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Pinball / F-14 Tomcat

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"Now you die, comrade!"
General Yagov

F-14 Tomcat is a 1987 pinball game designed by Steve Ritchie, programmed by Eugene Jarvis, and released by Williams Electronics.

As a pilot of the Navy's F-14 Tomcat, nicknamed "Hitman", your goal is to engage and destroy the evil Russian General Yagov and his fleet. Shoot down all seven of his planes, then defeat the maniacal Yagov himself. But stay on your guard — you'll need your best reflexes to fight off the Yagov Kicker, which suddenly launches pinballs straight down your flippers. Lock three balls to start a four-ball multiball blitz, then make three safe landings on the Launch Ramp to collect the jackpot. For even higher scores, get a Hot Streak going to build the bonus multiplier, then spell TOMCAT to collect the Hot Streak Bonus.

F-14 Tomcat is noted for being the first pinball game to include a ball save feature, referred to in this game as "Flight Insurance".

A digital version of F-14 Tomcat was available on The Pinball Arcade before the license to all Williams/Bally tables expired on July 1, 2018.

F-14 Tomcat demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: The "Flight Insurance" ball-saver, the first of its kind in pinball, activates briefly whenever the kickback on the left is shot (and also for a period of time at the beginning of the final ball if you have done poorly). This was put in just in case the ball jumps the flippers when kicked by that Yagov Kicker, which is known to happen.
  • Beard of Evil: General Yagov, the Big Bad, is depicted with a beard on the upper playfield.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Even after killing Yagov, he'll still taunt you if you lose the ball under certain circumstances. Perhaps it's his spirit messing with "Hitman" out of spite?
  • Glorious Mother Russia: General Yagov and his men are stereotypical Soviet Russia antagonists pitted against the Player Character, who's a member of the United States Navy. The playfield art depicts one member of the enemy squadron laughing maniacally near a hammer and sickle, while losing the ball down the outlanes plays a Russian-sounding tune as a form of mockery.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: On the playfield, "Hitman" is dressed entirely in white, while Yagov wears a dark-green flight jacket and a black helmet.
  • Hair Metal: The soundtrack revels in its loud, bombastic, party-hard heavy-metal roots.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • When you drain the ball down the outlanes, a Russian jingle plays, ending with Yagov shouting, "HEY!"
    • Losing your final ball prompts a special soundbite to play depending on where it falls:
      • If the ball drains down the middle, Yagov taunts you directly.
    General Yagov: "Now you die-die-die-die-DIE! Ah ha ha ha ha!"
    • If the ball heads down the outlanes, "Hitman" audibly dies.
    Hitman: I'm hit! I-I-I-I-I [explosion]
  • Large Ham: Yagov's voice actornote  delivers his lines in a markedly over-the-top fashion.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: A variant. Once the Release is lit, some of the dialogue is pieced together from other voice clips in the game.
    Hitman: I can't — lock on.
  • Military Alphabet: Yagov's forces are identified as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Fox, and Golf, followed by Yagov himself.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: "Hitman" and Yagov face each other on the upper playfield.
  • One-Man Army: "Hitman" fights General Yagov and his men alone.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The player character is only identified as "Hitman".
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The high-score music is the U.S. Navy anthem "Anchors Aweigh". Making a safe landing during multiball plays the last two measures of the same song.
  • Score Multiplier: Hitting the gates above the inlanes and shooting the upper orbit raises the bonus multiplier.
  • Spelling Bonus: Spell T-O-M-C-A-T to light the locks for multiball.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In addition to all the explosions in the game, hitting the flippers before launching a ball causes the game to light the flashers and play more explosions.

General Yagov: "You can't win!"