GrizZ's Ultimate Guide To Popeye - The good , the bad and the spinach

Sgt GrizZ

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Nobody asked for it but here it is - GrizZ's guide to one of the most infamous misunderstood games from the 90s. Popeye Saves The Earth !

This may take a while so I'll post it in a series of posts.

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For many years the whipping boy of the Bally DMD stable, notorious for the hatred directed at it - often by people who have never even played the game ! I think in recent years it has actually been re-evalued somewhat with people no longer afraid of upsetting the herd by saying they actually like it , but even so it still gets shunned by many - unfairly in my opinion.

I hope to run through some of the good and bad points about the game, dispel some myths about it , explain the ruleset , some gameplay tips and strategies so hopefully people who may have never played it or have never understood it can approach it with new eyes.

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Released in early 1994 it was one of the Bally 'Superpin' widebody series of games .....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperPin.... coming hot on the heels of the ridiculously successful and popular Star Trek The Next Generation. This probably didn't help poor old Popeyes fate - expectations were probably sky high for another killer game. I have also read stuff about ops being forced to buy Popeye from Williams in order to secure other games, I'm not sure the full story on that and not gonna go into it here.

The game was designed by Barry Oursler and Python Angelo. Now alarm bells should have been ringing with pinball wild card Python involved :D - you could always expect something a little leftfield when he was on the case.

The Theme
Much has been made about the bizarre theme of the game. It's Popeye and all the regular characters but for some reason they are on a boat with a ton of animals, Popeyes Ark , the biblical aspect of this just adding to the general looniness. And looking at the cab art it appears to be a flying in space also !

Popeye's arch enemy Bluto seems dead set on screwing up the environment by setting up a cartel of companies to generally trash the planet in different ways. He also of course steals away Popeye's sweetheart Olive Oyl. Oh and incarcerates a bunch of animals into the bargain. What a b*stard :D!

So Popeye is faced with the herculean task of defeating Blutos cartel of companies, rescuing his best buddies Mr Leopard, Mr Eagle etc from Blutos clutches, and winning back Olive Oyl from the brute :thumbs:

Oh did I mention that the evil witch Seahag has stolen items from the characters which Popeye must collect and return, and also while he's at it find the baby Swee Pea ...who nobody has been keeping an eye on and is lost in the ship somewhere. And that sometimes the animals can mutate into Super Animals complete with superhero cozzies. And ....spoiler alert.... Bluto swallows some mad potion and turns into a 100 feet giant that Popeye must battle.

It all makes perfect sense :rofl:

Right let's look at the machine up close.
 

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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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I'll mostly use pics of my own machine, but might put a few stock ones if needed.

Quick history - I first had the game in 2008. I did a straight swap for my Swords Of Fury machine. I had not even seen a real Popeye at this point let alone played one but was intrigued by it. In 2010 lack of space forced a sale. I couldn't sell it for £550 ( seriously !?!) and this was a really nice clean example, so in the end we used it as the Charity Raffle Prize at the first South Coast Slam.

I can't remember who won it. But anyway off it went out of my life.

But I never really stopped thinking about Popeye, or feeling that I had let it go too soon.

Fast forward to 2014 and Fintan Stack on here acquired a Popeye. I got in touch and expressed interest in it. He sent me a ton of photos, it was in really nice shape much like my first one ...in fact so much like my first one that I began to have suspicions that it was my original Popeye. Well some cross referencing of photos , a few unique scuffs on the cab, confirmed it ! My Popeye was coming home !! :clap::clap: I think it had changed hands a few times since 2010, someone had LED'd the insert lamps, but it is definitely my original machine. I think the red on the cab side art had faded a little more since I first had it. And it goes without saying I paid considerably more than £550 to get it back :rolleyes:

Anyway here it is.

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Regardless of opinion on the game there is no denying that a lot of thought went into the art design and the integration with the cab and backbox. I think they did a fantastic job.

The whole playfield represents Popeye's Ark, the unique apron design being the bow of the ship, the upper playfield represents an upper deck complete with swimming pool :D reached via an escalator mechanism, and then the art extends up across the speaker panel to the translight representing the 'Skydeck' with Popeye playing a Popeye machine. Brilliant.

The cab side art ties it altogether . I'll use ipdb pic as my machine is a pain to pull out of the lineup.

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The translite, by John Youssi, like all the artwork on the game is fantastically detailed with some really nice touches.

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As well as the usual #555 GI lighting there are 6 or 7 flashers on the panel, as well as 2 CPU controlled sockets - for Swee Peas Star and the Jackpot.

I love how Popeye's arms are flippers. The lightning bolts are actually cutouts to allow the light thru more, as are several other parts of the translite ...including the top left Star, the dogs tail and lightning, Popeyes pipe, the little bugs near Popeyes foot. It's great, one of my favourite 90s translites.

The front of the cab along with the usual Start button and Launch Ball button, no plunger on Popeye, has an Extra Ball Buy In button ...which was all the rage at that time.

Lets look at the playfield more closely

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As you can see the artwork both on the playfield and plastics is extremely busy and detailed, little animals all over the place playing deck games, generally mucking about ...or in the deers case ...perusing some deer porn !?! :rofl: I call him Dan the Deer ;)

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Here's the playfield with some of the main parts annotated for those unfamiliar with the game. Excuse my crappy mouse writing ;)

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Again I think the design is fantastic - the way Blutos head works with his body on the playfield is great,

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The initial games came with the 3D molded Bluto heads but after complaints that the head blocked the players view of the Lockjaw and Jab targets - I don't think it does that much - a flat Bluto head plastic was made available, and they started shipping that way - which looks sh*t in comparison btw. Do yourself a favour if you have a flat Bluto, remove it and order a 3D head pronto ! They are currently available.

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See what I mean ! Looks lame !

The only other variant I am aware of is that some Popeyes seem to have the small 'S' ramp that feeds from Upper Playfield to the Animal ramp made from metal rather than the usual blue plastic. No idea why this is ?? Most seem to be blue plastic. I have a suspicion the initial run had them, the original promo flyer shows it as metal, then they switched to plastic.

Only pic I can find is this ropey one from Youtube.

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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Ok before I start into the rules and how to play Popeye lets look at one of the major criticisms/complaints you often hear .....

The upper playfield obscures half the playfield !
You can't see what you are doing or what to shoot for !
You can't see where the ball is in the pops !

Yep that Upper Playfield - sometimes referred to as the Knee Deep playfield, or the 'toilet seat' by the haters :D - comes in for some heavy criticism.

Right, firstly it does not obscure 'half' the playfield, if we look at the overhead view of the playfield its prob more like one fifth that it sits over.

Lets look at the playfield again - I have highlighted the 5 shots that are in some way obscured by the Upper Playfield. This angle is probably close to my POV as I play the game.

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Shots 1 and 5 are Looping orbit shots . Either completing full orbits, or a controlled gate can divert ball thru the top lanes and into the pops depending on game situation.

Shot 2 is the Main Ramp. Feeds back to right flipper via wireform.

Shots 3 and 4 are to sinkholes that feed the Animal Ramp and start Item(Instant) Multiball if lit (3) , and start Fight Bluto Modes/feeds back to right flipper via wireforms(4) . It is these 2 shots I think that people feel are the most problematic.

Now yes, without lowering your POV you cannot really see the sinkholes at the back. Here they are ....

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You can see each shot is clearly indicated by a large arrow insert, and in front of the arrow a spinach can insert. Once you know those shots are there, then these become your point of reference for aiming. So yes the final target, the sinkhole, is hidden but you don't *need* to see it to aim for it.

In the same way with Loop shots on this and many other machines , you can see the entrance to the loop so you aim for that you don't need to see the end point.

So what else is 'hidden' under the playfield ?

Well there are the OYL rollover lanes - as you can see these are clearly visible through the Upper Playfield window. The OYL inserts are large , you can't miss them. So there is no problem with these being obscured.

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Then there are the 3 pop bumpers. Now these are pretty much hidden, you can see the top 2 a bit but when the ball is banging around in the pop area ..NO you cannot see it. This also means that you cannot see where the ball will exit the pops area - it can exit to the left or the right of Bluto.

Again this is often cited as bad. The truth is the pops are far enough away from the flippers that you are never in real danger from this, there is plenty of time to see where the ball is headed and act accordingly. This is not TZ or WH20 where the pops are dangerously close to outlanes.

This is all clearer if we raise the Upper Playfield and take a look under.

This is a nice design , removing Blutos head (2 screws) , allows access to 2 more screws which when removed allow the hinged playfield to be raised and lent back against the backbox.


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This picture shows the possible exit routes from the pops .....

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Its also worth looking at another common criticism.

That the large Animal Ramp obscures the left inlane/outlane area making it difficult to save a ball from draining.
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I do agree with this to an extent. It would be better if that end of the ramp could have been clear plastic or a wireform. Although moving your head around, which I believe we can all do ;), will allow a better view. You can also see the outlane post through the hole in the ramp.

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So it's not perfect but I would say you do have a fighting chance to see/save the ball if you make some effort :D

And yes you may well be thinking....what in the bl**dy name of pinball is the Extra Ball insert doing in the outlane !?! Patience my spinach guzzling proteges, that will all be discussed in the fullness of time.
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Just *what* the heck is going on ??

Unfortunately this is quite often the first reaction people have when playing Popeye for the first time, or even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc times :eek::D

Hands up, guilty as charged ....... it has to be said that Popeye is at times *not* great at communicating as clearly as it should to the player the goals and objectives . Certainly in comparison to other Williams games of the period.

Either with the DMD animations or the sound/light cues there is definitely a feeling that they rushed this aspect of the game, ... or weren't given the chance to fine tune it ?

There are moments in the game when you would fully expect some sort of 'reward' , be it a sound/light effect or DMD animation ...and it just doesn't really happen, or its a little rushed and unclear if anything has happened.

I'll go into more details when I run thru the full rules but a couple of examples.

When you Select an Animal via the Animal Ramp you then have a timed period to hit either loop shot to complete the rescue. There is DMD animation for this but there is no change of music or callout to fully alert the player, if another feature is started the DMD animation will change and although the Animal rescue is still running ....it's not that clear that it is.

The Fight Bluto modes often suffer when stacked in with other events, you may or may not still have the mode music running, if the DMD is showing different events such as the Swee Pea video mode for example.....it just can be a little muddled to the novice player.

Once you have a handle on the rules you kind of get keyed in to little sound clips and clues, for example hearing the Popeye fanfare on completing a Fight Bluto mode even though the DMD hasn't indicated it because something else is running.

The journey and objectives to the Wizard mode could really do with some clarity in game. This is best illustrated by comparison to the Vacation Jackpot in White Water . Popeye is similar to WH20 in that a set of objectives must be completed to qualify the Save Olive Wizard Mode.

If we look at how WH20 displays the information though, it's clear pretty clear what the objectives are ...they are written across the top, and how far you have got on each by what is filled in underneath.


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Now, if you look at how the journey to Wizard mode is displayed on Popeye ...we see that there are 4 objectives, it says 'Complete path to rescue Olive' ...... however they are only revealed when you complete one ! ....so in the following screenshot we see Bluto Fights have been completed ,so that appears on the progress map, yet there are 3 other objectives not even labelled !!?? :hmm: This isn't exactly the best way of keeping the player updated. Again once you know the ruleset not a massive problem, but it really should have been done better.

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Whilst I think the playfield artwork and design is just generally terrific, it could be argued that it's so busy in places some of the inserts kind of get lost or at best don't quite stand out enough.

I'm thinking of the 'Items' inserts in particular ....these are important as are needed to qualify the Wizard mode and yet are actually small on the playfield, and easily overlooked. Could also benefit from some text nearby ' Collect Items For Multiball ' or similar.

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In the centre of the playfield is the 'Geomap' with 5 inserts showing Animals rescued. The text states 'Complete Geomap To Begin Stampede Mode' .............. yet doesn't say how ??? Why not have ' Rescue All Animals To Begin Stampede Mode' ....or 'Collect Animals .....' . Again ....doesn't help the new Popeye player.

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Even the manual has confusing/ conflicting rules.

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It clearly states that Finding Swee Pea is a criteria for the Save Olive Wizard mode. It isn't !!! ( Mercifully ....as it's one of THE toughest pinball video modes put on this earth, I swear to god the 7th ring of Hell is completely full of broken souls attempting to find Swee Pea for all eternity. I exaggerate , but only slightly ;) We'll look more at it later )

Some apron rule cards also state this.

I know it's not unusual for rules to change just prior to production, so I guess they must had a change of heart.

Further evidence that maybe development of the game was cut short is the mention in the Williams promo video for the game of '5 Ball Mutant Spinach Multiball' ......... unfortunately this never made it into the released game :tut: I would love for this to maybe surface one day , I wonder if the code is out there somewhere.

There are also a number of small niggly software bugs that you would think should have been cleaned up ....some sounds/music tracks occasionally overrun , the Ball Saver function has little to no grace period and a times downright robs you :mad: , the Lockjaw multiball locking can be troublesome ...I think due to slightly poor design and also duff programming. I'll look at again at some of these.

OK .....enough with 'issues' and time to dive into the rules/gameplay and hopefully make it all a little clearer :thumbs:
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Rules and Gameplay

On to the fun part ....actually playing the game :clap:

This based on LX-5 Rom revision, which I believe was the latest. There is a rulesheet via ipdb.org , though be warned it is based on earlier PX-3 Roms and written by someone who clearly hated the game :rolleyes:

Popeye has a lot to offer the player - a widebody playfield with a wide open central space but a lot packed into the game ....

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4 flippers (2 lightning and 2 mini) , multiple ramps one of which is interactive, fully playable upper playfield , 'Elevator' to the upper playfield, rotating wheel skill shot, several sinkholes/scoops, 2 x 3 Target banks, several stand alone targets, physical ball locking, lane change controlled Orbit diverter ....

The shots are spread nicely around with plenty of shots from each flipper, so no one flipper is heavily favoured.

The Ruleset is pretty deep for the time featuring 3 Ball and 4 Ball Multiballs, a 6 Ball 'Save Olive' Wizard Mode Multiball, Several Bluto modes ,Ramp awards, Loop awards, Save Swee Pea interactive video mode, multiple goals on the Upper playfield, main ramp 'Stampede' Hurry Up mode, Spinach can multipliers, lane change Bonus multipliers, Skill shot via moving wheel, 2 Extra Ball locations etc :thumbs: Players can work on some nice strategies with this little lot which keeps gameplay interesting :clap:

So let's play ..........:cool:


Skill Shot

No plunger on Popeye, instead a 'Launch Ball' button will fire the ball into the revolving Skill Shot Wheel.

The ball enters the rotating Wheel, falls into a 'hole' which determines the Skill Shot award and then exits underneath passing thru a gate into the right inlane to feed the right flipper.

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I have heard complaints that the ball feed to the inlane is inconsistent, with it bouncing out sometimes into the outlane. I have to say this is a rare occurence on my game. Levelling issues could possibly explain it on some machines ??

The Wheel has 8 possible awards for the player.

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Clockwise from top in the pic ....

2 Million Points - yeah, whatever

Spot Item - awards the next Sea Hag Item needed

100 K Points - You don't want this, though it does get a funny Popeye callout 'Oh well better than a poke in the eye hmmmmm'

10 Million Points - nice but dull

Lite Lock - immediately Lights the Lockjaw shot for a Lock

Spinach Can - lights 1 of 5 Spinach cans on the playfield. A lit Spinach can will DOUBLE the award for that shot. I cannot emphasise how important SPINACH CANS are for successful Popeye play. I will bang on about them . So make a mental note ...follow Popeyes lead .....SPINACH IS GOOD :thumbs:

OYL - will spot an OYL letter. Top rollover lanes.

As you will probably have sussed .........the points awards are the booby prizes, you do not want to be aiming for these. The other awards can all be very useful - and depending on your current game situation you can choose the most helpful.

Do NOT ignore the Skill Wheel - it gives you useful stuff. Have a look at the start of each ball and see what you might need. Additionally after a ball is locked, you will get a new ball in the launch lane and an opportunity for another Skill Shot !

With practice, you can time the shot pretty well. On my game, I reckon I can hit what I need 7 times out of 10. The ball does need to fall directly into a hole, otherwise it will bobble around roulette wheel style and fall into a random hole.

The sharp eyed of you will have noticed that the ball can also feed into the Wheel from the top. This is the Wimpy feed from the Upper playfield, and *can* result in Double Wheel awards !! Explained further in the rules.


Note, if the Ball Saver is activated , the ball is autofired into the wheel with no further award.

Oh ...and never stick your fingers in the wheel :eek:

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Loop (orbit) shots

Full Looping orbit shots are possible from the left and right on Popeye ONLY when the Round House Loop insert is lit.

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When lit the ball makes a complete loop and feed to the flipper allowing for consecutive shots to be made - be warned however after 2 or 3 loops the speed is incredible. These are the fastest loops I have seen outside of Johnny Mnemonic. Very smooth, very fast. A Loop champion is also recorded by the game ...

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Each consecutive shot scores increasing Millions, starts at 2 Million, and there is a nice DMD animation of Bluto's head spinning as he gets smacked by Popeye. :cool:

A Spinach Can lit on a Loop shot will DOUBLE the points awarded ....told you Spinach was good :thumbs:

The Loops are lit at the Left and Right inlane - 'Lite Loop' The lane lights are player controlled, a lit insert will light the Loop shot.


If the Loop shot is not lit then a divertor will send the ball into the top rollover OYL lanes / pops. So with the inlanes you can strategically chose where to put the ball.

The Loops are also used as shots to Collect Animals and in some of the Fight Bluto modes.


O-Y-L Rollover lanes

At the top of the table are the O-Y-L rollovers. Viewed through the Upper Playfield, the lamps are player controlled. A ball dropping thru an unlit lane will light the letter.

If the Roundhouse Loop is unlit then the ball is always diverted into the lanes.

Spelling OYL advances the Bonus Multiplier up to a maximum of 10x

Spelling OYL also lights the Fight Bluto shot. This is the only way to relight it.

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TOP TIP - Stay frosty when the ball is in the pops as it often kicks back up into the lanes, allowing some sneaky letters to be added :cool:


Spinach Can Multipliers

There are 5 Spinach cans that can be lit on the playfield. A shot with a Spinach can lit will have it's reward DOUBLED ...be that points or another reward !

As I said this is SO IMPORTANT in the game. Strategic use of the Spinach is key to big points and advancement in Popeye :thumbs: In the original cartoon Popeye, Spinach gives him his strength, it's exactly the same in the game :thumbs:

Here are the 5 shots that can be Spinached .... they are numbered in the order that they are ALWAYS lit, 1 thru 5. When you light a Spinach can, the lowest numbered unlit can will be lit.

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So what can be the possible effects of the Spinach ....

1 and 4 - The Loop shots ........Points doubled, double animals rescued

2 - The Main ramp ...... This is the BIGGIE , Jackpot can be doubled !! Stampede Hurry Up can be doubled ! Items collected can be doubled ! The ramp award itself will be doubled ...this can be more Spinach, so 2 more Spinach cans are lit !

TOP TIP
- Always try to have the Spinach Can lit at this ramp. Don't start multiball without it :D

3 - Animal Ramp sinkhole / Item Multiball start .......will give you a free animal spotted on the ramp

5 - Fight Bluto mode start ...........the least lucrative of the Spinach shots. I think it doubles points only. I will check, possibly it doubles shots in the actual mode ???

Spinach Cans are all reset for each new ball.

So how do you light the Spinach cans ???

Either ......

As an award from the Skill Shot Wheel.

An award from the Main Ramp

An award from the Escalator Select-A-Ward feature

Or .......Spelling POP or EYE at the 2 standup target banks.

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TOP TIP - You'll often hit these targets by accident, but keep an eye on them ....if you have 2 letters lit its def worth making the shot to grab a Spinach can :thumbs:

Did I mention how important SPINACH is for Popeye ?!


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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Rescuing Animals / The Animal Ramp

Important - Completing all animals is needed for the Wizard Mode

You can't really miss the Animal Ramp on Popeye , but here's a picture in case you have trouble ....it's the big blue thing on the left with Animals on it ;)

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As part of Popeye's mission he must rescue some of his animal buddies that the evil Bluto has incarcerated ! There are 5 animals to be rescued .... as shown on the ramp, from top Mr Rhino, Mr Panda, Mr Leopard, Mr Eagle and finally Mr Dolphin.

The Animal Ramp can be accessed in 2 ways - either fed from the upper playfield, or the easier option is the Left Sinkhole, the shot to the right of the main ramp, where a VUK will launch the ball onto the ramp above.

This shot is confusingly identified by an Arrow insert 'Instant Multiball' rather than mentioning the Animals ??? The Instant Multiball is lit when all the Seahag items are collected, so to add to the confusion it should probably be labelled 'Item Multiball' :rolleyes: .......everything is never quite as it seems on Popeye :rofl:

Ok so once you are on the ramp how do you go about rescuing an animal ?

You will hear the 'Boxing ring' bell sound cue ....ding ding .... and this is displayed on the DMD.


The ball enters the ramp and rolls down the left side , if you do nothing it will exit at the bottom, you don't want to do this ;)

The ramp is a pretty unique design, with a player activated diverter which simultaneously activates 5 small kicker arms.

What you need to do is press the Left flipper at just the right time to activate the kickers which will direct the ball to the animal of your choosing. Each animal has a lamp by it, rescued animals have lit lamps, so you want to choose an animal with an UNLIT lamp. The ball then continues down the right side of the ramp and exits at the bottom to feed the left flipper. You only get one activation of the kicker mech - so don't mess it up. The animals are counting on you.

With the plastic removed its easier to see how it all works.


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With an Animal chosen, the DMD will show Bluto locking the animal in a cage .....

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You then have a limited time to make either Loop Shot, which will be flashing furiously, to rescue the animal.


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On making the shot Popeye can open the prison and rescue the animal ....with a cry of 'You're free Mr Rhino (or Panda etc) ' and a fantastic victory honk/growl from the animal , 5 million points are yours and an Animal saved :thumbs:

The Animals lamp will illuminate on the ramp to indicate rescue. As will their corresponding insert on the Geomap in the centre of the table.

