4 Million BC (Bally, 1971)

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Quickie Version

 Zip the flippers closed, shoot the volcano and tar pit to lock balls, advance the tar pit via the center bumper until achieving multiball.  Repeat. Lock balls for more Skill Shots whenever possible.
 Go-To Flipper: Balanced.

Full Detail

This game and the more often seen Fireball each employ a “top of the cliff” Skill Shot. The goal is to plunge the ball just hard enough to go up to the top of the ramp, then fall back down the ramp. On this game, you get 100 points for each of the first three switch levels on the ramp that you trigger on the way up or down. If the ball touches the upper fourth switch, this changes the value of the three lower switches to 1000 points each - - but you can only score these if the ball falls back down the ramp to the left. If the ball goes over the cliff to the upper right, you don’t get those points, and the ball goes into the pop bumpers, netting you 310 total [300 on the way up, 10 as you exit into the bumpers]. If the ball goes up to the topmost of the three switches but doesn’t reach the fourth switch, you’ll score 600 - - 300 on the way up, 300 on the way down. Shorter plunges will score less.

After making the Skill Shot, your first priority is to close or “zip” the flippers. You do this by shooting either the left one of the two red stand-up targets or the right one of the two yellow mushroom bumpers.

Shooting the Volcano saucer on the left will lock a ball. You receive a random value award of 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 or 5000 when you release the ball from the saucer. The ball is released by shooting the right mushroom bumper.

The Tar Pit gate opens when you plunge the ball. When you shoot it the first time, a ball will lock above the catch in the upper level. Do this - - more skill plunges for points! The tar pit gate will then close, and the kickback should come on. The center open-flippers bumper advances the ball down the tar pit; three advances release it from the tar pit for multiball. You can therefore get either a 2-ball or 3-ball multiball.

The general strategy is to make the Skill Shot, close the flippers, use microflips to get the ball to a cradle, lock a ball in either the volcano or the tar pit. Repeat Skill Shot and closing flippers, lock the other ball. Repeat Skill Shot, close flippers, hit center bumper to advance ball in tar pit. Re-close the flippers, repeat twice to release the ball in the tar pit for a 2-ball multiball. There’s a good chance you’ll hit the bumper to release the ball in the volcano during your two-ball multiball and end up with three balls. Relock a ball in the tar pit or volcano if you can.

Just keep repeating Skill Shot, close flippers, lock balls, release balls as many times as possible. In a well-played game, most of your points will come from Skill Shots and locking balls. It’s a good game for learning Skill Shot precision and ball control.

This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews