I wanted to share this cool find with an interesting twist.
I've been in love with Bally 6803 games for some time now. I love my Special Force and several others have come and gone over the last couple of years. Motordome, Black Belt and Strange Science. I love how Bally had their back up against the wall competing with Williams in an era where they were kicking butt from a technology and design point of view. Yet, the Bally designers, with one hand seemingly tied behind their backs, still managed to come up with some awesome concepts and unique layouts. To me, these "ugly duckling" games that were poorly made and value engineered to death, are so bad that they're kinda good
One of the grail 6803 machines for me was HEAVY METAL MELTDOWN from 1987. It's a Dan Langlois design with art by Tony Ramuni and code by Rehman Merchant. It bears a lot of similarity to Strange Science in that the player must lock 5 balls to start Heavy Metal Meltdown multi ball. I'll get more into the game play another time but it's really cool how the shots are very interactive and the player is basically creating music and riffs as he/she shoots around the table.
A couple of months ago I was talking with a collector in Montreal and he just happened to have seen one on his recent travels and agreed to help me get the machine. A few weeks later another collector friend was very kind in collecting the machine for his upcoming trip through Toronto... and he even gave it a once over for me before it arrived.
Thanks so much guys!!!
But the fun part is that this was no ordinary HMM... not that they are very common to begin with, but this one was different.
The game had the generic "Bally Midway" cabinet art. This was common with a lot of 6803, but HMM shipped with custom art. I figured that someone must have swapped in a different cab because these pressed board cabinets are almost always trashed.
Then, a photo of the playfield showed a feature not seen in the production games. It had what appeared to be a drop target blocking the main ramp shot. This was a feature used in Motordome but HMM normally does not have it. On this example it looked like a piece of black tape was covering the target so I had no way of knowing what was underneath and I wasn't going to get more photos.
I eventually found a thread here on pinside with another example similar to mine and found a guy out in BC with another. Both had the basic artwork but neither had a functioning drop target AFAIK. This didn't fill me with a lot of hope. I really hoped mine would have a functioning drop target but I had no idea if the mech was even there or even if the feature was supported in the code. These other examples were considered sample or 'test' games that may have gone into bars or arcades for early testing or sent out for regulatory approvals.
Needless to say, I could not wait for this machine to arrive so that I could investigate further.
Here are some of the photos I got from the seller before it arrived: