Back to Taxi info page
Review: John Whyatt on ??/12/1989
||From Pinball Player - Volume 13 #10
You don't find TAXI, another Williams' driving theme game all that
often, and that's a pity because it is a challenging game which tests
the player's skill well. In particular, the ramp and long shots will
sort the good pinball players out from the bad.
The basic game
objective is to pick up a motley selection of passengers comprising
'GORBIE' - president Gorbachev; 'SANTA' - Santa Claus; 'PIN-BOT' - of
Pinball fame; 'MARILYN' - Marilyn Monroe; and finally 'DRAC' - Count
Dracula and drive them to the 'airport'. Incorporated into the game
are two ball multi-ball play, a jackpot with a potential of 4,000,000
points, and unique 'METER BONUS' which scores to 99,000 points. Also,
included is the ingenious kick-out hole which can score any of five
different features - up to three of which can be awarded at any one
To assist understanding of
the game description, I will briefly describe the playfield
At one end of the plunger lane is the 'SPIN-OUT'
feature which delivers the ball to a kick-back at the top right of
the playfield. At the very top of the playfield are the C-A-B
rollovers and further to the left, a kick-out hole. Beneath the C-A-B
lanes are three Jet Bumpers - above, and slightly to the left of the
bumpers is the 'CARRY PASSENGERS' target. In the centre of the
playfield, beneath the bumpers, and only accessible from the flippers
is a set of three drop targets for spotting 'MARILYN'. On the right,
and immediately above the outlane is another bank of three drop
targets, these spot 'PIN-BOT'. Just above this bank of targets is a
lane leading to a multi-ball lock kick-out hole known as 'EXPRESSWAY
1'. On the opposite side of the table is 'EXPRESSWAY 2' which leads
into a kick-big for spotting 'DRAC'. The ball exits the kick-big via
one of the two plastic ramps which form a figure-of-eight over the
top of the main playfield. These two ramps comprise the 'AIRPORT
RIDES', making the left ramp lights the right ramp and vice versa. At
the bottom of the table is the standard arrangement of outlanes and
Hail the cab!
The plunger shot
delivers the ball to the 'SPIN-OUT' feature which consists of a
funnel like plastic assembly and the kick-back previously described.
As the ball enters the funnel, the SPIN-OUT value, displayed by
lights adjacent to the plunger lane and values presented on the score
displays, starts incrementing from 1K - 5K - 10K - 25K - 50K - 75K -
100K. The value drops from 100K back to 1K and repeats - the lit
value being awarded when the ball drops from the funnel into the
kick-back. The 25K value also spots a random PASSENGER. Each
successive plunger shot (after Extra Ball or Multi-Ball locks) scores
the SPIN-OUT value multiplied by a value 1X - 5X. The SPIN-OUT value
is obviously determined by the strength of the plunger shot.
ball is now kicked to the top of the playfield, and will pass through
one of the C-A-B lanes. Completing C-A-B advances the meter bonus
multiplier and increases the Jackpot Value, this being displayed in
the Taxi Meter Window on the backglass for a short time after the
increase. The C-A-B lanes can be rotated by the flipper button lane
change control. After the Meter Bonus Multiplier has reached its
maximum value of 5X, a further completion of C-A-B lights EXPRESSWAY
2 for an Extra Ball.
Spotting any of the five passengers awards
20K plus a 20K tip when the ball goes out of play, provided the
passenger is still lit. The passengers carried are displayed on a
light matrix in the centre of the playfield. Scoring the Jackpot will
extinguish all carried passengers (so no tips!), and Marilyn may be
extinguished during pursuit of the Jackpot - see paragraph
As mentioned earlier, EXPRESSWAY 2 spots 'DRAC',
and the drop target banks 'MARILYN' and 'PIN-BOT'. 'SANTA' is spotted
by entering the top-left kick-out hole via a flipper shot or bumper
rebound. 'GORBIE' may be spotted by making the same hole, but using a
different route - a long shot up the right side of the table, across
the C-A-B lanes and into the hole from above. The CARRY PASSENGER
target is lit by making either bank of drop targets. Hitting this
target when lit allows the player to carry over any spotted
passengers to the next ball, or in the case of the last ball, the
tips are awarded twice.
The meter bonus increments on the
backglass display continuously while a ball is kept in play. The
flipper return lanes also increment this bonus by 5K. After each ball
is lost, the Meter Bonus is collected and multiplied.
right flipper return lane lights the 'SANTA' shot for a
pre-determined time. Making this shot whilst lit awards one of the
following bonuses as displayed on the backglass - 10K - MYSTERY SCORE
- SPOT A PASSENGER - EXTRA BALL or SPECIAL.
Making the left and right ramps alternately
increases the AIRPORT RIDE bonus (awarded for making the lit ramp)
from 20K - 40K - 60K - 80K - 100K. Successfully making the 100K shot
lights the 'SANTA' shot for 1 MILLION points. In this way, it can be
seen that skilful play could achieve three
awards simultaneously - spot 'SANTA', JOYRIDE and score a Million!
You may think that a player could become confused as to which
particular award(s) he was trying to achieve, but fear not, because
all the bonus awards and shots required to get them are very clearly
marked on the playfield.
As previously mentioned, EXPRESSWAY 1
forms a lock, and a ball locked here may be released by making the
left ramp. This initiates two-ball multi-ball play, during which, the
player should attempt to re-lock one ball in EXPRESSWAY 1, and then
make EXPRESSWAY 2 before the first ball is re-released (usually after
about 20 seconds). Successfully locking both balls awards 300K. All
subsequent Airport Rides score 100K whilst both balls remain in play.
Whilst attempting to lock the second ball, the sound effects are at
their best with the machine shouting encouragement, "Sir! -
Quick, to the Airport - Sir!".
Following a period of
multi-ball play, EXPRESSWAY 1 lock can be re-enabled by completing
the PIN-BOT targets.
Spotting all five
passengers on any one ball lights the 'GORBIE' shot for the Jackpot,
the value being displayed in the Meter Bonus Window. The shot must be
made quickly, or else 'MARILYN' will be put out, requiring the centre
drop targets to be made to re-light the jackpot. Collecting the
Jackpot and then re-lighting it in any one game will light the
outlanes alternately for SPECIAL.
make no apology for repeating what I said earlier: TAXI is a very
challenging game, probably underrated due to its scarcity, although I
believe there's a surplus of these machines in Germany. The sound
effects are excellent, features innovatory, it's portrayal of the
Russian Head Of State daring, and backglass imaginative. If you're
lucky enough to find one, give it a drive!