In my previous post about The Big Move, I mentioned that while the winch and pulley system were hooked up, we found and added machine #8 to the collection. That machine turned out to be Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends (RABAF). Another Craigslist ad, another trip to Tacoma, and another machine moved upstairs with the winch and cart, and the collection is nearly complete. Why RABAF? It's not highly rated on Pinside or IPDB, and as the first Data East machine in the collection, Data East was not known for their quality nor for the availability of parts.
Well, the short answer is that we are on a budget. Building the barcade was expensive, and after spending money on 7 other machines, the costs for adding more were becoming prohibitive when you need to buy insulation, drywall, paint and so on. There's room for 10 machines, but when you add in the virtual machine we have used 8 spaces, leaving room for 2 more. I was planning for machine #9 to be an expensive new title, since it will be the last machine added...I've never had a new (and expensive) late model machine, and I wanted to have at least one. So machine #8 had to be a budget title. A Hook had popped up in the local area, and though I hadn't played it, I didn't really care for the theme. Then a RABAF appeared, and we knew that was a perfect choice for the budget. We thought about a long distance purchase, with shipping, of a Jurassic Park or Bram Stoker's Dracula instead, but prices of those seemed to have climbed to $3K+ lately, and with no local listings, adding shipping sends the price up to $3500+, which was a dealbreaker.
Kelly and I had watched the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon as kids, and really enjoy the Ripsaw Falls ride at Islands of Adventure, so the theme was fine. I know the callouts will probably annoy me after awhile, but Kelly will probably play it more than I will. The theme, the price, the challenge of maintaining a Data East, and the local listing made it an easy decision. SO we drove to Tacoma with the truck, brought back home, winched it up the stairs, and played a few games on it.
There were a few problems noticed immediately. The game was set up for quarters, and the menu buttons inside the machine don't work, so I'm unable to change it to free play. The animated backglass, where Bullwinkle pulls animals out of a hat, seems to work sporadically. and the log didn't seem to be functioning on the buzz saw feature. I fixed the log right away, but the other issues will require some troubleshooting. The few games played so far have been quite enjoyable.
Created in 1993, the year before Data East went under and sold their business to Sega, RABAF was designed by Tim Sekel, who also designed several other Data East games such as Last Action Hero, Royal Rumble, and Maverick (Data East's last game). None of these games are highly rated or sought after. The artwork, which is faithful to the psychedelic 1970's colors of the original cartoon, was done by Kevin O'Connor, who did the art for CFTBL, and the recent KISS game for Stern, as well as many other titles. The programming team included Lonnie Ropp, who still programming recent Stern titles such as X-Men, Avengers, Star Trek, and Tron. 5500 RABAF machines were produced, and features 3 pop bumpers,
RULES (Courtesy of Keefer)
This section describes key elements and/or shots to be made in Rocky & Bullwinkle. They will be constantly referred to in the play discussion.
- K = 1000; M = 1,000,000; B = 1,000,000,000; R&B = Rocky & Bullwinkle; DE = Data East; SDTM = straight down the middle.
- Bonus-X lanes
- The 3 lanes at the top of the playfield. Completing all 3 increases your bonus multiplier (2X-4X-6X-8X-10X-Bonus hold). You can steer the lights with the flippers. These lanes are also used for the skill shot, described below. I am not sure of the award after bonus hold.
- Pop bumpers
- There are 3 just under the bonus-x lanes. They are not worth much unless you have Super Pops going.
- Center shot
- This is the little opening in the middle of the playfield, between the O and M BOMB targets. Shoot it to light the WABAC value on the left ramp, to collect (super) mystery select, and to complete the puzzle. Note there is a hole on the top side of the center shot, where the ball usually comes down after leaving the upper pop bumper area, though often it will shoot from the bottommost pop bumper right into the hole at the end of the center shot.
- Left ramp
- This is the big R ramp on the left. You can easily hit it from the right flipper, and usually from the left flipper as well. The WABAC Machine value is collected from the left ramp. During Tri-Ball, this ramp increases the jackpot by 1M. Weak shots may tend to drain, depending on your machine.
- Right ramp
- This ramp features a steep entrance, a left-flipper only shot, and a highly annoying U-turn at the peak. Half-shots usually don't end in a drain, thankfully.
- BOMB targets
- These are 4 stand-up targets with 1 on either side of a ramp entrance. It seems that on some machines they're fairly easy to hit, and some they require dead-on shots. Some may also need to be hit fairly hard to register.
- This is the big wheel near the U-turn of the right ramp. There are 12 lights to complete (3 for each BOMB letter). Completing the Pie lights the right ramp to start Tri-Ball. Completing the Pie during Tri-Ball lights the right ramp for the 100M Super Jackpot! It also circles around during Spin-n-Win showing you the value that you'll get when you hit the ramp.
- Aesop & Son
- This is the kickout on the extreme left side. Any shot into this hole or the center shot will clear another puzzle piece and kick the ball back out, often to the right flipper. However, it is pretty unreliable, sometimes kicking very softly to the LEFT flipper, and sometimes SDTM. I would forget about trying to catch it on a regular basis, though. You can light this shot for the extra ball via the Mystery Select. It's not that hard to shoot. (The one time I lit it, I took one shot at it and made it.)
- Rhino shot
- This is the right orbit shot, starting to the right of the right ramp and looping all the way around the back, eventually back to the flippers. Which flipper it heads towards is fairly random. It SHOULD go to the left flipper for repeated orbit shots. You can light the special via the Mystery Select, then shoot the Rhino for the special. (There is a big red arrow indicating the special.)
- Left orbit
- This is the shot opposite of the Rhino (right orbit) shot. When the Hat Trick is lit, though, the gate should trigger the diverter and the ball will go into the Hat Trick hole, instead. If the diverter is broken, newer ROMs compensate and award you the Hat Trick if you make the left orbit shot.
- These are 3 touch targets just above the Aesop & Son kickout. Each one has a different character on it, representing each of the 3 possible animals Bullwinkle can pull out of his hat. Hitting all 3 lights the Hat Trick. Hitting all 3 during Tri-Ball relaunches the 3rd ball if one drained!
- Hat Trick
- This shot is lit during Tri-Ball and after hitting all 3 hats. During Tri-Ball, the first shot lights the jackpot, and the 2nd lights the double jackpot for about 8 seconds. Hitting it again before a jackpot is collected will relight the double for 8 seconds (non-cumulative; it just restarts the timer). Getting it after the hats results in Bullwinkle pulling an animal out of his hat, and you getting or lighting an award based on the animal. (Discussed in more detail below.) With the diverter working, this shot feeds back to the left flipper for a shot at anything it may light.
- These are the 5 drop targets on the middle right side of the playfield. Knocking all of them down lights Save Nell, where you hit 1 (or more) targets for 25M within 15 seconds.
- These are the daisy letter lights in the middle of the playfield. (They're kinda hard to miss. %) ) Shoot the Rhino and left orbit shots to spot letters. Lighting all letters lights the Mystery Select in the center shot. However, you can KEEP shooting orbits, and get every letter flashing. When SELECT is flashing, the SUPER Mystery Select is lit. (Supposedly, these are just better awards.)
- Laser Kick
- This is a kickback in the left outlane. Of course, there's a nice big hole to go with it, so the ball has plenty of room to pass through it easily. It can be worth 1M, 3M, 5M, or Adv. Bonus-X. The value is changed by the return lanes and the right outlane. Steer the "Advance Laser Kick" lights with the flippers. If the ball passes over a switch while it's lit, the Laser Kick value goes up to the next one (starts each ball lit at 1M unless by some miracle (or even worse luck) you DIDN'T use it up last ball, in which case it stays lit at whatever it was before). It will wrap around from Adv-X to 1M.
The Skill Shot
Well, on a normal machine, this shot just doesn't require very much skill at all. The auto-plunger can be pretty flaky, though, and for some reason it will would sometimes just go around the Rhino loop, not stopping at the top lanes, or brick off the left side gate and come back down the right side. Usually a little nudging will keep the ball in the upper area. If the ball comes down the left side again, and doesn't hit ANYTHING else, you can lt it go and the game will give you another crack at the skill shot, forever (or until you finally DO hit something else).
