Sigma's Guide to Whitewater
by Kevin Martin
Version of July 26, 1995
Notes and Disclaimers
This rule compilation and tips sheet is, to the extent possible (in light of the subject matter being the property of Bally/Williams), freeware. It can be modified, updated, or revised, provided only that credit to the original author(s) remains intact. It can be published or otherwise distributed, provided only that such distribution is effectively free.
This sheet is written and maintained by Kevin Martin, email@example.com - if you have any questions or comments or additions or corrections, send 'em along to me.
Whitewater is almost certainly a trademark for Williams/Bally. The author(s) disclaim all interest in any trademarks or other intellectual property referenced herein. I do not speak for my employer, my friends, my relatives, or my cat. In fact, I hardly even speak for myself.
I use the abbreviations
This version of the Guide should be considered final.
This is a glossary of the shots and features that will be referred to during the discussion of the game. It's possible to play this game for quite a while and never actually learn the names of a few of these shots.
The Skill Shot is hitting Insanity Falls after gently plunging the ball onto
the Upper Playfield. Plunging too softly will leave the ball in the plunger
lane. Plunging too hard will send it down the Spine Chiller and screaming
towards the flippers. If it doesn't hit a slingshot or roll up into an
inlane, you haven't scored any points and can let the ball go. It's best to
avoid this situation entirely, however. In fact, on
The Skill Shot is worth
There are nine possible raft values: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and Wet Willie's. You begin the game on Raft #2. You advance to higher rafts by completing lit Hazards. At Raft #2, you must complete one lit Hazard to advance the Raft. At Raft #4, you must complete one or two Hazards - the sequence of number-of-Hazards-needed does not always seem to be consistent. In any case, the number of Hazards needed steadily increases for each raft. Once you have reached and completed Wet Willie's, this sequence starts over, requiring even more Hazards for each advance. All the Hazards you need to advance the Raft are lit at the same time - since there are only seven Hazards, no more than seven are ever required to advance the Raft. On normal settings, the number of Hazards required is typically:
Once you have completed Wet Willie's, you return to Raft #2, and more Hazards (typically an additional two) are needed to advance each Raft.
Advancing the Raft awards
Reaching Wet Willie's awards
Hitting a lit Hazard is worth the current Hazard Value. This is
You can spot Hazards through Disaster Drops or relighting a lit Bounceback. Doing so behaves as if you had actually hit the Hazard, so that you can collect the Man Overboard value in this fashion (but not Jackpots, Whirlpool Awards, or the Travelling Hazard in Wet Willie's).
The same set of Hazards is lit for each Raft for each player in a multi- player game. That is, if Player 1 has to hit the Spine Chiller and No Way Out to advance to Raft #6, those same Hazards will be lit for Player 2 in the same situation.
The Bounceback is notoriously misbehaved on most Whitewater machines. It's possible for the ball to land and rest on the unfired kicker, and the Ball Search will not fire the Bounceback as part of its search. (However, the fourth Ball Search will kick any locked balls out of No Way Out.)
You can relight the Bounceback by hitting the three red plastic targets facing left in the center of the playfield. Completing these targets while the Bounceback is already lit will spot a Hazard.
The Bounceback is automatically relit at the beginning of regular 3-ball Multiball, but not for other Multiball modes (if it's already lit, this "relighting" does not spot a Hazard).
There is an operator-settable option for the Bounceback to be automatically relit at the beginning of each ball. However, this does not make it easier to spot Hazards by hitting the Lite Bounceback targets. If the Bounceback was not lit at the end of your previous ball and you complete the Lite Bounceback targets on the next ball, you will be awarded Lite Bounceback even though the Bounceback is already lit. Subsequent completions of the targets will behave normally.