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Unfortunately Eugene The Jeep ( Popeyes weird dog/bear with magical powers) appears to be p*ssing on Mr Eagle ......:eek::rofl: ....once seen you can never look at this and think otherwise, a little like Gandalfs 'beard c*ck' on LOTR :rofl:

A couple of things to note.

It is possible to stack animals and then rescue 2 or more with 1 loop shot.

A Spinach Can lit on the left sinkhole or either Loop Shot will spot or award another animal to be rescued !

RESCUING ALL 5 ANIMALS IS REQUIRED TO QUALIFY THE RESCUE OLIVE WIZARD MODE

On doing so the 'Animals' will be added to the Rescue Olive progress screen

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Completing all Animals also initiates Stampede Mode !

This is a Hurry Up shot lit at the main ramp. The countdown begins at 45 Million. The DMD shows all the animals ganging up and chasing Bluto ! :thumbs: Remember a lit Spinach Can on this will DOUBLE the award - some nice points.

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Super Animals

It is also possible for Popeye to unleash the hidden Super Powers of the Animals ...did you even need to ask ? :D

On the Upper Playfield there are 2 Super Animal targets, hitting both these will light the Super Animal Jackpot - now when entering the Animal ramp whichever Animal is selected Powers Up , and there is a cool animation for each animal mutating into it's Super Hero alter ego , and awards 10 Million instead of the usual 5 mill.

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Mr.Panda mutates into Super Panda !

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Sea Hag Items and Item Multiball

Important - All 4 Items must be collected and Item Multiball started to qualify Wizard Mode

The evil witch Sea Hag has stolen some items belonging to Popeye and his gang. These items need to be collected and returned to their owners.

The 4 items are marked with inserts on the playfield. When you collect an item one of them will light. The 4 items and their owners are as follows ...

Flower - Olive Oyl
Ketchup - Wimpy
Babys bottle - Swee Pea
Can Opener - Popeye

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So how do you collect items ?? Simple ... there are 2 yellow standup targets marked 'Sea' and 'Hag' , hitting both targets to spell Sea Hag will light Collect Item on the main ramp. Making the ramp Collects the Item.

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DMD animations keep you informed

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An Item can also be spotted as a Skill Wheel Award, and as an Escalator Award.

TIP The Sea Hag targets are often hit unintentionally so I never find Collecting Items too much of a problem.
Also worth remembering that if the Spinach Can is lit on the main ramp it doubles the award so 2 items will be awarded :thumbs: If just 1 Item is needed and a Wheel Skill Shot opportunity arises its often worth taking it.

Once ALL 4 items are collected then Item Multiball is ready - for some reason they refer to it as Instant Multiball, cheers designers for yet more clarity :rolleyes:

The Instant/Items Multiball is started at the left sinkhole.

Starting the Items Multiball is one of the criteria for the Wizard Mode so the path to rescuing Olive is displayed showing you have satisfied that.

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The multiball is a challenging 4 Ball affair in which you must return the Items to their owners. Both main and mini playfield are used. Thankfully completion is NOT REQUIRED for the Wizard Mode, but it is very satisfying to achieve.

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Each character has an associated target which must be hit to return their Item to them. These are all displayed as the Item Multiball begins - as you hit each one an animation displays and they will disappear from the list.

So hitting a Popeye target will return the can opener ....
IMG_6880.JPG

Olives Flower = either Lockjaw Jab standup
Popeyes Wrench = Any 'Pop' or 'Eye' standup
Swee Peas Bottle = making any 'gate' on the Swee Pea ramp on the upper playfield
Wimpys Ketchup = Wimpys '2x' shot ...the top right exit from the mini playfield.

Not surprisingly the 2 upper playfield items are the trickiest to return as you need to make the Escalator shot to get up there, then make the shot whilst also juggling balls on the lower playfield :D Told you it was challenging :clap:

Completion by returning ALL 4 items rewards you with 50 Million points :thumbs:


Bluto Multiball

IMPORTANT - Bluto Multiball must be started to qualify the Rescue Olive Wizard Mode. When done so you will see it added to the 'Path'

IMG_6891.JPG

The 3 Ball Bluto multiball is started by locking 3 Balls into Blutos head at the Lockjaw scoop.
Lock is lit by hitting both Jab targets , the Lockjaw insert will then light. When the Multiball is ready to start the flasher in Bluto's nose will go crazy alerting you to the fact :D

Locks can also be lit via the Skill Shot Wheel or as an Escalator Award.

lockjaw.JPG

When Multiball starts there is a great animation of Popeye knocking on the door, making a comedy quip then punching Bluto hard in the face :clap:


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During Multiball the Jackpot is collected at the main ramp

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The initial Jackpot value is 30 Million. If the Jackpot is collected it can be relit by making a Lockjaw shot again. The next Jackpot is 60 Million, then 90 Million etc.

IMG_6894.JPG

A lit Spinach can will DOUBLE the Jackpot value ! :D I think the Jackpots are capped at 180 million. Still they are one of the best ways in the game to rack up big points.

If you have a nightmare and fail to nail any Jackpots and are down to 1 ball again then a timed Multiball Restart is relit at the Lockjaw shot.

TIP - Worth noting that Fight Modes can be stacked into the Multiball. This can be very very useful for completing the Fights. Will discuss further under the Fight Modes section.
 

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The Escalator and Escalator Award

The only way for Popeye to reach the upper playfield is via the Escalator. This requires an accurate shot from the left flipper, the ball drops into the escalator and then a coil will fire it up onto the upper playfield where it will always feed the upper right flipper. Its a pretty cool variation on a ramp imo :cool:

escalator 2.JPG

IMG_6830.JPG

If the 'Select- A- Ward' insert is LIT then the ball is held at the bottom of the Escalator and there is the opportunity to select an award via the flippers. This is timed ...about 5 or 6 seconds .... the awards are in a random order, you can quickly flip through them using the flippers until you find one you like.

This is one directional though so if you skip over one you will have to keep cycling through in the hope it will appear again ! When the timer expires you get whatever award is on screen. Eugene The Jeep is on screen 'Jeeping' away as you select :D

escaltor 3.JPG

escalator4.JPG

So in the example above ...Jets At Max would be the award.

The possible awards are ...

Spot a POP target
Spot an EYE target
Spot an OYL rollover
Spinach Can
Lite Lock
Spot an animal
Extra Ball
Special
Spot Item
Lite Escalator
Points ( various ranging from 20 (!) to a few million)

Obviously the Extra Ball is THE award you want. This is usually buried in the items so you'll have to select thru quickly to find it but don't overshoot it ...very easy to do.

This will light the Extra Ball insert on the upper playfield, at the top left exit from the upper pf. This is the only way of lighting that particular Extra Ball shot.

The Escalator Award can be relit by making the main ramp.


The Upper Playfield and Finding Swee Pea

Ok ...the Upper Playfield ...public enemy #1 for the Popeye detractors ! The point in the 20th Century when pinball design lost the plot according to some ! :rofl:

Let's have a good look and see what's on offer.

IMG_6842.JPG

The Upper Playfield ,or Knee Deep Playfield as sometimes known ,has 2 mini flippers making it a fully playable field with multiple shots to go for.

1.The Animal Ramp , and Super Animal targets
2.The 2x Wheel Shot (and possible Extra Ball if lit)
3.The Swee Pea ramp and interactive video mode

Top Left you can exit to the Animal Ramp. Hitting the 2 standup targets on the left will however light the Super Animal Jackpot insert - turning whatever animal is selected into its super hero alter ego and awarding you 10 Million points. Not sure why they called it a Jackpot tbh

IMG_6844.JPG

The top right exit will lead to the Skill Wheel and award the 2x Wheel award - which does what it says ...awards 2x whatever award the ball falls into on the Skill Wheel ...so 2 Locks, or 2 Spinach etc. This is definitely worth going for .

If the Extra Ball is lit from the Escalator Award then it is awarded form that shot also.

IMG_6846.JPG

And finally the main focus of the Upper Playfield is Finding Swee Pea !!

As soon as you enter the Upper PF the Find Swee Pea interactive video mode will be initiated , along with some cool music.

The Find Swee Pea ramp consists of 3 possible gates / entrances. The ball enters , drops off the small ramp and exits to the left feeding the upper left flipper.

IMG_6843.JPG

Now the story is Swee Pea is lost in the corridors of the ship, and you must find him. So how do you do that exactly ?

Well ...the designers decided that the only way was by creating one of the most unique and yet challenging , hard as nails interactive video modes seen in pinball. Its somewhere between genius and insanity :rofl:

On the screen is displayed a 3D view of corridors and doors, along with a map of the corridors. An 'X' on the map indicates the position of Swee Pea (always in the same location) , an arrow shows Popeye's position in
the maze. Popeye always starts at the bottom of the maze.

IMG_6865.JPG




By shooting the ramp gates you can move Popeye thru the maze to find Swee Pea. Each gate controls the direction Popeye will move , Left, Forward or Right corresponding to the gates. So to move forward you need to enter the centre gate, turn left the left one.

As you move thru the maze , come to corners etc the movement options available are indicated by the doors on screen and by the lamps underneath the ramp. If a gate lamp is on then movement in that direction is possible.

IMG_6867.JPG

So ...simple, you have a map, Popeye starts at the bottom of the maze, heading forward 3 or 4 shots will find Swee Pea. How hard can it be !?!

Answer. B*stard hard :D:D:D

The gates are *tight*, shots need to be spot on to enter. Aiming for the correct one takes skill and some luck, once you head off into the maze in the wrong direction it can take many shots to get back on track :DThe ramp is also designed in such a way that sometimes the ball will smack the glass and come back down, or occasionally enters a gate yet spins/rolls and actually triggers a switch for another gate :mad:

All the time you are having to juggle it on the flippers avoiding the large drain back to the main playfield, and also trying not to exit to the Animal Ramp or Skill Wheel with a badly aimed wild shot :clap:

And yet .............it's the sheer challenge of it that keeps you coming back. When you finally Find Swee Pea I swear to god the whole neighborhood will know :rofl::rofl:

I have done it quite a few times now but it's always a punch the air moment !

Oh and the reward ...... 50 Million Points :D

Thankfully the designers decided NOT to have Finding Swee Pea one of the qualifiers for the Wizard Mode. It does state that in the manual but they clearly realised the madness of it.

So again YOU DO NOT NEED TO FIND SWEE PEA to qualify Wizard Mode.

IMG_6868.JPG


If you do exit the upper playfield, your position in the maze is saved and you can ride the Escalator again at any time to continue the hunt for Swee Pea.

It's a unique upper playfield. It's not 100% a success but I admire what they attempted to do ...and to a point they succeeded. With a bit of tweaking the Swee Pea ramp could probably work better but hey !

TOP TIP - If aiming for the Wizard Mode then ignoring Swee Pea is an option and concentrating on the 2x Skill Wheel shot is probably the best bet.

I always hunt for Swee Pea ...cos I'm a glutton for punishment :rolleyes: and I will also never leave one of my own behind enemy lines :cool:
 
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Fight Bluto Cartel modes

Important - All the Cartels must be defeated to 'Complete Companies' as part of the path to Wizard Mode

In the centre of the table are a group of 4 inserts representing Blutos Cartel of companies. Each of which is dead set on environmental destruction. You can tell that from the neat artwork :DPopeye must 'Fight' each of Bluto's cartels and defeat them all for progress towards the Wizard Mode.

cartel 2.JPG

The 4 cartels are ....