Now, for the skill shot, all you have to do is make sure the ball goes into the flashing lane, which you steer with your flippers. On a lot of machines, it always goes down the left lane (lite select). At any rate, you'll see that each lane has its own award. If the ball goes down the lit lane, then your award is whatever was shown at the top there. The awards are usually:
- Left lane
- Lite Select. If the Mystery Select was already lit, then this award will light the Super Mystery Select. If the Super Mystery Select was already lit, then this award will be a measly 5M.
- Middle lane
- Super Pops. However, if this award is already lit, then this lane will change to something different, usually "lite looping," which is the same as the WABAC award. If both of these are lit, the lane changes to Rocket Squirrel Scoring. See the puzzles for explanation.
- Right lane
- About 4M + 1M * the ball number. Oh boy.
Personally, I'd PREFER it always went down the lite select lane...
The WABAC Machine
As stated, the WABAC is the left ramp. If there is a value flashing under the entrance, then you may shoot the ramp for that value. Otherwise, the center shot should be lit to light the WABAC.
There seems to be no way to change the WABAC value. Whatever the machine picks next, you're stuck with it. [BTW - That's Way-Back if you haven't figured it out yet! :) ]
Once you get a WABAC value, you won't be able to get it again until you've completed the WABAC ramp mode. Note that if you get a WABAC award from something else (like the skill shot or mystery select), then it'll be lit on the WABAC indicating you've already gotten it.
There are 8 different WABAC awards that can be gotten. In the order which they appear on the game, they are:
- Super Pops
- Lights the 3 pop bumpers just under the bonus-x lanes for high scoring. The first 10 (or so) hits score 500K, the next 10 hits score 1M, and then the next hits score 2M. I do not believe it goes higher than 2M, though. The game will flash "Super Pops Ready" over the score display at various times when Super Pops is lit. Once ONE single bumper has been hit, the sequence lasts for as long as the ball stays up in the jets. After a certain period of time, the bumpers will go back to regular value. The slingshots will also score the current Super Pops value after it has been started. It will stay lit until you hit a jet bumper.
- A random award. Usually it'll give a mystery score (of either 5M, 10M, 15M, or 20M), but it sometimes gives other things like light or award extra ball, light special, light mystery select, etc. It even doubled my score once...
- Bomb Millions
- This award is pretty simple: You get 1M for each light you currently have lit on the Pie. This does NOT include the currently flashing light(s). But here's the nice thing: If you have under 4 lights lit on the Pie, it will AUGMENT your current Tri-Ball lighting progress to 4 lights. So if you've just had a Tri-Ball, scoring Bomb Millions spots your first 4 targets towards the next Tri-Ball. Note that this can be worth up to 12M (if Tri-Ball is lit).
- A timed award that starts when you shoot a ramp. When you do, you have 20 seconds to keep shooting ramps for millions of points. If you shot the right ramp IMMEDIATELY after getting "Looping", then your next ramp is worth 3M points; otherwise, the next ramp is worth 2M. In either case, as soon as you start it, you get 5M points. The total you have earned in Looping mode is showed at the bottom of the display, but you are awarded the points as you go along. As long as you keep shooting ramps, you'll have at least 3-4 seconds to shoot the next one (the timer is reset to that if you shoot a ramp before the mode ends). If you shoot the ramp opposite the one the ball just left, the value for the next ramp will increase by 1M. If you take too long or shoot it up the SAME ramp you last shot, then the next ramp value stays the same. [See also RAMP LOOPING in Misc. Scoring.]
- Loose Moose
- A frenzy round, with every switch worth 500K. Note that at least the ramp gates on R&B swing a lot, so half-shooting the ramps is a great way to increase your Loose Moose score. This value IS awarded as part of your end-of-ball bonus. So DON'T TILT!
- Instant TriBall
- Amazingly enough, starts Tri-Ball (c) (r) TM.
- Lite Mystery
- Lights the Mystery Select award in the center shot. (Or the Super Mystery Select if Mystery Select was already lit.)
- 10 Mil.
- YOU figure it out...
After all 8 awards are earned, the left ramp is lit for Back in Time. Shoot the ramp to start it. Then, for 15 seconds, every shot up the ramp takes you back 100 years. If you make a ramp shot and have less than 4 seconds remaining, the timer is reset to 4 seconds. Thus, you could shoot this shot all day if you never missed. (Ha!) You do get some amount of points for shooting the WABAC during this time. Not sure exactly how many, though. It has been reported that getting to 993 awards 50M. I haven't done this yet, so I don't know for sure.
Shooting the center shot or Aesop & Son during regular play takes away another piece of the puzzle. Behind all the puzzle pieces is the first frame of an animation, which is the introduction to a point-scoring sequence of some kind. The first puzzle has 3 pieces blocking it, and every completed puzzle increases the initial number of pieces by one, up to the maximum of 6 pieces, where the picture is completely covered.
So you clear the last piece, then the animation starts (some are OK, some will get old real quick), then the ball gets kicked out, then you are told what you are supposed to do. That's why it's very important that you know what you are shooting for and what will happen when the puzzle round starts, because you won't have a chance to see it during play! Pretty poor planning on DE's part, IMHO, but that's only one small problem, and there aren't that many in R&B compared to older games.
If you get tired of watching the animations over and over again, you can abort them by hitting the launch button (it's blinking). Thank God!
Anyway, here are the various rounds that I know of, with a description of their first pictures (I won't describe the animations; I'll let you see them yourself):
- Rocket Squirrel Scoring
- The first picture has R&B sitting on top of a rocket with Rocky holding a map. On the right are Boris and Natasha getting ready to light the rocket. The goal of this round is to shoot orbits, holes, and ramps. Each one you hit is worth 5M and it lasts for 20 seconds. There is no timer restart on this round. The total is shown on the bottom for the round, but you get the points as you go.
- The first frame shows Bullwinkle on the left side of the screen and a steam roller on the right side. This round lasts for 20 seconds as well. The goal is to keep hitting the right ramp. The Pie will keep changing, and the color that is lit at the time you hit the switch is the value you get (it's either 5M, 15M, 10M, or 20M, in that order). The ramp diverter will NOT divert the ball this round, enabling you to keep shooting the right ramp over and over. Hitting it resets the timer to 4 seconds for unlimited shots. The total is displayed here too, but it is awarded as you go. This round can actually be pretty lucrative if you can keep hitting the ramp, esp. with an average value of 12.5M per ramp shot!
- 2M Drops
- This animation shows Snidely tying Nell up to railroad tracks. You immediately start off with 10M points, and every drop target you hit during this round scores 2M points. It lasts for 20 seconds I think (maybe 15). Again, the total is displayed at the top, but you get the points right away. Also, every time you hit the drop targets, they are immediately reset, so you always have a shot at all 5 of them. Makes it much easier to constantly take out 2-3 per hit.
- Back in Time
- This animation shows Sherman and Peabody being growled at by a dinosaur (or something). The only thing it does is light the WABAC machine for Back in Time right away, regardless of where you were on the WABAC awards. You have 15 seconds to nail the left ramp, as described above. At the end of the round, the WABAC values are re-initialized (with one value blinking and the rest unlit).
The Hat Trick
During non-Tri-Ball play, you hit the 3 hat targets just above the Aesop & Son entrance to light the Hat Trick. Then, shooting the Lion shot should cause the diverter to open, and the ball will sit in the kickout hole while Bullwinkle pulls something out of his hat. ("But that trick NEVER works!") The award you get depends on what comes up. ("I hafta get me another hat!") You can watch the backglass to see what he's pulling out. If the Hat Trick is lit, completing the Hat targets again awards 5M points. This does NOT go up at all. Just another 5M.
As per my worst fears, the Hat Trick award seems to be totally random. At least, we couldn't see any pattern (and it doesn't have anything to do with the first or last target you hit to light it, etc.).
Just as a side note, you'll probably find Rocky saying "Wrong hat!" fairly annoying after a short period of time. (He says it when you hit a Hat target that's already lit.)
So, just what ARE these stupid awards, you are wondering... They are:
- You get 15 seconds to shoot the right ramp for 15M points. Decent.
- The Rhino shot starts with 20 seconds on the timer and at 20M points. As time goes on, the 20M starts counting down at 1M per second. Your first Rhino shot sets the value of it (and awards you those points). The timer then IMMEDIATELY goes to 3 seconds for repeated shots at that same value. Every shot resets the timer to 3 seconds. The value does NOT go below 3M. When it hits 3M, it goes right to the Value= and Total= display. You are awarded the points right away, not at end-of-ball.
