Bell Games conversion of Bally's KINGS OF STEEL

described by JOHN WHYATT

This article describes an interestěng conversion of a 1984 Bally game by the Italian factory of Bell Games. During the mid to late 80's this company used many Bally and Williams designs as bases for their own work. The most famous example, at least in Britain, is World Defender which was derived from Williams' Laser Cue and Alien Poker games. The conversion consists of supplying a new playfield, backglass and bottom arch and modifying the sound ROM to produce new effects. In most cases the game ROM was not altered, and because of this the new game bears an uncanny resemblance to the original. In the case of TIGER RAG the playfield layout is identical to Kings of Steel~ just the design on the playfield, plastics and targets has changed. The conversion would be supplied in kit form which the game's owner or operator could install on site. The kits were generally cheap and proved popular because for a small financial outlay and minimal effort the user could get a new machine. Generally speaking the conversions seem to have lasted well, and it's unusual to see a Bell Games design with a playfield that's badly worn.

The theme offered by TIGER RAG is one of hunting, in this case, tigers. The backglass depicts a party of Indian hunters riding elephants whilst a fearsome tiger looks on. The theme is extended to the playfield and plastics with snakes, elephants and other artefacts of India depicted. One question which begs to be answered is how did the game come to be so named? My beilef is that it was intended to be called 'Tiger Raj' but maybe something got lost in the translation!

Playfield Layout

At the top centre is a saucer above which is an arc of four touch buttons. Below the saucer are three thumper bwnpers, to the left of these is a mid-field flipper, above which are three static targets which form a bonus multiplier. On the left of the playfield beneath the mid-field flipper is a line of six drop-targets which guard five static targets. In the centre directly beneath the lower most bumper is a static target which stops a spinning light display and awards the lit value when hit. The spinning lights are started by another static target on the right of the deck and at the end of a dead-end lane. The value of this target increases with each hit. At the bottom of the playfield are two outlanes and two flipper return lanes.

Playing the Game

The plunger shot delivers the ball to the four touch buttons at the top of the playfield; each of these spots a lancer. The four buttons also comprise a plunger skill shot: if all four buttons are spotted without first landing in the saucer, or scoring any points on the playfield below the saucer, a replay is awarded. Depending on the game settings the skill shot can be offered at the start of every ball or only at the start of the first ball. During the game the saucer value increases by lOk for each lancer spotted. Spotting all four lancers three times on any ball lights the saucer special.

Spotting the three elephant targets above the left mid-field flipper advances the bonus multiplier. Achieving 5x bonus awards a replay, and subsequently completing the elephant targets scores 5Ok. Making the static target in the dead-end lane on the right scores 20k-40k-60k-80k-lOOk, extra ball, 120k-140k, special, 160k and finally, 200k. This target also qualifies the centre static target to score one of the following values: lOk. lOk plus advance bonus multiplier, lOk plus spot target on left bank, 25k or 50k.

The left bank drop targets score 5000 each and come up in four distinct sequences. Firstly iust one drop target is raised, then two, next the two end targets plus centre, and finally five targets are raised. Having completed all the drop targets the five static targets are exposed which must all be made to complete the sequence. The left bank targets may also be spotted via the flipper return lanes when lit, and depending on the game settings also from the top saucer. Each spotted target adds 5k to the end of ball bonus. Making the entire sequence three times during the game awards a replay, the maximum bonus available is 395k, but this can be multiplied up to five times, as described early.


A simple enough game to understand with plenty of scope for earning extra games, but putting the theory into practice soon reveals that there's much more to this game than there might at first appear. On the downside, I must say that the sound effects are rather disappointing but if you see TIGER RAG anywhere then give it a spin!

Click here to see a schematic description of a Bell Games' kit, as shown in one of their manual.