awarded a TRUTH jackpot for each shot whose base value is 200K (which can be increased 50K every time you hit a set of red targets on either side of the machine) then shoot the file cabinet three times (all while >1 ball is in play) to get "deny everything", "the truth is out there", and "trust no one", in that order, to light Super Jackpot. I don't know what happens after SJ is obtained. These awards are shown in red triangles in front of the file cabinet with "deny everything" at the bottom, "the truth is out there" in the middle, and the other award at the top. Then shoot the file cabinet again to get the Super Jackpot. You have to time your shot here because the file cabinet moves up and down at this point. With more than one ball on the table and the bounciness of this game, that is not as easy to do as it looks. (More comments about the bounciness of the game as it relates to modes and MB later in this rulesheet.)

You can make progress toward, but not start, MB during the TRUTH (see MB section) except when SJ is lit.

Episodes of the X-Files:

Shoot the right ramp to spell F B I. Each shot to the ramp spots a letter. A flashing light means that letter has been spotted. A solid light means that letter needs to be spotted. F B I is already spotted for you at the beginning of the game. When F B I has been spelled, the machine says "The FBI." and a TD opens to allow the ball to be shot into the revealed scoop. Shoot the ball into the scoop to start an episode of the X-Files.

There are 8 episodes that I saw (I don't think there are any more):


Herenvolk - Shoot ramps to stop alien hunter. A one ball episode in which you have to shoot the left ramp to collect the count down value (the Jackpot) which starts at 420K (and stays there for ~3sec) and quickly counts down to 100(?)K then shoot the right ramp to collect the Jackpot. I believe that then you have to shoot the left ramp, then right, then left, and so on during the episode. This is a timed episode, I think 20s, that starts after the initial countdown value is collected. My guess is that if you cant shoot the left ramp before or during the initial countdown value (and grace period for it at the end) reaches its minimum value then the episode is over.

Hambug - Shoot flashing ramp to give midnight snack. This is a one ball 30s episode in which you have to shoot the flashing ramp to collect 250K at start + 50K increase for each successive ramp shot.

Syzygy - Shoot ramps. This 2 ball (at the start) episode requires you to shoot left ramp for 100K then shoot TD for 200K then right(?) ramp for 300K then TD for 400K and so on until one ball drains. There appears to be no limit to how high the value can go. For each successive shot made in this round, another ball will be dispensed up to a max. of 4 balls as long as the next to last ball on the playfield hasn't hit the trough.

Colony - Left shots clone right. This one ball 20s round requires you to shoot the lit left orbits to light the corresponding right orbits Then you shoot those orbits. The values to collect are 200K, 250K, 300K, and 350K, IIRC. When the right orbits are shot, the left orbits stay lit, so there are only 4 shots in this episode (I think).

Talitha Cumi - Find hidden alien stiletto. A one ball 30s episode to break lamps that are shown on the DMD. This mode is only 4 shots-both outer orbits and both ramps. The first shot is 250K and each successive shot adds 50K to the value of the shot. The alien stiletto will always be in the last lamp that is broken. Total for the mode when completed is 1.4M.

Terma - Shoot the black cancer. A one ball episode in which you must first collect a countdown value starting at 420K (and staying there for ~3s) and decreasing quickly to 100(?)K by shooting the trapdoor. Then you have 20s to shoot both ramps and all four orbits to collect the trapdoor value. If you don't shoot the trapdoor before the grace period of the minimum of the countdown value is over, then the episode is over.

Smoking Man - Shoot orbits to remember. A one ball 15s round in which you have to shoot all 4 lit orbits once to collect values starting from 250K and increasing 50K with each successive orbit shot to 400K after which point the round is over. Total is 1.4M.

The Host - Shoot ramps to stop flukemen. This is a one ball 20s round to shoot as many flashing ramps as possible. I don't remember what the point values are for this episode.
All episodes give 100K just for starting them. Note that episodes are either a multiball or timed (15, 20 or 30s) and that they end when time runs out or when the episode is completed is completed (4, 5, and 7 from above for completion) OR when you go back to one ball in a MB episode OR when the ball ends.

There doesn't appear to be a wizard mode (like in Star Wars Trilogy) in this game; if there is, I don't know what it is.

There aren't any lights on the playfield to tell you what episodes you have started or completed.