There are six of these awards, and each is represented by a light on the playfield in the Jet Bumper area. The currently lit award is flashing. Previously awarded items remain lit and unavailable until all awards have been completed. The current award is collected by shooting Bigfoot Bluff when lit (that is, when the red light on the sign above it is lit). Light Bigfoot Bluff by shooting Insanity Falls when it is lit (that is, when the yellow light on the sign above it is lit). When the Whirlpool is available (i.e., the yellow or red lights are lit and no Multiball or Whirlpool sequence is underway), every hit on the Jet Bumpers will change the currently lit Whirlpool Award (in sequence). After collecting an award, the next available sequential award is lit. After collecting all six awards, the Whirlpool is reset and Whirlpool Challenge is lit.
Note that hitting Insanity Falls at any time, even if the Whirlpool is unavailable and the yellow light is unlit, will make the Whirlpool available once the current sequence or Multiball has ended, as if you had hit Insanity Falls with the yellow light lit.
In order (from bottom to top), the awards are:
Lighting the Extra Ball by any method (Whirlpool Award, Mystery Canyon, or Disaster Drops) earns the quote "Get the extra ball!" from Wet Willie. However, there is a very small chance that he will instead say, "Get the extra ball... YA WIENER!" This never fails to amuse me.
Advance Raft behaves as if you had collected all currently lit Hazards (without awarding the Hazard Value for them). If Bigfoot Bluff is your last Hazard to advance the Raft, and you collect the Advance Raft Whirlpool Award by shooting it, you will advance two Rafts at once. Unlike the Mystery Canyon award of Advance 3 Rafts, the Whirlpool Advance Raft award does award the Raft value.
During all of the Whirlpool Awards which have associated sequences, further Whirlpool Awards are unavailable until the sequence has ended. However, Hazards are lit and can be collected as usual.
When the game begins, Whirlpool Challenge is the current award. When you complete all six awards, Whirlpool Challenge is the current award on the next set, regardless of which award you collected last.
Note that whenever you shoot the lit Whirlpool and the ball is swirling into the Whirlpool, all lights on the playfield cycle in an order corresponding to the six red lights, indicating the swirling of the Whirlpool.
This is a two-ball multiball. The object of this mode is to "fill the
Whirlpool" with balls. Shoot the Whirlpool by shooting Bigfoot Bluff;
Bigfoot will divert the ball. Initially, the Whirlpool is lit for
If you lose one ball without collecting any Whirlpool values, the Whirlpool
remains lit for quite a while for a Last Chance at
If you put the second ball into play and lose it before the locked ball kicks
out of the Lost Mine, you will usually get it back, even though you scored
points by tripping a few sensors. You can, in fact, get unlimited free
Starting Whirlpool Challenge is actually dependent on the ball reaching the Lost Mine sensor. If the ball does not do so (usually because the switch in the Whirlpool is flaky and closing when no ball is present), Whirlpool Challenge becomes solidly lit but does not start until the next time a ball is seen in the Lost Mine. This means you can start more than one round at a time under certain conditions!
"Head for the blinking lights!"This Whirlpool Award makes all currently lit Hazards worth
Note that a side drain earns the quote but does not end the Man Overboard sequence. If you manage a Death Save, the timer will resume and you can still collect the Man Overboard value. You can also hear the side drain quote twice in one ball. Naughty, naughty.
This is a random award, from the "Spirit of the River". Possible awards are:
The Spirit will not award River Class 6 if you are already at River Class 6. However, it may award River Class 6 if you have already reached it on a previous ball - the Spirit is not concerned about your progress towards the Vacation Bonus.
The Advance Rafts award does not award any of the Raft values.
5X Playfield makes almost all playfield values worth five times as much for a
period of twenty-five seconds. There is a slight exception for Multiball
Hitting Bigfoot Bluff to award 5X Playfield will immediately multiply the Camera Craze or Hazard Value awarded for Bigfoot Bluff itself, but not the Raft value (if awarded).
