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Pinball / Rescue 911

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Save lives with the power of pinball!

From Gottlieb comes the official Rescue 911 pinball game based on the TV show of the same name. Released in 1994, it incorporates a rescue crew motif, complete with a little helicopter that electromagnetically carries the ball to another location. It was designed by Bill Parker, with art by Jeanine and Constantino Mitchell and David Moore.

It does not include host William Shatner's likeness. Instead, what the game offers are six emergency missions, ranging from an Emergency Room baby delivery and a Cave-In, to rescuing people from Flash Floods and Wildfires. Use the Helicopter to fly pinballs to critical areas, collect the Medi-Alert bonuses at the ramp, and try to save enough lives to reach the pulse-pounding "Life Force" Wizard Mode.

Rescue 911 went on to become Gottlieb's best-selling pinball of the year, and remained one of their top Premier tables, right behind Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter II. Although it's not too taxing for pinball wizards, many players still regard it fondly as a fun and action-packed game, well suited for all audiences.

A digital version is available for The Pinball Arcade.

This game demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Golden Snitch: In multiball, the jackpot shot is the Emergency Room at the top of the playfield, hittable with the upper right flipper. This then feeds the helicopter to feed the ball to the lower left flipper. If one or more balls are trapped on the lower right flipper, this sets up an easily repeatable pattern of shooting the far right ramp, then "stage" flipping to score the jackpot. And the jackpot keeps increasing up to 300 million. Repeat until you have whatever score you want. The game was immediately pulled from the final rounds of a major tournament when it was discovered that many players figured out this exact strategy.
  • Guide Dang It!: Unlike most other modern pinball games, the dot-matrix display gives no instructions whatsoever for the various game modes; players must rely solely on the flashing indicator lights on the playfield.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Occurs with the "Life Force" modes, when the entire game goes silent... except for a beating heart which gets progressively faster as your time runs out.
  • Hot Pursuit: The "Hostage" mode involves a high-speed car chase.
  • Instant Birth: Just Add Labor!: Played straight in the "Stork" mode, which involves rushing a delivering mother to the emergency room. Completing the mode results in the baby being born and you're awarded an extra ball.
  • It's Raining Men: Invoked by using the Helicopter to drop the pinball on strategic areas of the playfield.
  • Jammed Seatbelts: "Jaws of Life", which requires the player to rescue a passenger trapped in a wrecked car.
  • Shout-Out: The "Flash Flood" mission takes place on Shapiro Road, named after Rescue 911 executive producer Arnold Shapiro.
  • Spelling Bonus: E-K-G temporarily increases the scores for the bumpers, while R-E-S-C-U-E lights the ramp for Player's Choice.
  • Wizard Mode:
    • "Life Force", available after saving 50 lives. This is a 30-second frenzy; the six major shots are worth one million points each, and getting all of them awards 300 million.
    • There's also "Super Life Force", available after saving 120 lives. It is the same as "Life Force", except that it adds an extra shot, and completing all seven shots awards one billion points.