- The rabbit isn't a rabbit, just Rocky dressed up as one (look at the Hat targets to see what he looks like). At any rate, getting Rocky earns an extra ball.
The Mystery Select
The Mystery Select is lit by one of 3 ways: The left lane skill shot, the WABAC machine, and by shooting loops. Lighting it again (by one of those 3 ways) lights the Super Mystery Select. Strangely enough, though, one of the Mystery Select awards is "Light Super Mystery Select"! When lighting SELECT via the Rhino and left orbit shots, consecutive shots will light 2 letters, as opposed to 1. So if you started from scratch, 7 orbit shots would light the Super Mystery Select. When lighting the (Super) Mystery Select via the skill shot or WABAC, it will NOT award you 6 letters. Rather, it will augment your current daisy count to light the next award. An example would be if you had SELEC lit, then shot the WABAC for "light mystery." You would only get 1 letter for that. Therefore, it would be a lot better to get that last daisy off the orbit shots before shooting for the WABAC.
Shooting the center shot when SELECT is lit (or flashing) will give you the (Super) Mystery Select choice ("I can't make up my mind!"). It's pretty simple: You hit the flipper button corresponding to the side that the choice you want is on. Some choices are pretty close in value, but some far out-do the other one (5M or light extra ball???). Some typical awards are:
- Mystery Score (5M - 20M, or around double that for Super Mystery Select)
- (Light) Extra ball (Shoot Aesop & Son if it's lit)
- (Light) Special (Shoot the Rhino shot if it's lit)
- Light Hat Trick
- Save Nell (described below in Misc. Scoring)
- Any of the puzzle rounds (WHY would you pick Back in Time??)
- Any of the WABAC machine awards (blocking it off on the WABAC) Double score(!)
And probably some others I can't think of right now. Usually, the Super Mystery Select awards will be nicer than the normal ones. The extra ball will stay lit if you don't get it that ball. However, you MUST get the special on that ball, or it goes away. Both of these may be operator adjustable, though.
Double score can be downright nice, sometimes, depending on the circumstances. For instance, at the PAPA 3 tournament, I doubled a 150M score once! It was during practice, though, but during a competition, that can be pretty frustrating (to say the least) to competetors.
There are lots of little things that are worth points but just aren't worth mentioning (slingshots, etc.). Most of the major scoring rounds have already been described. There are a couple more, along with a couple of undocumented features.
- Save Nell
- Hitting all the drop targets on the right starts a 15 second round where all you have to do is hit a SINGLE drop target to score 25M. ("Just in the nick of time!") Not bad. The number of times you must complete the drop targets before the Save Nell round is started is indicated by the flashing number in front of the targets. (If the "2" is flashing, you need to hit the bank 2 times to start the round.) When you start the round, the announcer will start commentating on the action (he says "Meanwhile" and starts discussing Nell's predicament). You should miss it at least once in order to see the closing animation. Snidely laughs at you at says "It's curtains." The display goes back to Nell, and as the timer reaches 0, down comes the curtain. :) If you miss her, then you only need to complete the bank once before re-lighting Save Nell. Otherwise, the number goes up by one for the next round. WORTHY OF NOTE: Getting Save Nell more than once IN THE SAME BALL seems to be worth many more points. The second time scores 50M. I don't know if it is unlimited or not, but if it keeps going up for awhile, you could get 150M points by saving Nell 3 times on the same ball!
- Ramp Looping
- During normal play, ramp looping is always lit. Basically, shooting one ramp, then sending the ball up the other one, etc. is "looping." You score 1M+1M each consecutive looping shot you make without missing. (You can only touch the return lanes and the ramp gates and sensors. If you take too long, you void the current looping as well.) There doesn't seem to be a limit (I've gotten it to 6M). Though this may be worth a decent amount of points eventually, there is a far more important reason to go for looping ramps: Starting with the 2M shot, every looping shot SPOTS ONE BOMB TARGET! So getting it to 6M spotted 5 BOMB letters. This can be invaluable as you get to the harder- to-light Tri-Ball rounds. I also suppose the maximum award you could get would be around 14M points, as the 15th shot would start Tri-Ball on the right ramp. I don't think looping works during Tri-Ball.
- The end-of-ball bonus goes up as the ball goes on, and is multiplied by 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10. The multiplier is advanced by the top lanes and by the Adv. X award for the laser kick. After getting 10X, the next bonus-X advance will award bonus-hold, which holds the bonus AND the multiplier. The maximum bonus, though, is only 2M (up to 20M when you have 10X), plus the Loose Moose total if you had one that ball. Fortunately, the rather tedious bonus counting can be aborted by hitting a flipper button ("Thank you Mr. Know-It-All!" or "Awww, Mr. PEAbody!").
- Victory Lap
- A typical DE award, which is lit after getting a replay from your score. Hit the right ramp for 25M bonus within around 15-20 seconds after earning the replay.
- Bomb extinguisher
- Like the Star Wars shootout (and LW3 for that matter), there is a time when you'll have to pound on the launch button about 5 times for 5M points. There's a brief siren-type noise before the round starts, but you have to be paying pretty close attention to notice. Also, the launch button starts blinking. It seems to start after hitting a number of UNLIT BOMB targets.
- Combo Shot
- There is a 3-way combo in R&B. I'm 95% sure that it is the Rhino loop -> left orbit -> Aesop & Son. It is worth 5M.
- Nice Death Save?!?
- You don't get any points for it, but this is the first game in existence that recognizes a death save (getting the ball back in play after an outlane drain) and CONGRATULATES you for doing it!. This is totally cool. :) In fact, it now takes first place on my Way-Cool- That-They-Even-Thought-To-Put-That-Into-A-Game list, just barely edging out "Dirty pool" in The Addam's Family. Anyway, to see the animation, you need to get the ball to hit another target after going down an outlane, but after the "Danger" animation goes away (if you got it). If you hit something after the danger sign goes away, you'll see the message, along with "Good work Sherman" and a very amusing animation with Sherman and Peabody. If you hit something too soon, you'll just hear some bars of the Death March, which also play during the animation. This is also supposedly worth some bwee amount of points (like 3-5M). Not bad considering the programmer originally wanted to make it -10M. :)
- "Stay tuned, there's more!"
- You'll hear/see this if you lose the ball very soon after launching. There's no way to tell for sure if it's still lit or not, though. You'll also get balls back that drain fairly soon after Tri-Ball starts.
Tri-Ball can be started in a number of ways: Getting it via Mystery Select, by completing the Pie by shooting BOMB or spotting it then shooting the right ramp, and it'll be lit on the third ball if you haven't gotten one yet (also on the right ramp), and by shooting the WABAC when Instant Tri-Ball is lit. (Actually, the game will spot 4 targets (maybe just one of each color) at the start of the second ball. Tri-Ball will be lit on your third ball if you've not yet had it. The opening animation is pretty amazing. (You should watch someone else start Tri-Ball sometime.) The other amazing thing is that it DOESN'T interfere with play, unlike the animation in, say, Star Wars
During Tri-Ball, you shoot the Hat Trick (left orbit) to light the jackpot. The first jackpot is usually 20M points. Every time you shoot the left ramp, you increase the jackpot by 1M. This appears to go on without limit. Collect the jackpot by shooting the right ramp. If the jackpot is lit, then you can shoot the Hat Trick again to light the double jackpot for about 8 seconds. There appears to be a very slight grace period on the double jackpot, but you have to at least be on the ramp when it hits 0 to get it. Repeatedly shooting the Hat Trick resets the timer to 8. I can safely say now that there is NO quadruple jackpot in R&B. After collecting the jackpot, light it again by shooting the Hat Trick. The next jackpot base value, though, goes up by 5M, again supposedly without limit. It goes back to 20M with the start of the next Tri-Ball.
The big thing in Tri-Ball is the new addition of a Super Jackpot in DE games. All you have to do is complete the Pie during Tri-Ball. :) I don't think there's a way to spot targets during Tri-Ball so you have to nail each BOMB letter 3 times. If you actually manage to do this, then shoot the right ramp for 100M points! You only have 15 seconds to do this, so do it quick. Beware! If you end Tri-Ball (drain 2 balls), then the SJ will become UNlit (and so will the jackpot, but NOT the double jackpot... weird). If you miss the SJ, the Pie will revert to you needing only 1 of each BOMB target to relight it. Pretty nice. Same if you lose Tri-Ball: Next Tri- Ball starts with the Pie at 2 of each color already lit.