The only special feature of the Spine Chiller is Multi-Millions. Rolling
through the Right Inlane lights Multi-Millions, which is
During Multiball modes, if there is ball being kicked out of No Way Out when you hit the entrance sensor for the Spine Chiller, the game will logically connect this with the other ball rolling over the Upper Playfield sensor, and will award you the Spine Chiller if it is a lit Hazard. This can be a useful trick.
Note that the Spine Chiller is the only way other than No Way Out (or the plunger, of course) to get a ball to the upper playfield. It is the more difficult of the two shots.
If you hit the Spine Chiller and let the ball go through the Right Inlane
immediately afterwards to light Multi-Millions, the first Multi-Millions will
The current value of the Jet Bumpers is determined by the Boulder Garden
Hazard. Initially, the Jet Bumpers are worth
The number of times you hit the Disaster Drop Hazard is counted, and certain awards occur at certain intervals. The sequence is:
When the Extra Ball Lit award falls on a multiple of 3, it appears that the regular award at that value is overridden. This is most unfortunate.
Past a certain number of Disaster Drops, the Spot Hazard award becomes less frequent, eventually coming at multiples of 10 Drops, with the last Spot Hazard being awarded at 100 Drops, with another promised at 255 Drops! If you actually reach 255 Drops, the game stops counting, and every subsequent Drop spots a Hazard.
Note that Hold Bonus does absolutely nothing on any Whitewater machine I have seen or heard of. The Bonus is computed from factors which are already maintained from ball to ball, and the River Class is never held from one ball to the next, even with Hold Bonus. Also, having Bonus Held on the last ball of a game does not award the bonus twice.
"You found the Secret Passage!"Rolling over this switch immediately advances the Raft value. A ball which wanders up into the Secret Passage and back down through it as well will advance two Rafts. This is true at all times, including Multiball. If Wet Willie's is running, advancing the Raft by this method yields the appropriate sound effect and quote but has no other useful effect.
The Secret Passage will also collect the Man Overboard value when that sequence is running. However, some people have told me otherwise. This very likely depends on your ROMs.
The Two Way Combo is Spine Chiller to Insanity Falls, worth
There are several possible Three Way Combos, each worth
On newer machines, there is a Four Way Combo for
On newer machines, there is a Five Way Combo for
Note that Combos can only be obtained by hitting the actual targets in the appropriate order, with little delays and no intervening targets (except the Left Inlane switch and possibly the Lite Lock targets). You cannot get Combos by spotting Hazards. You also cannot get Combos during Multiball.
All Combos begin with the Spine Chiller.
The River Class acts as a Bonus Multiplier and the multiplier for the Hazard
Value. You must also advance to a Class Six River in order to collect the
Vacation Bonus. You can spot letters in
Remember, the light on the Inlanes and Outlanes is steerable with the
flippers. Either flipper moves the light to the right. Flipping both
flippers simultaneously moves the light twice (ie, there's no exclusion on
the flipping). The Left Outlane is lit at the beginning of each ball.
Outlanes are worth
The Hazard Value is
Once you have advanced the Raft while on Raft #16, you must complete all Hazards one more time in order to reach Wet Willie's. Effectively, you are advancing from Raft #18 to Raft #20 - it isn't clear why there is no Raft #18 light on the playfield. You can more easily reach Wet Willie's by using one of the several shortcuts to advance the Raft to #20.
When you reach Wet Willie's, he will appear on the display and call out,
"Welcome to Wet Willie's!"
You will then be in Stage 1 of Wet Willie's. At
this point, all Hazards are lit and worth
Collecting the Travelling Hazard is worth a cool
Stage 1 is maintained between balls - if you drain, your next ball will resume the sequence where you left off. However, draining during Stage 2 will end Wet Willie's and return you to Raft #2.
There is no Stage 3.
Note that if you lock a ball during Stage 2 of Wet Willie's, the hazard will continue to travel and the timer will continue to count down! It is usually wise to avoid locking a ball during Stage 2.
