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". Its unabashed Patriotic Fervor and intense gameplay boosted F-14 Tomcat to the best-selling pinball of 1987. The rules may not be particularly deep, but the nonstop action, adrenaline-pumping soundtrack, and furious gameplay makes it an iconic game that many consider one of Steve Ritchie's best.
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.
The F-14 Tomcat pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Ace Pilot: "Hitman".
- Angry Fist-Shake: Yagov does this on the playfield.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The "Flight Insurance" ball-saver, the first pinball game to feature one. This activates briefly whenever the kick-back on the left is shot, and also for a period of time at the beginning of the final ball.
- Beard of Evil: Yagov sports one (as seen on his picture between the upper flippers).
- Big "NO!": General Yagov yells this when you defeat him.
- Code Name: The player is only identified as "Hitman".
- The Computer Shall Taunt You: Yagov is a shining example.Yagov: You can't win!
- Creator Cameo: All of the voices in the game were provided by Steve Ritchie (Yagov) and his brother Mark (Hitman and Ramrod).Hitman: "Lock on! Eagle One, Eagle One!"
- Dueling Games: With Gottlieb's Gold Wings.
- Evil Laugh: Yagov's got a memorable one.
- General Ripper/Glorious Mother Russia: Yagov, full stop.
- 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:
General Yagov: "Now you die-die-die-die-DIE! Ah ha ha ha ha!"
- When you drain the ball down the outlanes, a Russian jingle plays, ending with Yagov shouting, "HEY!"
- When you drain your last ball:
Hitman: I'm hit! I-I-I-I-I *explosion*
- Alternatively, if your last ball drains via the outlanes:
- Large Ham: Yagov's over-the-top acting is a big part of his charm.
- Mad Libs Dialogue: A variant; one 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 are facing each other on the playfield.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: Defeating Yagov doesn't stop him from taunting the player.
- One-Man Army: The player is this, against Yagov and his squadron.
- 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: Hit the gates above the inlanes , then shoot the upper orbit to raise the bonus multiplier. Earning an 8x multiplier lights the Extra Ball on the left side shot.
- 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!"