One interesting thing is that the Pie will KEEP its progress towards the SJ for the duration of the game! So if you missed the Pie by that one last letter, well, you have a chance to get it again if you start Tri-Ball again.
Later, Tri-Balls are harder to light. The first one, all BOMB targets are lit until you complete that color. The second one, you have to get BOMB once (all 4 shots) before you can shoot BOMB again. Basically, you have to get all 4, then all 4 again, then all 4 again. The 3rd time, you have to get the blue B 3 times, then the O 3 times, etc. The 4th time, you have to hit 1 B, then 1 O, then 1 M, etc. I'm not sure after that. I think that's the highest difficulty. You cannot start WABAC rounds during Tri-Ball, but any round that was started before Tri-Ball will continue to operate normally.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you complete the Hat Trick during Tri-Ball, and you only have 2 balls in play, then the game will relaunch the 3rd ball for you! This makes it a LOT easier to keep your Tri-Ball an actual tri-ball (as opposed to a bi-ball). This is most certainly worth shooting for, as it will give you longer time to try to light the Super Jackpot, and keep your current jackpot value growing. What a great feature! Kudos: Yay to Brian Schmidt (sp?), the sound/music guy for DE... The music after you get a jackpot is just tremendous. I love it.
The outlanes are pretty vicious in R&B. You're going to have to do a bit of nudging in order to have a halfway decent ball-length time. I usually try to keep the kickback at 5M points with the return lane value advances unless I'm already at 10X bonus, when bonus-hold would be worth quite a few points (20M). Other than that 1 time, 5M is guaranteed to be worth the most. There is apparently a trick ("It's not a bug, it's a FEATURE!!!") that if you get a ball to roll over a lit "Adv kickback value" light just while the kickback is still flashing for the grace period, it WILL advance the kickback value, in the process, keeping it lit! Always try to go for the ramp looping. It'll get you to Tri-Ball a LOT faster and get you higher scores in the long run.
The hardest shot to master, IMHO, is the right ramp. On most machines, there seems to be a fairly narrow sweet spot to it, compared to how wide the entrance to it is. It's pretty important that you be able to hit it without much trouble, though. I usually just go for the Mystery Select as soon as it's lit unless I'm really close to lighting the Super (1 or 2 letters). The reason is, the awards just aren't all that much better for the SMS than the MS. If you're lucky enough, you'll usually be offered pretty nice awards through the plain Mystery Select. The center shot is fairly important to get the hang of, too. You can easily hit it from either flipper, though from the right flipper it's a bit of a backhanded shot.
Know which puzzle you are going for and what it'll do. And avoid finishing it, if you can, while other things are going on (e.g. Loose Moose). I personally like to concentrate on one thing at a time.
If you are going for the Back in Time puzzle, try to avoid finishing it until you've gotten some of the nicer awards off of the WABAC, like Tri-Ball and the ??? award.
Get the Rhino shot down! That's the shot that relights your Laser Kick. You can find out how many shots you need to relight it by looking at the "Instant Info" by holding down a flipper. Well, you have to catch a ball and hold it, because it won't show it to you while it's waiting for you to launch the ball. It should, though. Our machine usually needed 2 Rhino shots to relight it. There's a big yellow arrow that blinks when the next Rhino shot will relight it.
Know your mystery awards, and how easy they are to finish. For example, a choice of 10M & Save Nell, you should choose Save Nell because it's *easy* to get that 25M.
In Tri-Ball, you may not want to worry about double jackpots (unless we find out the quadruple jackpots DO exist). Shooting the jackpot right away will just let you hit the Hat Trick again for the jackpot, at 5M higher, and unlimited time rather than the pressure of 8 seconds to shoot the double. In the long run, it would actually be worth more NOT to shoot for the double jackpot. However, if you have a ball on each flipper, you might as well take a shot at the lighting the double, because you'll have 2 chances to get it. Certainly don't forget to try to relaunch that 3rd ball when you can!