Wet Willie's is considered a "mode" for some purposes - you cannot start the Gold Rush or spot items, and you cannot collect Whirlpool Awards. However, you can light Locks and start Multiball; Wet Willie's and Multiball are not at all mutually exclusive. You can start Multiball while in Wet Willie's (preferably Stage 1), and you can reach and start Wet Willie's while in Multiball.
There shouldn't be any grace periods on Stage 2 of Wet Willie's, but there is
one (perhaps unintentional) one. If you shoot No Way Out while Disaster Drop
is lit for
Completing the two Hotfoot targets enough times (normally 3 or 4, but it may be as high as 14 or as low as 2, depending on settings and reflexing) will start a Bigfoot Hotfoot. This sequence lasts 20 seconds and uses only the ball currently in play. During this time, Bigfoot is distracted and you can sneak into his cave. Bigfoot Bluff awards the Bigfoot Jackpot, and Bigfoot will not divert the ball into the Whirlpool. Instead, the ball will quickly be fed to the Right Inlane, from where you can shoot the ball to the upper playfield for another Bigfoot Jackpot.
The Bigfoot Jackpot awards
The sequence actually lasts for 20 seconds, but by the time the opening animation has completed and you realise that Hotfoot is underway, there's usually only 16 seconds left on the timer. The timer does pause for the kickout from No Way Out. You can get six or seven Bigfoot Jackpots during a single Hotfoot if you're consistent and careful.
Because the Hotfoot timer pauses, the 5X Playfield timer will also pause
along with it if you have both running at once. This makes it very easy to
"Hey, a flashlight!"
Once you have collected the Camera from the Bigfoot Hotfoot sequence, a
Camera Craze is active. For the rest of the ball, all Hazards except No Way
Out are worth
There is a distinctive sound effect for Camera Craze. You are awarded the
Hitting the ball into the Lost Mine, except during Multiball modes and Whirlpool Award sequences, spots items needed for the Gold Rush. Once all three items (flashlight, map, and key) have been collected, either via the Lost Mine or the Bigfoot Hotfoot, hitting the Lost Mine (except during Multiball modes and Whirlpool Award sequences) starts the Gold Rush. This is a two-ball multiball, during which all switches immediately award 250K. Hazards can be collected as normally. The Gold Rush ends when one or both balls drain.
The Gold Rush can be used to get free
Note that hitting the Lost Mine to spot the third item will do so and also
immediately starts the Gold Rush, rather than requiring an additional hit.
This means that collecting the third item (the key) via the Bigfoot Hotfoot
is pointless unless you also collect the Camera and/or Cow (of course, the
Depending on reflexing, your game may begin with the Flashlight spotted. If you complete the Gold Rush, it will reset to the items you began with. That is, if the machine spots the Flashlight at the beginning of the game, it will spot it towards the second Gold Rush as well.
It is possible, unfortunately, to start the Gold Rush while the game is Tilted, if the ball happens to bounce up into the Lost Mine after you Tilt. Please don't ask me how I found this out. This essentially loses all of your items.
"It's dark in here!"Worth noting: Wet Willie's dog barks sometimes during the Gold Rush. The only other time he contributes is when you press Start to add the fourth player to a game.
You must lock all three balls at No Way Out in order to start three-ball Multiball. Under most difficulty settings, lighting the Locks the first time in a game will only require hitting each green target ("Lite" and "Lock") once. The second time will require hitting each target twice. The third and later locks require hitting each target only two times, but a flashing target will time out if you do not complete the other target within a few seconds.
Specifically, the first locks go unlit to lit. The second go unlit to flashing to lit. The third go unlit to lit to flashing, but if only one is flashing, it will time out. The meaning of a flashing light is unfortunately inconsistent for different Multiballs.
Locking a third ball at No Way Out is the only way to start three-ball
multiball. During Multiball, Insanity Falls is lit for the
Whitewater Jackpot, which has a base value of
All three balls are fed to the upper right flipper. How many of these balls successfully go through Insanity Falls determines whether you will be collecting Single, Double, or Triple Jackpots for the rest of that Multiball. If none or only one ball makes the Falls, you will be collecting regular Whitewater Jackpots. If two make it, you will be collecting Double Jackpots. If all three make it, you will be collecting Triple Jackpots. The first ball is a Single Jackpot, the second a Double, and the third a Triple, and later balls do not increase the multiplier.
On most Whitewater machines (depending on ROM revision and difficulty
settings), there are exceptions for Multiball during 5X Playfield. On some
machines, 5X simply does not apply to Jackpots, but 5X runs normally
otherwise. On new, "normal" machines
There are booming sound effects after each collected Jackpot - one boom for regular Whitewater Jackpots, two booms for Double Jackpots, three booms for Triple Jackpots, and five booms for 5X Jackpots. These are the same sounds used in The Addams Family.
The 5X Jackpot is accompanied by a fantastic ululating scream from Wet Willie, which is also used at the end of the Vacation Bonus.
Hazards remain lit during Multiball, and you can advance the Raft in the usual fashion. Doing so will increase your Jackpot value appropriately.
The Bounceback is automatically relit at the beginning of regular Multiball, unless it was flashing to time out when you lock the third ball. There is a bug in that case - the Bounceback does not get relit, yet the game thinks it's lit, yet it will not kick balls back. Specifically, for the rest of that ball, completing the red targets to relight the Bounceback will spot a Hazard, as if the Bounceback were already lit. The Bounceback will not function, and at the beginning of the next ball, the Bounceback is lit.
When two of the three balls drain (or all of them, for that matter), Multiball ends as soon as the drained balls are detected. Although the light remains lit on Insanity Falls for a bit longer, there is actually not any useful grace period. Cruel, isn't it?
If you do poorly in Multiball - specifically, if you do not score any Jackpots and Multiball lasts only a short while (this appears to be a reflexing feature), No Way Out will be lit to restart the Multiball. While the Restart is lit (for 20 seconds), the Whirlpool Awards will still be unavailable. Hitting No Way Out for the restart (no, you cannot spot No Way Out to collect the restart) will start a two-ball regular Multiball, during which all Jackpots will be regular Jackpots - you cannot get Double Jackpots by shooting both balls up Insanity Falls immediately.
By the way, I think the coolest music in Whitewater is when you hit No Way Out to restart Multiball and you have the second ball in the plunger lane. You get to clearly hear the most frantic Multiball music.
The Vacation Bonus, or Vacation Jackpot, is possibly the coolest award ever in pinball history. In order to collect it, you must complete the Vacation Planner, which is displayed on three occasions: in the Status Report, when you hit the unlit Whirlpool, and when you hit No Way Out when any one of the first three sections of the Planner have been completed. There are four sections to the Vacation Planner.
(Note - older machines almost never display the Vacation Planner. It is a big secret in these machines. I actually prefer it that way. It was certainly more amusing to discover it by accident.)
The first section is River Class. You must reach River Class Six at some
point during the game, either through a Mystery Canyon award or by completing
The second section is Wet Willie's. You must start (but not necessarily complete) Wet Willie's at some point during the game.
The third section is the Boulder Garden. You must collect all six Whirlpool Awards at some point during the game.
The fourth section is the Locks. You must light all three Locks and lock all three balls in order to collect the Vacation Bonus. Contrary to my earlier statements, locking the balls does not necessarily require the maximum difficulty method of lighting the Locks. Locks can be lit in the usual fashion - if you manage to reach the Vacation Bonus without ever starting Multiball, the Locks will be especially easy. However, this is highly unlikely. At best, you can hope to collect the Vacation Bonus with the second Multiball.
Once you have completed the first three sections of the planner, locked two
balls, and have the third Lock lit, just lock the ball in No Way Out. The
machine will go dead, pause, sound a fire alarm, and display several frames
from many animations in the game, along with quick rap-style cuts from all
the quotes, ending with a display of the value awarded and the long yell from
the 5X Jackpot. Next, the game quietly displays the current number of
credits, and increases it by one (that is, it awards Special along with the
Vacation Bonus). Next, Multiball starts, and your base Jackpot value will
be at least
The machine will also sometimes display the
Note that if you are at Wet Willie's or at River Class Six when you collect the Vacation Bonus, those sections will be marked as complete on the Vacation Planner for the next Vacation Bonus. However, when Wet Willie's ends, it will disappear from the next Vacation Planner, although River Class Six will not. This makes it possible to collect more than one Vacation Bonus on a single ball, which I have verified :)
The Vacation Bonus base value is
Note: there seems to be some sort of unusual bug which very rarely sets the
Vacation Bonus value to exactly
The bonus collected at the end of every ball is:
[(One problem with this award is that the calculations the game displays are almost always INCORRECT! Very often, you'll see something like:
13 Hazards *The most reasonable explanation I have seen offered for this is that the counts used in the computation are totals between all players, not just the current player. This does not, however, explain scoring errors in single- player games.
There are other problems in which parts of the Bonus Total are mysteriously doubled, and the Bonus as reported in the Status Report often has nothing at all to do with reality. It all gets even worse in multiplayer games.
Lit outlanes are worth
Some of these are approximate, some are guesses. A few may be correct. Does it really matter?
There are three occurrences of Cows in Whitewater. The first is the fifth item found in Bigfoot's Cave during Bigfoot Hotfoot. Once you have collected that Cow, collecting the Mystery Canyon as a Whirlpool Award the next time during that game will replace the usual Whirlpool animation with a picture of the Spirit pulling a string on the legless Cow, which "MOO"s rather loudly. The picture is labeled "The Secret of the Cow". This picture also appears briefly in the Vacation Bonus award.
The Secret of the Cow is not worth any special points, despite my earlier
claim that it was worth
The third cow in Whitewater is the famous Dueling Cows display, which can be obtained during attract mode. Make sure there are no credits on the machine. It may be necessary to power-cycle first on some machines. Then, press the flipper buttons and start button in the following sequence:
It's commonly said that all one has to do to get high scores on Whitewater is shoot whatever is lit or flashing at the time. Although this is true to a certain extent, some planning and strategy will invariably yield more consistent and higher scores.
Note that the Jackpot Value in Multiball is based on your current Raft number, and that later Multiballs are harder to start (because Locks become more difficult to light). Therefore, you should probably avoid Multiball for a while, and concentrate instead on Whirlpool Awards and collecting lit Hazards. Since Whirlpool Challenge is the first Whirlpool Award, you should start there.
There are two strategies for maximum points in Whirlpool Challenge, and they
are dependent on proper behavior of the Lost Mine kickout. You should be
able to either dead-catch the ball on the right flipper, or hold the right
flipper up and let the ball roll up into the Right Inlane (in which case you
should adjust the lit lane accordingly in order to collect one or two free
It may help to nudge the machine forward as the ball is being kicked out of the Lost Mine in order to make it land fairly. If the kickout is irregular or too powerful, advise your operator (good luck).
It is somewhat dangerous to shoot the Lost Mine for Gold Rush or the Hotfoot targets for Bigfoot Hotfoot, but with enough play time, you will eventually start these sequences more or less by accident. Hotfoot is especially nice during 5X Playfield, so keep an eye on how close you are to getting it.
The Extra Ball target is extremely difficult to hit, and dangerous besides. One degree of insurance when going for this target is to start any Multiball (regular, Whirlpool Challenge, or Gold Rush) and risk draining one ball by shooting for it. The hardest part is regaining control of the ball after shooting this target.
There are at least seven strategies for actually attempting to hit the Extra Ball target (as opposed to hoping the ball will wander up there):
If you miss the first or second shot at Insanity Falls, let that ball go. You have almost no chance of getting it up Insanity Falls, and it will be in the way of the second and/or third balls coming from No Way Out. Also, if you let the first ball go and shoot it immediately into No Way Out, the game may decide that one of its No Way Out kickouts failed, and you will get a fourth attempt at increasing the Jackpot Value. This also means that if No Way Out is a lit Hazard and you hit it from below when the game is kicking a ball out above, it may decide that it was merely a failed kickout, and you will not be awarded that Hazard.
Hitting Insanity Falls or Bigfoot Bluff is best done with a solid slap on the flipper. Without that extra bit of force, the sweet spot, especially for Insanity Falls, is extremely narrow. If you get warnings from shooting Insanity Falls (assuming you aren't actually moving the machine), your machine is set too sensitively. Complain.
Keep an eye on how many Disaster Drops you have collected. There is an Extra Ball between 3 and 15, and it's also useful for spotting the more difficult Hazards such as the Spine Chiller and Boomerang Bend, and for advancing one of the last (difficult) Rafts.
Note that Man Overboard applies to the Hazards which are already lit. Therefore, it's best to collect this when relatively easy Hazards are lit. You can also spot a Hazard and this will award the Man Overboard value.
Beware that a solid shot at No Way Out, particularly backhanded from the left flipper, may rattle around and slowly drift back out. Wait for the sound effects or graphics before you back off from the machine after locking a ball. If the ball does rattle around and drop back down, it should come to the tip of the left flipper. A careful shot will put it gently back into No Way Out as originally intended.
Beware that a very fast shot at Disaster Drop may jam against the Hazard sensor and come back around the loop, usually right towards the center drain. This baffles me, but it does happen occasionally. It usually helps to shake the machine a bit from side to side if you know the ball is coming back down Disaster Drop, so you can avoid the center drain. A small side to side or forward nudge also helps as the ball comes out of Disaster Drop after completing it successfully - this helps keep the ball off of the left slingshot, so you can maintain control and shoot Disaster Drop again if you wish.
You can also shoot Disaster Drop from either flipper. A careful shot from the right flipper has the added advantage that the ball may brush one or more of the Lite Bounceback targets.
There are certain situations where the game will kick out a locked ball from No Way Out even though there is a ball available for the plunger lane. Specifically, if you lock a ball and there is already one more locked from another player than you have locked, it will kick out a locked ball in order to bring your Locks in line with the other players' Locks. For Whirlpool Challenge, you will always receive the ball at the plunger lane if one is available. Otherwise, the Lost Mine kickout usually fires first, before the No Way Out kickout (rather unfair).
I've never purposely shot for the Boulder Bash. It tends to happen a few times over the course of the game. It can be nice during 5X Playfield.
Note that, depending on your difficulty settings and the skill of the average
player on your machine, the Bigfoot's Cave sensor, which is only reachable
during Bigfoot Hotfoot, may often remain untriggered for 90 balls, which
causes the machine to assume that the sensor may be faulty. This is the most
common cause of a
If the Bigfoot's Cave sensor has been judged out-of-order by the machine, the rules are adjusted, and you are awarded a Bigfoot Jackpot for shooting Bigfoot Bluff during Hotfoot, before the ball reaches the Bigfoot's Cave sensor. This means that if the sensor is in fact working, you will receive credit for two Bigfoot Jackpots the first time you hit it. The game will then re-adjust its rules to normal.
The most important shot in the game is No Way Out. You need to be able to hit this shot from either flipper at almost any time, and often you will benefit from hitting it without even looking at the ball (ie, during Multiball when you're concentrating on shooting Jackpots on the Upper Playfield). The next most important shot would be Insanity Falls. The Bigfoot Bluff shot is actually rather easy.
Note that the value of the Vacation Bonus is easily overshadowed by the
Double and Triple Jackpots in the ensuing Multiball, which will be at least
5X Playfield may actually be somewhat wasted on Multiball under the correct
scoring rules. It's especially nice to have 5X Playfield during Wet
Willie's. Otherwise, try to collect it when you have only one Hazard
remaining to advance to a high Raft number. This can be worth as much as
If you want to attempt to get a 5X Vacation Bonus, you must reach and
complete Wet Willie's, the entire Boulder Garden, and reach River Class
Six. Your best chance comes when you have Bigfoot Bluff lit for the 5X
Playfield Whirlpool Award, two balls locked, and the third Lock already lit
for the Vacation Bonus. At this point, you have two ways of getting the ball
to the Upper Playfield to start 5X Playfield. One is to shoot the Spine
Chiller - this is a bit risky, since it is a difficult shot and in your
attempt to regain control of a missed shot, you may accidentally collect the
Vacation Bonus by hitting No Way Out. The other alternative is to let the
current ball drain! On the next ball (assuming you have one ;), plunge the
ball to the Upper Playfield and collect 5X Playfield. Catch the kickout from
the Lost Mine... and shoot for a 5X Vacation Bonus. Note that this does NOT
There is an Insanity Record maintained, representing the person who hit Insanity Falls (lit or unlit) the most times over the course of a single game. It isn't worth anything remarkable except to have your initials there. The only way to know how many "Waterfalls" you've collected is to hit the unlit Insanity Falls and see it as part of the graphics. When I say "unlit", I mean as a Hazard, not the yellow light.
Most of these have been provided by Dan Farris, firstname.lastname@example.org, and some of them have been noted elsewhere in the rulesheet.
Bonus and Hold Bonus are thoroughly messed up.
Second Whirlpool challenge on the same ball starts with balls already whirling in the animation, and with whirlpool lights lit. Shoot whirlpool, and these are corrected, showing one in both places.
Start Multiball during Bounceback timeout. The bounceback light goes out and never relights. At this point, the three red standups will always award a hazard instead of relighting the bounceback.
5X combos don't display correct values, but seem to award 5X.
What is the algorithm for determining which Lost Mine items are "given" when starting a game? Seems that installing new ROMs randomly changes this. Perhaps memory is not initialized properly. Factory reset also seems to affect this.
Kickback memory adjustment is documented wrong. Kickback memory=YES, actually turns it on at the start of every ball. Kickback memory=NO, means remember the state from ball to ball. This adjustment would be better called "Kickback Relight".
When entering initials, after doing a backspace, the cursor moves
back to the previous letter, as indicated by blinking that letter.
Pressing the flipper buttons changes the letter to either the
Sound & Music test doesn't play raft 1 music, plays plunger music. Take Picture sound effect is also incorrect. (Plays bounceback sound)
Tilt during Bigfoot Hotfoot doesn't stop the bigfoot head from
continually rotating. It also leaves
Tilt during last ball stops the waterfall lights and they do not start up again for the attract mode.
Hitting Disaster Drop to start Wet Willie's also awards the first shot toward completing Wet Willie's. None of the other shots do that.
Letting the "Enter Initials" mode time out when achieving the high score table causes the high score table to reset to the default values! Doing this during a 4 player game can allow other players to also get credits awarded, if their scores were high enough to beat the default values.
After entering initials after achieving a high score, the display shows "Grand Champion", even though this was not the highest score ever achieved. It should show "Best Rafter" or "River Master" in order to be consistent with the terminology used in the game.
When setting replay or extra ball thresholds, the maximum value is
Dan also once described a situation in which he shot the Advance Raft Whirlpool Award to start Wet Willie's, but Bigfoot failed to divert the ball. He drained, and at the start of the next ball, the Rafts were all reset and he hadn't received credit for Wet Willie's. No Vacation Jackpot that time...
My own Insanity Record is 31. My own River Master score is
Thanks to everyone who has sent notes and information which has contributed to this Guide.
And don't forget to visit the Pinball Archive.
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