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Captain Caveman

WWC: Rat Race (BWB)

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Well, sorry for the delay folks, but here’s the next of my little fruity reviews.

 

Thus far we’ve looked at legendary AWPs, great club machines and even mighty Casino fruities, but now it’s the turn of an oft-overlooked genre that’s very close to my heart… the wonderful world of tuppenny play fruities.

 

To the younger reader, BWB might be synonymous with rather dire rebuilds and recycled Barcrests that weren’t THAT good when they came out the first time around. The marque will always be sullied for us old duffers too, after the heinous crime that was the BWB MPU4 rebuild of LineUp… Still, it wasn’t always that way. BWB were MPU3 masters in their own right, producing as they did many highly original, daring early hi-tech AWPs like Win-A-Gain, Chase the Ace, Windfall (with that twin contra-rotating feature wheel and the best feature repeater in the business)…. and Rat Race.

 

Thanks to Pete’s marvellous 1024-res Super Series layouts, we are now able to play this machine in all its finery. Not only do we have a great true aspect/cabinet style DX here with correct fruit symbols, but separate reel bands to boot… wonderful stuff, and a testament to what can be achieved at this universal-to-all resolution. I strongly suspect that this series of layouts will be the definitive MPU3 resource for a great many users, myself included.

 

OK then, let’s move on to the machine…

 

At first glance, there isn’t anything particularly unusual about it. You have the “Rat Race†feature name-fill from reel numbers, and you’re then presented with one of four possible features.

 

But look a little closer…

 

First off, the machine gives the player a “hold exchange†option, where feature and reel holds can be interchanged (of course, sometimes both are simultaneously given also). AFAIK this is pretty unique to BWB; so simple an idea, yet it adds so much to the player-interaction experience. A stroke of genius – a great way to while away those “dead†2p credits on the part of the machine’s coders!

 

Next, like ALL good fruities, there is an “out†for small two of a kind wins via the Rat Race exchange to feature. This was an exciting way to gamble your 4p wins, as it could net you 50p, 80p or even £1.50JP prizes in one hit… 80p was a fair chunk of cash for a 14 year old lad like me in 1982!

 

It also had a nudge bank facility that could even give extra interest like the best JPMs of the same era (although to be fair, nudges couldn’t be bought/exchanged, only won directly from the nudge feature itself).

 

The gamble trail did away with forced wins; it was either double or nothing all the way up to 50p (i.e. a major prize). No enforced Barcrest-style small win collects here, thank you!

 

However, the best aspect of the game was undoubtedly the varied features. Whereas the nudges were admittedly a bit crap most of the time (this was always the feature you got stiffed with if it didn’t fancy paying out), the others were a great bunch. The Rat Race feature rarely lost when you got it via the main feature fill (as opposed to 4p prize exchange), and frequently gave a major prize value. There was an incremental “Rat Pot†cashpot there too (not bad for the time lol).

 

But Win-A-Gain – a random 3-of-a-kind credit repeating super series via the alpha, not the reels – was an ABSOLUTE GEM, and quite possibly the best fruity feature ever. Repeat after repeat, you could gamble your wins each time and frequently be awarded high fruits within the running order. Absolute class, hugely original at the time, and as I’ve said, never bettered. To achieve this level of excitement on a 2p play machine, with so many other innovations and features to be had also (i.e. not simply a focused lo-tech streaker with a single super series feature) was simply superb.

 

To me, this game completely blows the whole idea that a 30p play/£25JP AWP can’t be made to work. Consider the fact that this 1982 2p play/£1.50JP AWP has virtually the same stake/JP prize value ratio as the very latest tackle, yet manages to be entertaining with loads going on every press of the start (or reverse start lol) button.

 

There’s no question at all that this fine machine achieves true classic fruity status; it was a masterpiece of innovation, originality and sheer amusement value that’s as valid today as ever it was back in the dawn of MPU3, and ensures BWB’s rightful place in the Old Fruity Hall of Fame. :)

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Another fantastic review CC.

 

I have to say that i think that Rat Race (and its clones although i have most affection for RR as its the one i played the most) is the finest 2p play machine ever made. I agree with every point you have made about it.

 

Not only is the player nearly always given something to do via the hold exchange and 4p Rat Race exchanges but the Win-A-Gain feature often went on for several minutes and was very exciting indeed.

 

Also getting a Rat Pot + a Repeat Chance could also be very profitable from time to time.

 

The gamble on these machines was also very exciting and would always go up to the JP within a reasonable amount of time (unlike todays machines when you quite often have to put in several times the JP value before getting a sniff).

 

The only thing that let it down was the nudges which were useless more often than not and the nudge gamble seldom goes up lol :D

 

A totally fun machine which could provide hours of entertainment. Pity theres been nothing like this made for a long long time :(

 

As for the DX its definately my finest work so far, hopefully i can continue with this sort of quality with my future releases (sadly Snap Happy wasn't great due to very poor artwork and the lamps were a bit bright - with hindsight i shouldn't have released it as part of the Super Series :D )

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Indeed a classic machine that I too played at every opportunity. Arcade owners knew the appeal of these machines. They lingered for many a year. I know exactly where Cavey is coming from as Rat Race was and indeed is, one of those great machines. The odd Rat Race can still be found today in one or two arcades, although the age of this unit is now making this more and more less likely.

 

I have to agree with Pete too with the nudges. Even now, slowing the emulated layout down to a snails-pace, I seldom achieve 3 nudges or more.

 

Indeed a fantastic machine thats been given the respect it deserves in the fabulous DX. A true joy to play. A joy in itself to just see it grace our PC's. To be immortalised for ever. Rat Race has been given life once more. This is what Fruit Machine Emulation is all about.

 

Compost

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Originally posted by pete_w@Sep 22 2003, 09:41 PM

Another fantastic review CC.

 

I have to say that i think that Rat Race (and its clones although i have most affection for RR as its the one i played the most) is the finest 2p play machine ever made. I agree with every point you have made about it.

 

Not only is the player nearly always given something to do via the hold exchange and 4p Rat Race exchanges but the Win-A-Gain feature often went on for several minutes and was very exciting indeed.

 

Also getting a Rat Pot + a Repeat Chance could also be very profitable from time to time.

 

The gamble on these machines was also very exciting and would always go up to the JP within a reasonable amount of time (unlike todays machines when you quite often have to put in several times the JP value before getting a sniff).

 

The only thing that let it down was the nudges which were useless more often than not and the nudge gamble seldom goes up lol :D

 

A totally fun machine which could provide hours of entertainment. Pity theres been nothing like this made for a long long time :(

 

As for the DX its definately my finest work so far, hopefully i can continue with this sort of quality with my future releases (sadly Snap Happy wasn't great due to very poor artwork and the lamps were a bit bright - with hindsight i shouldn't have released it as part of the Super Series :D )

Thanks Pete, glad you liked it mate. I agree that this has to be the finest ever 2p-er; no mean feat there for BWB - perhaps JPM's Copper Run runs it pretty close (which was a cheap to play Reel Crazy of course).

 

I'd forgotten about the Rat Pot repeat; this often gave a much higher value than the original pot amount! As you say, about the only let down on the machine was the nudge gamble - tight as a duck's proverbial... :D

 

I just don't know why fruity manufacturers - BWB in particular FFS - don't just simply revisit these class old machines. A modern re-work with decent samples etc. would go down a storm in your average pub... Never mind though.

 

As for Snap Happy, you're being far too harsh on yourself mate. These PCPs are a great rarity, and I'm sure that the layout gave many people a good deal of pleasure & misty-eyed memories. :)

 

Next up, a bit of a departure... a really obscure old MPU4 clubber: Stake Up and it's 5p play sister Multiplay... a Bugs Bunny classic layout no less. :)

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Originally posted by CompostCorner@Sep 23 2003, 11:06 PM

Indeed a classic machine that I too played at every opportunity. Arcade owners knew the appeal of these machines. They lingered for many a year. I know exactly where Cavey is coming from as Rat Race was and indeed is, one of those great machines. The odd Rat Race can still be found today in one or two arcades, although the age of this unit is now making this more and more less likely.

 

I have to agree with Pete too with the nudges. Even now, slowing the emulated layout down to a snails-pace, I seldom achieve 3 nudges or more.

 

  Indeed a fantastic machine thats been given the respect it deserves in the fabulous DX. A true joy to play. A joy in itself to just see it grace our PC's. To be immortalised for ever. Rat Race has been given life once more. This is what Fruit Machine Emulation is all about.

 

Compost

I couldn't have put it better myself Compy - I'm with you mate. You're one of us. :)

 

Welcome to these fine boards - you're certainly amongst friends here.

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OK, I agree that the hold reel/trail switching was innovative, I just can't agree that this is the best 2p machine ever, sorry!

 

I had the chance to play this again just recently (last week in fact). Bold as brass, three Rat Race machines side by side. What particularly struck me about the gameplay was how tight it was, gambles were losers more often than not, and features were very few and far between. Either these are emptiable/manipulatable or the most recent code (which is probably a good 10 years old anyway hehe) is particularly bad.

 

If I have to contrast this with another 2p machine like the MPU4 based Tuppenny Cracker, I know which one I would prefer to play. Very regular wins, good gambles and an excellent nudge bank feature. It is often said by some that Smash and Grab (Grab The Bank) and clones were the best MPU4 machines ever made in terms of enjoyment, innovation and gameplay, and Tuppenny Cracker is the perfect nephew to that.

 

So overall I have to say that I do not agree this is the best ever 2p machine, although it may be the best *MPU3* 2p'er, although that I would possibly also take issue with, as I found Cashcade (sadly as yet unemulated) a lot more rewarding and fun to play (the sound played when you hit "STOP" on the feature was quite amusing :)

 

Your reviews are missed by me Cavey, I hope you can restart them again soon :)

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Originally posted by Retrofruit@Jun 9 2004, 04:46 PM

What particularly struck me about the gameplay was how tight it was, gambles were losers more often than not, and features were very few and far between. Either these are emptiable/manipulatable or the most recent code (which is probably a good 10 years old anyway hehe) is particularly bad.

Lol, not sure how you were playing it then :D

 

When i play it the gamble goes up regularly and I get plenty of features ;) - bit tight on the old nudges though lol.

 

Cashcade is also a very good machine but is far from being as good as Rat Race imho as the gameplay is quite basic. Tuppenny Cracker is a good machine but i prefer the original Smash and Grab (although its not 2p play of course :D )

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The gamble is progressive on this machine, as with Ace Chase, Win-A-Gain etc.

 

Basically, people got on, and didn't get off without a gamble (unless you were lucky enough to get a JP by another means, which was very rare)

 

Once the gamble has come out, it would lose violently for a while. This is probably what you experienced. This is also the main reason that this style of control wouldn't work in todays £25 environment - most people don't gamble anymore, they've been taught not to bother by rigged (cough - Maygays) gambles for 10 years or so, that don't EVER hit the JP. Also, to make this style work, you need people to play it this way regularly. Problem is - once you see a JP come out of a £25 machine, you don't go near it. If this is on a Fri / Sat night, the machine won't take enough money and will be replaced. Rat Race was an arcade machine, and is very much a different kettle of fish when it comes to Pub machines. It's a shame, but there's nothing that you can do about it. £25 is too large a prize - people will always boycot a machine that has just paid that out. (£50 JP anybody? lol)

 

If the public hadn't been treated like fucking idiots (which they generally are) over the last 10 years, it's possible this kind of gameplay would still be popular. It's a real shame, to be honest, as I've played test machines (£25) that play exactly like this (that to me are just fecking amazing, just like old times!), which unfortunately failed test for the reasons mentioned above I think.

 

If you want the truth? It's all down to Maygay. Around 1990/1991 they had a few good years with (totally fecking illegal control FP) a number of games that did very well. The industry has never recovered from this. Gameplay went out of the window, and robotic play modes set in. BFM have since grabbed onto this and have mastered it, producing a whole stack of high earning games that no old-timer, that remembers what machines "can" be like, would ever play.

 

There's no going back though, as (like you can see) the industry's answer to this is double the fecking jackpot!

 

Bring on random.

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Originally posted by FruitSim@Jun 9 2004, 07:13 PM

If you want the truth? It's all down to Maygay. Around 1990/1991 they had a few good years with (totally fecking illegal control FP) a number of games that did very well. The industry has never recovered from this. Gameplay went out of the window, and robotic play modes set in. BFM have since grabbed onto this and have mastered it, producing a whole stack of high earning games that no old-timer, that remembers what machines "can" be like, would ever play.

 

Out of interest can you name some of the machines you are referring to as a point of reference?

 

I can only guess you mean the "£5 block" machines?

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Hehe... someone knocking Rat Race...? It's a disgrace!!!

 

 

 

:D :D

 

 

No, sorry Retro, I'm with Pete on this one. :) RR is a salient lesson imho for modern machine designers, showing was can be achieved with a stake/JP ratio not dissimilar to modern £25JP AWPs - always plenty going on, and much to keep the player on his/her toes. Unlike venerable PCP 2p-ers of a similar vintage, quite a streaker too by all accounts (although it's all relative given the tiny, dinner money friendly stake amount of course! :) )

 

I'm no fan of BWB to say the least, but these are REAL BWB machines imho. :)

 

(We'll have a more detailed discussion later mate lol, but right now I'm in Portugal on business lol :D )

 

 

Oh, and WWC will be back soon mate. :) I've alreay written The Ascent of the Six Reeler, but need to get home and take some pictures of my little collection, watch this space! :)

 

See you all soon.

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Pretty much everything RF! Stuff like Monopoly, Pink Panther etc.

 

All a different departure from the sort of control Barcrest and JPM were using. I never liked it then and I still don't.

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Originally posted by FruitSim@Jun 10 2004, 03:42 AM

Pretty much everything RF! Stuff like Monopoly, Pink Panther etc.

 

All a different departure from the sort of control Barcrest and JPM were using. I never liked it then and I still don't.

 

Can you give more info Fruitsim I am quite interested in what you are saying.

 

I am not sure how it fits in with machines like Inferno, where you can actually pre-empt the machine going lower on a 2, thereby bypassing the control. (At least on the emulator). I have had numerous JP's this way.

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Not here to be honest.

 

Just to say, less chance based if you see what I mean. Also, very nasty token control. Pants hi lo gambles also. They're alot more similar to modern stuff than what else was around then.

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Originally posted by FruitSim@Jun 10 2004, 11:26 AM

Not here to be honest.

 

Just to say, less chance based if you see what I mean. Also, very nasty token control. Pants hi lo gambles also. They're alot more similar to modern stuff than what else was around then.

 

ok np, perhaps we could discuss in irc at some point.

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I think Retro is just pissed because he has not mastered the gamble, and the man call's himself a classic fruity fanatic :D Big looser more like :o

 

It really was a great game of its time but it could suck the change out of your pocket after a night on the beach getting drunk. You know the situation, you have the pissed munchies and not quite enough change to get a bag or 2 of chips from the best chippy in town. So off to the arcade and hit Ratrace with your prechious pennies. If the cash gamble went past 12p or the nudge gamble enabled you to nudge 12p then a jackpot was likely and there would be chips all round !!!!

However, you did need to have good timing on the gamble, that was my cousins forte, I did everything else.

 

When I downloaded and played RR again, I felt like a drunk 14yr old again :)

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So are you saying that the gamble is a definite win if it can afford it and you press it when the next lamp is lit?

 

If so I will retry on the emulator :)

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As a youngster I was always under the impression that if you quickly "rattled" the gamble it would give you a better chance. After speaking to the designer of the game a number of years later he said this was indeed the case, however, I've tried a few things on my win-a-gain, and my mother could take the gamble out when it's ready, so I'm not so sure hehe :)

 

I think people like to think they have a way to "do it". If it works for them, then all good. To be honest, I still always want to rattle the gamble on these games, it's just something I have to do!

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Its a bit like the gamble on Lineup Retro, you have to hit it on the first 'up' every time. If you get it right AND the machine is ready, it will go most times. It is ready when it alows you to 12p.

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OK, playing the shit out of the layout Ratrace 2003.

Played it from unknown history and it was quite happy to pay out 3 jackpots from about 200 credits.

I then did a RAM clear and started from scratch. Gambled a jackpot from 8p in 8 credits. Ended up with quid54 from 50 credits.

BTW, I was talking bollocks with the 12p thing, its actually 16p. If it goes to 30p a jackpot is imminant.

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OK, played it until my ears bleed :P Got 2 more easy jackpots and then it went into severe suck mode, could not win any gamble at all. Anyway, it looks like its going to pay again now, so here is the ram and gam zipped up.

See what happens, I will do so this weekend B)

 

Played it for a while longer, it did losen up for a while, gave me a JP and I got bored. Its 1AM here !!!

JPram.zip

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Cheers QH, I will give it a go!

 

When the gamble starts does it always go to the lower value first or the higher value first, i.e. can you do a Grab The Bank on it and do a hold start with a jiggle?

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