The two James Bond machines featured in our earlier report from Christie’s are currently part of the James Bond 60th anniversary celebrations taking place at the British Film Institute in London where they are available for the public to play.
As a result, we can bring you some addition pictures of the Premium model and some exclusive gameplay video.
Since our initial report, the game’s software has been updated to give new sounds, display animations, rules, and lighting effects.
Probably the major mechanism on the playfield is the Bird One rocket at the top left.
When lit for lock, a ball shot up the right side of Bird One is diverted into an upkicker in the shape of a launch tower. This kicks the ball up to the start of a spiral wireform which ends with a physical three-ball on the playfield level behind the rocket.
When the third ball is locked, all three are released into the left orbit lane as multiball begins.
One of the other mechanism unique to the Premium and Limited Edition models is the Jetpack, which features a model of James Bond mounted on a moving arm and wearing the aforementioned jetpack. This contains a magnet which can pick up a ball when it is held on the right wireform by an up-post.
With the current implementation, the arm swings over to the tank target and hovers there, holding on to the ball. To release it, a new ball is auto-launched and you need to shoot the lit shot, which is usually the centre lock lane next to the tank.
Make the lit shot and you have a two-ball Jetpack Multiball.
Another Premium/LE feature is rather less interactive than either Bird One or the jetpack, and that’s the scuba fight scene under a window on the left side of the playfield.
Ordinarily, this appears as a dark, slightly mirrored window, but when the ball enters the side scoop (and at other times) the model below the window illuminates to show James Bond struggling with a baddie.
This is a static model on a spring mount which moves with the vibration of the game, much like the Creature model on Monster Bash.
We mentioned in our earlier article how the left-most of the three top M-I-6 rollover lanes is hidden from the player’s view by the tank model, although the insert is clearly visible.
There is a controlled gate to the left of the top lanes. This allows the ball to either complete the orbit lane or be stopped to fall into the lanes. At the start of the game, holding in the left flipper button opens the gate to allow the ball to continue past and arrive at the upper flipper. We would assume this would lead to a super skill shot on the side ramp, but in this version the super skill shot appear to be awarded at the side scoop instead.
On the back panel above the controlled gate are seven illuminated inserts spelling out the criminal organisation Spectre.
These are lit by hitting the corresponding standup targets arranged around the base of the Bird One rocket.
The spinner targets are worthy of a mention, despite not being entirely new devices.
Rather than being attached to an arm which triggers a microswitch to record spins, these spinners use an optical sensor to detect movement. Originally we thought that might mean an interrupter disc on the end of the spinner arm which broke or made an IR beam, but it appear to use the edge of the spinner or the arm to reflect a transmitter’s IR light back into a receiver.
It certainly does produce a very free-spinning spinner, although a similar effect was produced on Stern Electronics games back in the ’80s, and those did use a physical switch.
Here are a few more playfield shots before we get to our gameplay video.
The Villain and Henchmen ramps lead to a common wireform. It is possible for a weaker shot up the Henchmen ramp can roll back down the Villain ramp.
The three Osato drop targets are quite widely spaced on this prototype machine. There is the potential for the ball to get trapped behind them if the illuminated acrylic ring around the base of Bird One doesn’t lie entirely flush to the playfield. If it is screwed down fully, though, it should be fine.
There is a one-way gate in the Bird One lane to the left of the drop targets which allows the ball to roll to the left, into the left orbit lane, and onto the upper flipper. This makes it a good way to set up the ball for an easier side orbit or side ramp shot.
The Q Branch upkicker is quite well hidden beneath the Aston Martin DB5 model and the right wireform, but with a little practice it can be shot fairly easily.
That concludes this pictorial look at the playfield.
Finally, we have a gameplay video featuring the key multiballs and some of the other in-game features.
We released an earlier version, but had to remove it since it contained display assets which hadn’t been approved at the time. In this version we have concentrated more on the actual gameplay, although there are callouts, music tracks, display animations and much more included. Gameplay has been edited to remove some of the more repetitive action and focus on the shots, modes, combos and plenty of multiballs.
Thank you to Stern Pinball for their permission to show the video. We hope you enjoy it.