Basic Game Objectives:
- Score center targets to light eject holes to lock balls. Lock 3
balls to start Muti-Ball play.
- Complete F-I-R-E rollover lanes to advance bonus multiplier and
light Extra Ball.
- Collect Firepower Bonus to light outlanes for Special.
Firepower's playfield shows many features that lended themselves to
the designs found in some of Steve Ritchie's later games. At first
glance, the playfield seems to be something of a cross between "High
Speed" and "Terminator 2". The following is a brief description of the
playfield features, following the ball's path from the plunger, going
counter-clockwise around the playfield. All scoring and awards
described are based on the game's "factory" default settings:
The plunger lane is located on the right side of the playfield, as
usual. It releases the ball into play near the top of the playfield
after the ball leaves a one-way gate at the top of the lane. The
player can attempt one of two types of shots from the plunger lane. A
light plunge will allow the ball to enter immediately into play on the
playfield, dropping it straight down to the flippers. A 'normal'
plunge will cause the ball to continue out of the plunger lane,
curving to the left, and entering the top center area of the playfield
above the four F-I-R-E rollover lanes (see F-I-R-E Rollover Lanes
Lower Right Lock:
The Lower Right Lock, or eject hole, is located on the inside edge of
the curve from the plunger lane to the upper-center of the playfield
(above the four F-I-R-E rollover lanes). The ball passes behind this
lock as it makes it's way to the rollover area. This lock will capture
a ball, when lit, and awards 10,000 points. When not lit, the hole
scores 1,000 points. There is a star-rollover button located in front
of this lock, which also scores 1,000 points when activated.
Upper Right Lock:
This lock is located just above the curve that exits into the F-I-R-E
rollover area, at the top of the playfield. A ball being shot into
this area (from the plunger or from flippers at the bottom of the
playfield) will pass along the curve and below the Upper Right Lock,
entering the area above the F-I-R-E rollover lanes. In short, a ball
cannot be shot into the Upper Right Lock when it enters from the
right. It can only land in this lock by being shot up the Left Spinner
lane (see below), or by a lucky or skillful rebound off one of the
posts at the top of the F-I-R-E rollover lanes. Scoring for the Upper
Right Lock is the same as the Lower Right Lock- 10,000 points when
lit, and 1,000 points when not lit.
F-I-R-E Rollover Lanes:
Four rollover lanes are located at the top center of the playfield.
Each lane is marked with one letter of the word FIRE. The Lane-Change
feature in the game allows the player to rotate any lit rollover lanes
from left to right, one position at a time, by pressing the right
flipper button. This makes collecting all four rollover lanes much
easier. Completing all four rollover lanes lights the "FIRE" insert
(in center of playfield), and awards a bonus multiplier- 2X, 3X, 4X,
and 5X. When 5X has been collected, completing all four rollover lanes
again lights Extra Ball (see Lower Right Standup Targets below).
Balls can enter the area above the F-I-R-E rollover lanes from the
left or the right. Each entrance features a one-way gate that will
prevent the ball from leaving the area without going through one of
the rollover lanes.
Each rollover lane (lit or unlit) scores 1,000 points.
Pop Bumper Area:
Four pop bumpers are positioned strategically below the F-I-R-E
rollover lanes, in a square formation. The left two pop bumpers are
actually located slightly higher up the playfield than the right pop
bumpers, which I think really helps the ball action in that area. Most
Firepower games will exhibit very good response and ball action from
the pop bumpers.
Pop bumpers, when not lit, award 100 points each. When lit, pop
bumpers award 1,000 points each. Pop bumpers are lit by completing all
six Center Stand-Up Targets, located just below the pop bumpers, in
two banks of three targets each (see below.) On first completion of
the Stand-Up Targets, two pop bumpers are lit, one left, and one
right- one above and one below. These will alternate as they are hit.
On second completion of the Stand-Up Targets, the other two unlit pop
bumpers will be lit, so all four are lit.
Rebound switches around the pop bumper area score 50 points. The
sounds associated with these switches, and the sounds associated with
pop bumper activation, make for some neat sound effects when the ball
is in this area.
A single "bullseye" stand-up target is located in the top-center pop
bumper area- between the "I" and "R" rollover lanes. Scoring for this
target is often misunderstood by players, due to the three lamp
inserts located directly below it. The target actually scores 1,000
points. The three lamp inserts below it (mounted vertically on the
playfield) are marked 10,000, 30,000, and 50,000, from bottom to top.
These inserts actually indicate the bonus points awarded when the
player completes F-I-R-E and POWER (see Lower Right Stand-Up Targets
below.) They do not in fact pertain to the bullseye target. I have
often wondered if the combination of the stand-up target and these
inserts were originally designed for some other award, but have not
been able to confirm this. The layout of these two items certainly
doesn't seem too logical, so it's perhaps possible that points or
award(s) associated with the stand-up target were changed in the game
before it was released. Which leads us to....
Center Stand-Up Targets:
This is probably the "heart", and most interesting area of Firepower's
playfield, and game play. Two banks of three stand-up targets are
mounted here, just below the four pop bumpers (one bank of stand-ups
below each column of two pop bumpers). Again, like the pop bumpers,
these two banks are slightly offset, and pointed slightly inward
toward the center of the playfield. The left bank is mounted slightly
higher than the right bank.
Targets are marked "1" through "6" by orange arrow inserts on the
playfield in front of the targets themselves. Completing one bank of
targets lights the Left Kickback in the left outlane (see below).
Completing both banks of targets will light two of the three ball-lock
eject holes (Left Lock, Upper Right Lock, and Lower Right Lock), and
will also light the spinner in the Left Spinner Lane (see below) for
1,000 points. Completing all six stand-up targets a second time will
light the remaining lock.
Each stand-up target awards 1,000 points, whether lit (collected), or
not lit (not collected).
Left Spinner Lane:
This lane is located in the upper left corner of the playfield. It
actually starts about mid-way up the playfield, and hooks sharply to
the right at the top of the playfield, sending the ball through a
one-way gate, across the top of the F-I-R-E rollover area, and toward
the Upper Right Lock. This is the shot to make when attempting to lock
a ball in the Upper Right Lock, and with a crisp shot off the right
flipper, can be very gratifying when the spinner hits maximum RPMs and
the ball slams into the lock. Very nice shot, and typical Steve
Ritchie "flow"! Experienced players will note that this is virtually
the identical shot found on Terminator 2, but without the spinner.
The spinner in this lane scores 100 points, or 1,000 points when lit.
Complete all six Center Stand-Up Targets to light the spinner.
The third of the three lock eject holes, this lock is located just
behind (to the left) of the start of the Left Spinner Lane. Rules for
this lock are the same as other locks, as described above. This lock
also feature a star rollover-button in front of it, like the Lower
Another Steve Ritchie signature classic, this feature comprises the
left outlane, and is dubbed, the "Shield" on this game. The "Shield"
is lit by completing either bank of the Center Stand-Up Targets
(whether they've been completed already or not), and awards 1,000
points, whether lit or unlit. When lit, the Shield will kick the ball
back into play, and become inactive. Complete center stand-up targets
again to re-light the Shield.
Slingshots, Flippers, Return Lanes, Outlanes:
Ah, the standard layout here- which I do like. Traditional. Two lanes
behind each slingshot bumper- an outlane and a flipper return lane.
Return lanes award 1,000 points, or 3,000 points when lit (see Lower
Right Stand-Up Targets). Outlanes score 1,000 points, or Special when
lit. Special is lit by collecting Firepower Bonus (see below) three
Left outlane of course features a kickback (see above). Slingshot
bumpers score 10 points each. The right flipper will activate the
Lane-Change feature for the F-I-R-E rollover lanes (see above).
Lower Right Stand-Up Targets:
Again, very typical of Steve Ritchie playfield layouts- the lone
3-bank of stand-up targets to the above-right of the right slingshot.
Seen on other games like Terminator 2, and Getaway. On Firepower,
these targets, when completed, award "POWER", light the "POWER" insert
in the center of the playfield, and light both flipper return lanes
for 3,000 points each. These targets will also award the Extra Ball,
when lit (see F-I-R-E Rollover Lanes).
This completes our tour of the playfield....
Completing both "FIRE" (F-I-R-E rollover lanes) and POWER (Lower Right
Stand-Up Targets), awards the Firepower bonus, which is a value of
10,000, 30,000, or 50,000 points, as indicated by the insert lights in
the center of the pop bumper area. After collecting the 50,000 award,
the outlanes are both lit for Special.
Bonus can range from 1,000 points to 29,000 points, and can be
multiplied from 1X to 5X. Bonus points are accumulated by major
targets, when initially collected (such as F-I-R-E rollovers, unlit
Center Stand-Up Targets, etc.) Bonus multipliers are collected by
completing the F-I-R-E rollover lanes.
Multi-Ball play is awarded after locking all three balls in locks, or
eject holes, on the playfield. All three balls are then released into
play. The game does a great countdown effect with the displays,
lights, and sound when Multi-Ball is collected. Very neat effect.
- Go for Extra Ball. This can be pretty tough on
Firepower, however, depending on the way the game is setup/adjusted.
By factory default, one must achieve 5X, then collect the Extra Ball,
all in one ball. Can be tough. On more liberally-adjusted games, bonus
multipliers can be carried over, thus making the Extra Ball more
- Keep the Shield lit. A must on any Steve Ritchie game with an
outlane kickback. Actually pretty easy on Firepower. Just keep
whacking the center stand-up targets to get the Shield re-activated.
- Go for bonus X. Always ensures bigger points.
- Remember that center stand-up targets are always worth 1,000 points
each, whether lit or unlit (flashing), so if you can't make the shot
you want, slap the center targets for some easy points.
- Keep in mind that most features can be more easily obtained during
Multi-Ball, for the simple reason that there is 2 to 3 times the
playfield activity (depending on how many balls you can keep in play).
This may be the most comprehensive of strategies- go for Multi-Ball.
As there's really no Jackpot or other strategy employable during
Multi-Ball, use it for points and feature collection.
Mark's note - although I would love to take credit for the above Firepower rules, they are fantastic!, they are the work of Ray Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org). Ray is a terrific asset to the pinball collecting community and is a wealth of information regarding Williams SS games. Thanks Ray!
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