Ok, I don't comment much but this machine really surprised me after 5 years, yes 5 years of ownership!
I can say this machine definitely reaches the list of most underrated pinball machines.
I played it a bit after restoring one and it seemed easy and I reached Future car in just a couple of games played.
Turned me over and then I started hating it because of “no really depth” so I just never played it much. Just casually.
But then.. the kids grew and started playing it. It became one of their favorites. I joined.
Damn. I was hooked as soon as I figured out more way to play it. I never tried to really understand the machine!
You know when you play a machine and just reach a couple of billions,... jackpots and just points from scoring stuff and completing modes. You think you know it, but that's not the case with this machine.
I never understood, actually, I underestimated the depth of this George Gomez's FIRST pinball machine!
When you challenge yourself to collect the CARS. Yes, the different models of cars in the middle of the playfield. 9 in total with the Future Car final mode as the 10th car and you know that you get it from beating the drag race on the right when starting Pit mode.
But when you figure out where and how you get the cars is where it gets fun!
There are 3 on the 3 locks (but only on the first lock/multiball) which makes the game harder with progress. There’s a couple on the modes, but not every mode, and when you learn and remember which modes are next in line you start to think about how to get there!
There are no easy extra balls!
The loops. Oh, the loops. They are amazing and you can stack up some good points there.
As soon as you loop via engine or right orbit to either upper loop or the top ramp you bump up the combo value. If you are really good at this you can bring this up to some serious points and it is so nice when you are above 60-70 million PER COMBO you just decide (math -> risk/reward equation) you focus on this and reach the cap on 99 million per combo. When you know this and understand that it also counts during multiballs you actually start the multiball to get those capped value combos out!
The kickback! How good you can incorporate the kickback in your play. For me there’s no other machine like this one. It’s so valuable to keep it active. Every time you lose it when the ball drains in the left outlane just focus on getting the kickback active again on the right (red target). The play style, how you arrange your shots, and if the machine is dialed well, you can have some good control not to get any ricochets into the “exposed” right outlane.
If you have a risky shot to hit, like the right ramp. Just try to lock the ball to get one free shot at it!
Yes, lock it in the engine ramp (where the second multiball requires a left loop first and then lock and the third one times out after left loop, so you need to be quick which is another detail to make the game harder during progress). One you lock any ball, you get to plunge a ball and a short plunge without touching a switch will give you a free shot! This machine requires 4 switches to validate the ball.
Again, when you use this to power up you play it’s another layer of game depth that kind of comes organically.
Focusing on getting as many cars is challenging and fun also for an experienced player.
If you play it that way, you learn when you get them and once you get past the Future car (10th car) it gets really hard to get more. It’s twice as hard to get from 10 to 20 than from 0 to 10 cars.
The modes on the right ramp are nice and on some you get cars awarded. The “Catch me if you can” mode is one of the best modes in any pinball machine where there are 4 shots required in exact order. You don’t complete it by randomly shooting around. You need to stop and pay attention where exactly required shot is lit and the reward - a new car + multiball where the ball in the loops is set to stop at the bumpers because it’s “hit a switch for points” (plain multiball) but the depth here is that you can boost up your bonus multiplier which is on top of the playfield above the jet bumpers. You again play this mode for something else because it becomes more valuable.
Then.. get your cars early because each car is 10 million in bonus (but not multipliable because the programmer and pinball designer figured out this would be too much so everything else is multipliable but the cars) and you still get some good point on your 3-4 ball play if you get to your high number of cars early. Also important to know at tournaments.
Anyway, it’s so much to write about this machine and I wanted to express this here because I owned the machine and never understood that it’s so good also because there was really no one describing this depth to me.
The smoothness of the play, the ramps, the loops, the speed while still being in control.
This is why you return to play more.