MULTIBALL

Shoot the file cabinet a certain number of times (default is 5 on the game I played on in Philadelphia) to lower it two drawers so that the ball can be shot into the upper drawer to start a 3 ball MB. Two balls will be autolaunched from the plunger and the ball shot into the cabinet and the two other balls will be served to the right flipper. Shoot the left ramp to score J #1 and shoot it again to score J #2. What is nice is that the ball, when shot for J #1, gets fed back to the same flipper to be shot up the ramp again and after J #2 is made, the ball is fed to the left flipper for a shot to the right ramp. :) Then shoot the right ramp to get double jackpot followed by getting the ball into the file cabinet for SJ (which is at least double the double jackpot). The double and super jackpots are timed so if you miss DJ, then you have to get a jackpot again before DJ is lit again. If you miss SJ then, I think, you just have to get one jackpot to relight SJ again. A green light on top of the file cabinet shows that the file cabinet is MB ready and a red light shows that SJ is lit. If you are able to get SJ, then the whole process repeats over again beginning with jackpot on the left ramp. All of this lasts until one ball is in play. There is no grace period for the return of lost balls at the beginning of MB :( Should you collect no jackpot before going back to one ball play, then a MB restart is given (15s; only once per MB) in which you have to shoot the ball into the file cabinet again.

There are three ways to increase the base jackpot value: a) A set of red targets on either side of the machine (or if a set of targets were used already to increase the TRUTH jackpot, the OTHER set of red targets) can be hit to boost the base jackpot value, 500K, by 50K (when MB is not in session; I don't know what happens if the set of targets are completed during MB) b) during MB, hit the file cabinet to increase the jackpot by 25K, and c) each time a bumper is hit, the jackpot value goes up by 5 (or is it the current bumper value/1000?)K.

Each successive MB ready requires you to hit the file cabinet once more than you previously hit it for MB ready. In non-wizard mode MB ready will be spotted for you if you haven't done it already in the game by ball 3 (like on previous Sega/DE games).

MB preempts any episode that's running. You can't make progress toward the TRUTH while in MB, but can make progress toward MB while in any episode. If the TD was open before MB started, then it closes during MB.

Multiball wizard mode: hold in the right flipper while pressing start will require you to hit the file cabinet the default number of times before MB ready is enabled.

MISCELLANEOUS STUFF

Shoot the left ramp a certain number of times (default 4 on the machine I played on) to light EB at the right ramp. EB stays lit from ball to ball. Apparently this can be done only once in a game.

It is possible to backhand the right ramp, but you have to time your shot just right otherwise the ball wont go all the way up the ramp. If the right flipper is weak, then I think it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to backhand the ramp.

Mini-loop award: shoot the inner orbits a specified number of times to collect 250K the first time, 500K the second time, ? the third time (I didn't get this far). The number of loops needed to collect the next award goes up (I'm not sure by how many orbits though). You don't even have to complete the entire orbit; just triggering the switch will be enough to count toward the award. This is nice given the way the inner orbits are set up (see below).

Rollover lanes increase bonus X (2X, 3X, 4X, 6X, and max. 8X), when completed by lighting E B E. Flipper buttons can be used for lane change. EB is lit at 6X, I think. Yellow triangular lights above the flippers show what bonus multipliers has been gotten. Bonus X resets at the beginning of each ball; there is no hold bonus in this game.

The bumpers score 1.5K at the beginning of the game but this value can be increased by 500 points each time by outer orbit shots to the bumpers during the game (see below). After a certain number of hits to the bumpers (default 60 ?), super pops become active in which each bumper hit is worth 20K. Super pops reset at the beginning of each ball and I don't even think that it last for the entire ball in which it is collected; I noticed that during a certain game that I played, super pops wasn't active for the entire ball in which it was collected. The bumpers are fairly active, so with a little nudging while the ball is in the bumpers super pops can be obtained rather easily.

The ramps in this game are a bit too narrow for a slightly off the mark shot to go up the ramp. You have to make a carefully aimed shot for the ball to go all the way up the ramp. If the ball doesn't go all the way up the ramp, it falls back down to the inner orbits via a hole at the side of the ramp (same ramp-hole feature is in ID4). A nice feature to prevent “half way up the ramp” balls from screaming back at you SDTM.

Because of the way the inner orbits are laid out on the machine, you can do a left flipper-right inner orbit-right flipper combo or a right flipper-left inner orbit-left flipper combo. If you can pull off one combo after another, the mini-loop award will be easy to get. But player beware: there is a potential problem with this setup. If the ball is traveling very fast through the orbit on a level game or the game is not leveled properly, the ball probably will go SDTM instead of going to the opposite flipper.

Other outer orbit info: both orbits feed bumpers on a weak shot when a) the TRUTH or MB is running or b) green light/black X is lit. Orbit feeds bumpers otherwise.

There is a ~5s ball save in which balls that hit the trough switch in this time period are returned. No grace period is given for the ball save :(

Some quotes I heard (and understood) in this game are:

a) "Your resignation is unacceptable." Said when a ball drains during the initial ball save.

b) "Success is imperative in our work, Scully." Said when money is inserted into the machine.

c) "Your investigation is faltering." One of a number of quotes at the end of a game where no match is obtained. Another one I think, is "Your investigation has faltered."

There aren't too many quotes in this game. The only time I remember hearing quotes were at the start of episodes, during the ball save, when money is inserted into the machine, during the skill shot, and at the end of the game after the match sequence.

The music played during the game is interesting (IMO); it sounds like techno music. But I have to say that the sound quality in this game is quite poor. It seems like that the sound quality of SEGA games has fallen off with every game since A13. I rate the sound quality in this order: A13>SJ>ID4 approx. equal to SWT>Lost World>X-Files. It is difficult to understand many of the quotes said in the game. I played X-Files in an arcade where I don't have other games around it whose volume is blasting. The volume of the game is loud enough so you can hear the quotes.

Magnet behavior: when the TRUTH is not running: the ball is shot to the file cabinet a magnet comes on briefly and throws the ball in different directions. Sometimes the magnet throws the ball into the file cabinet a few times, giving you a few free hits on the cabinet toward MB. If MB is lit, the magnet may throw the ball right into the file cabinet. When the TRUTH is running: the magnet stays on and a hard shot to the file cabinet is needed to keep the magnet from grabbing the ball (this feature is useful in this mode (see hints and strategy section below)) otherwise the behavior is the same as when the TRUTH is not running except that the file cabinet will stay closed when MB is lit.

Comment on the bounciness of the game as it relates to MB and MODES: because the balls bounce around a lot in the game, it is hard to control the balls, especially when you have more than more than one ball on the playfield. The episodes in which you have 15 or 20s to make an unlimited number of shots to ramps or orbits for points are just too short, IMO, in order to do well in them for, say, if you make a shot to an outer orbit into the first few seconds of an episode and miss, the ball will tend to bounce around so long that the mode will be almost over before you gain control of the ball again. In MB this bounciness makes getting the jackpots that much harder. It is also very hard to trap balls on the flipper because balls tend to roll off the flipper too often.

Hints and Strategy

There are several ways to get a good score (>=15M, IMO). They are:

a) Go for MB and get as many SJs as possible (easier said than done). Try to park one or two balls in the bumpers while doing this (not easy because the ball doesn't normally stop at the bumpers in MB).

b) Start the TRUTH and get SJ. Keep this mode alive as long as you can.

c) If you get any 4-shot modes (Talitha Cumi, Smoking Man, and probably Colony), complete them. It's not that hard and you get 1.4M for each episode. If you should happen to get Syzygy, milk it for as much as you can. This episode is potentially a large point getter.

d) What would be best is to have gotten all of the above during the game.

At the start of MB try to nail the first two jackpots with the balls that are fed to the right flipper for you.

During the TRUTH, try to get the magnet to hold two (or one, depending on how many balls are left when some get held by the magnet) ball(s) near the file cabinet. I don't think this is easy to do, though, on purpose. It will make completing the ramps and orbits so much easier (it's like having a 4 (3 if one is lost) ball MB (or 3 (2) if one has been lost already) with two (one) ball(s) conveniently out of play for a while). If you lose all balls not stuck on the magnet, the magnet will release its hold on the balls after a few seconds and the mode continues if two balls were stuck by the magnet.


Abbreviations usd in this rulesheet:

K: 1,000 points
TD: trapdoor
MB: multiball
DMD: dot matrix display
EB: extra ball
SDTM: straight down the middle
IIRC: if I recall correctly
J: jackpot
SJ: super jackpot
DJ: double jackpot
M: million
IMO: in my opinion
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