Spill Co Oil
Blutonium Waste
Never Green Logging
Earth Pavers

An uncollected insert will always be lit, this can be changed by the pop bumpers. When you defeat a cartel it's insert will stay lit permanently.

To start a Fight Bluto Cartel mode you need to shoot the right sinkhole when the 'Fight Cartel' arrow insert is lit. It's always lit at the start of the game and can be re lit by completing the O-Y-L rollovers.

It's clearer to see with the Upper Playfield raised.

cartel 3.JPG

The 4 modes follow a similar pattern. Each is an interactive video mode - on screen Popeye is shown battling Bluto in some scenario, various targets and shots will be lit - changes for each mode - some combination of the standups, loop shots and pop bumpers.

You need to keep hitting lit targets/shots until you defeat Bluto. The longer you go without making shots the more Bluto will gain the upper hand and will eventually defeat you. There is no time limit on the mode, so it becomes a struggle Bluto v Popeye ...with only one winner :D

I like how this is done, you can clearly see your status in the fight on the DMD.

So lets look at each mode.

Spill Co Oil

Popeye and Bluto are head to head in some sort of Oil refinery (?) where each has control of the oil flow via a crank.The faster you hit the targets, the faster Bluto will be submerged in oil and defeated. If Popeye becomes submerged in oil he loses !

IMG_6851.JPG

Bluto about to be defeated ....

IMG_6873.JPG


Blutonium Waste

In this fight Bluto is dumping drums of toxic waste in the sea. Successfully hitting targets will enable Popeye to throw a drum back on land. If Bluto fills the sea with 6 drums he wins.


IMG_6852.JPG

No dumping Bluto !

IMG_6855.JPG

Never Green Logging

Popeye ...like some maritime hippy.... must plant a bunch of trees. Bluto of course is out to thwart him by setting fire to them ! Hit targets to plant trees faster than Bluto can burn them down. No trees left ...you lose !

IMG_6869.JPG

IMG_6871.JPG

IMG_6870.JPG

Earth Pavers

Bluto is building a giant wall. Popeye must hit make shots to smash the bricks. Destroy the wall, destroy Bluto ! If Bluto builds the wall to the top of the screen you lose.

IMG_6874.JPG

IMG_6875.JPG


When all 4 Cartels have been defeated you are awarded 25 Million points and importantly complete the 'Fights' qualification for Wizard Mode.

IMG_6877.JPG

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I'd say defeating the Cartels is one of the harder aspects of the game to complete. If I am aiming for Wizard Mode then I'll concentrate on these first.

You can attempt each fight multiple times, but of course you need to relight the 'Fight Cartel'. When you do so the 'Ding ding' boxing noise will also alert you.

A few tips ......

2 of the modes ..... Spill Co Oil and Earth Pavers ....are considerably easier to win due to the fact that the Pops Bumpers count as shots - sometimes flinging it straight into the pops will do the job :clap:

The other 2 .... Never Green Logging and Blutonium Waste ....always seem much tougher , the Pops are not active for them.

You can stack a Fight Cartel mode into Multiball. This is a VERY good idea, I'll always try to start a Fight before a MB .:thumbs:

EDIT - A Fight Cartel mode can actually be started DURING multiball ...so look out for that.

There is a Spinach Can for the Fight Cartel sinkhole shot. TBH I'm not entirely sure how that affects things, if at all, It's possible it may double points, or double shots ? ...I cant check right now as Popeye is already packed up for NLP. I will confirm this though.
 

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RESCUE OLIVE WIZARD MODE - MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT obviously :rolleyes:

If there is one constant in Popeyes life it is Olive Oyl ! He may have been busy rescuing Animals and saving the Earth but the single most important thing is to rescue his gal from the clutches of the brute Bluto !!

To Rescue Olive and claim the Super Jackpot prize the four main objectives MUST be completed (in any order)

Animals - All rescued !
Items - All collected !
Fights - All won !
Lockjaw Multiball - Started !

When the last objective is met the Path To Rescue Olive is complete ! :clap:

IMG_6898.JPG

A shot to any popper - so Lockjaw, or the Left or Right sinkholes - will start the Wizard Mode ! ( Designated Olive Multiball )

IMG_6899.JPG


Doing so starts a really great animated sequence to introduce the Wizard Mode .

SeaHag has developed an Insta-Grow Potion which will increase anyones size, Bluto is shown guzzling the potion and then becoming a giant towering over the place :D It's really cool :D

IMG_6902.JPG

IMG_6904.JPG

And so it begins. The Wizard Mode is a frenzied 6 Ball affair. Your aim is to collect ALL 5 Spinach cans to increase your strength enough to defeat the giant Bluto !

Once all 5 are collected the Save Olive insert will flash wildly at the Lockjaw scoop. A shot to the scoop will save Olive and collect the Super Jackpot ...usually worth 200+ Million :clap::clap::clap:

IMG_6905.JPG


wizard mode.JPG

Saving Olive also has another great animation sequence of the spinach powered Popeye squaring up to the giant Bluto before landing the killer blow !

IMG_6906.JPG

IMG_6908.JPG

IMG_6907.JPG

After Completing the Wizard Mode the game continues and you can do it all again ! :rofl:

It's a very fun Wizard Mode. The animations and sounds have been really well thought out for it and it feels like a real climax to Popeyes adventure and the game. As a good Wizard Mode should :thumbs:

It's tough to get to but not impossible, and once there you have a fightin chance of actually Saving Olive. I get there every few months I guess.


Extra Ball

I almost forgot , but it's kind of fitting with a game so 'odd' as Popeye to leave one of it's quirkiest features until last.

As mentioned earlier there is an Extra Ball available on the Upper Playfield, lit from the Escalator Award.

Another Extra Ball opportunity exists on the main playfield however. Shots to the Main Ramp will give an award every 4 or so shots, usually Spinach ...but the 8th Shot will light the Extra Ball on the main playfield.

And where is it you may ask ???? :hmm:

<drum roll> ....................
.........................................
.........................................

extra.JPG

Why in the Left Outlane of course !! :eek::D

That's right people you need to lose a ball to get the Extra Ball. Brilliant :rofl:

So it's really a Ball Saver then ? Well yes, but of course the seasoned Popeye player knows to get that EB lit before a Multiball, then there is a good chance it may be collected in the mayhem :thumbs:
 
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So that's it !!!!!!! Finished !! The Ultimate Guide reaches the end !! :cool:

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

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:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

Olive_kisses_Popeye.jpg

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:




I literally have nothing more to say on Popeye, that's not entirely true ;) ..... I could go on forever probably.

I hope this has been useful for people, and maybe made folk think twice before writing off any game - all pinball is fun remember ! Popeye may not be the best game in the world, but it is what it is and I for one have had a lot of fun with it :D

What-is-Spinach.gif

My Popeye Saves The Earth will be at NLP this weekend, with ColorDMD fitted :thumbs:I'll be floating about all weekend, so if you want to talk spinach ......:rofl:

I'll finish off with some links to videos that may be of interest.

TOOT TOOT !!


This Promo video is interesting as it mentions 5 Ball Mutant Spinach Multiball ...unfortunately this never made the released code :(





 
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J.C.Rox

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Popeye dock at my shack next week Sarge, great timing!! Cheers mate! :clap:....now crack on, those reserved sections won't fill themselves you know!! :rofl:
 
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BigIan

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My mate Keith (not on forum) just got a Popeye the other week. Great machine, cant wait for all you info Grizz

There are still a few faults with it (weak flipper, dodgy optos on trough) but I've given him the bits so hopefully be up and running fully soon.

also got this when i visited last week
pop.jpeg

Dunno if that's a good score or not but it was enough to beat Keiths scores :thumbs:
 
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Moonraker

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I can't remember who won it. But anyway off it went out of my life.
For completeness of the story, Doug Smith won it and I took it back from the slam for him. It resided (folded) at Special When Lit for a couple of weeks until he could find suitable transport to fetch it. He immediately pressed it in to service for the South West League meet at the end of March that Doug hosted. It then spent the next year or so at Doug's house in Bristol until he sold it on.
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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For completeness of the story, Doug Smith won it and I took it back from the slam for him. It resided (folded) at Special When Lit for a couple of weeks until he could find suitable transport to fetch it. He immediately pressed it in to service for the South West League meet at the end of March that Doug hosted. It then spent the next year or so at Doug's house in Bristol until he sold it on.
Thanks Peter.

More added to guide just now ^^^^^^^
 

cooldan

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excellent write up Ive, i'm learning loads already and the details make it. that flat Bluto plastic is ****ing hideous.
i think all of us will be looking forward to playing one after this, and i reckon you just single-handedly put the price of Popeyes up another hundred quid.

ug ug ug, toot toot!
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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My mate Keith (not on forum) just got a Popeye the other week. Great machine, cant wait for all you info Grizz

There are still a few faults with it (weak flipper, dodgy optos on trough) but I've given him the bits so hopefully be up and running fully soon.

also got this when i visited last week
View attachment 33615

Dunno if that's a good score or not but it was enough to beat Keiths scores :thumbs:
That is a decent score yeah :thumbs:

I see his machine has the metal 'S' ramp , top left.
 
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BigIan

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It does indeed have the metal S ramp/ Didnt know that wasnt the norm until i read it above.
some great info there grizz, will look forward to returning to Keiths for another few games soon

I really don't understand the hatred popeye seem to get. But then i also like Theatre of Magic so maybe i'm the weirdo

Also i see your high score is roughly double my one so a challenge for the future :thumbs:
 
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Dunc

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This is a great detailed thread on Popeye! Must have taken you ages to get as far as you have with the write up! Keep going :D

Dunc
 

Cmor111

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This is a good read, thanks.

The only downside I can see to all this is that Popeye is going to be going up in value after everyone has read this, but if your about to sell Popeye on then I guess it's a good thing.
 

Jay Walker

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Sarge,

Is that an original instruction card in your pictures? All three of the ones at my works had something in the list of objectives (Save Swee Pea?) blotted out with a black marker.
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Sarge,

Is that an original instruction card in your pictures? All three of the ones at my works had something in the list of objectives (Save Swee Pea?) blotted out with a black marker.
One of Popeye's unique selling points is confusion over the rules !! :rofl: Even extending to the instruction cards.

Indeed , you are right - Saving Swee Pea is NOT required for advancement to the Wizard mode, despite what the instructions say :D I'll be covering this of course when I breakdown the ruleset.

Stay tuned .........
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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It does indeed have the metal S ramp/ Didnt know that wasnt the norm until i read it above.
some great info there grizz, will look forward to returning to Keiths for another few games soon

I really don't understand the hatred popeye seem to get. But then i also like Theatre of Magic so maybe i'm the weirdo

Also i see your high score is roughly double my one so a challenge for the future :thumbs:
Thinking more about the metal ramp. The game flyers, both US and German, show the game with the metal S ramp. I wonder if the first lot of games off the line had metal, then they switched to plastic. Or just a random mix. Will prob never know. Just out of interest can you see if you can find the serial number and date of manufacture on yr friends machine. Cheers.

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