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George Gomez’s most recent game, James Bond 007 (also known as Dr. No based on the Pro backglass), brings his career full circle. The layout and some rules of the game heavily resemble his design debut in Corvette, a personal favorite game of mine, but after 30 years of video game and pinball development, this game perfectly demonstrates his evolution as a designer.
Inspired by the original six films in the James Bond franchise, where Bond was portrayed by actor Sean Connery, James Bond 007 places players in the role of the eponymous secret agent. Bond must take on villains and their henchmen across several “assignment” missions while unraveling SPECTRE’s plans for world domination, all with a little help from his many, many love interests, alongside Q’s spy gadgets.
About Stern Pinball's James Bond 007
- Design by: George Gomez
- Code by: Lonnie D. Ropp, Mike Vinikour
- Mechanics by: Elliot Eismin, Robert Blakeman, Harrison Drake, John Rotharmel, Tom Kopera
- Art by: Kevin O'Connor
- Sound by: Ken Hale, Jerry Thompson
James Bond 007 is functionally a mode-based game, with four sets of six modes (one per film) to play through. For the highest scores, players should be able to consistently start modes by shooting the ramps and bringing modes into Jetpack or Bird 1 Multiball by making the required shots. Tie this in with lit Bond Women at the upper loop for playfield multipliers, and smart missiles awarded for completing modes, and the score will fly in a hurry.
James Bond 007 Playfield Overview
Two tight, but important shots are located above the game’s standard “Italian bottom”. The left eject is hidden below the game’s upper flipper and is a very important shot to master if you want to access Jetpack Multiball; to shoot it intentionally, try holding up the upper flipper, then shoot under it and release the flipper as soon as the ball reaches its apex. A similar, albeit more accessible eject is on the right side of the playfield and will release balls off the top of the DB5 roof through its ejector seat.
To the left of the DB5 eject is an interesting combination of ramps and orbits; the ramp has two entrances, one only accessible via the upper flipper (we'll call this the side ramp), and in between the ramp’s two entrances are the right orbit and the “Goldfinger target”, which will change currently lit modes and begin SPECTRE weapon modes when flashing. Shooting the right ramp from the bottom entrance will start a villain mode. Henchmen modes can be started similarly but require side ramp shots to start.
The upper left quadrant of the playfield is largely occupied by the Bird 1 rocket, surrounded in the front by three drop targets used to light locks for Bird 1 multiball, and 7 standup targets used to light SPECTRE weapons and increase the jackpots for the multiball. The Bird 1 rocket can also be hit with direct shots; doing this is required to light one of the game’s six Bond Women but can be dangerous if the three drop targets are lowered. Surrounding the rocket are the game’s surprisingly steep left ramp, gated by a spinner, and the center loop, which is easier to shoot from the left flipper than the right. The dragon tank target is in very close proximity to the center loop; while this target lights an outlane ball save after a few hits, it is deadly and should be avoided unless a multiball is running, or it is needed during the current mode.
The top right corner of the game is occupied by the traditional top lanes and bumpers, though there are only two bumpers on this game as opposed to the typical three. Below the exit from the bumpers is the upper loop, arguably the most important shot on the game for high scoring, as this is where Bond Women are collected when flashing. The upper loop is an early shot from the upper flipper, which can reliably be fed by shooting the center loop from the left flipper.
Scoring on James Bond 007 is slightly lower than average for its era, with good tournament scores breaking 100M but great scores breaking 500M or 600M. However, there are several strategies that will allow players to consistently break a billion if they are willing to put up with the risks involved.
Keys to the Game
- Shoot the right ramp twice to start villain modes. Follow the lit arrows to complete them and shoot flashing shots for more points. A percentage of the points awarded during villain modes are scored in end-of-ball bonus.
- Shoot the side ramp for henchmen modes, which behave very similarly to villain modes but with different shot sequences. Only one side ramp shot is required for the first henchman mode. Complete modes to collect smart missiles, and use the action button to collect lit shots. Use the flippers to choose the action button behavior.
- Shoot the left eject to light the left ramp for Jetpack Multiball. Shoot the center loop quickly to lock in the value and make the flashing shots for jackpots, with a super jackpot & add-a-ball available after scoring enough.
- Complete the drop targets and lock 3 balls at the center loop for Bird 1 Multiball. Make three jackpot shots from the upper flipper before time runs out for a multiball extension, and light the super jackpot at the rocket by scoring lit jackpot shots.
- Play one villain mode, one henchman mode, and both multiballs to light the right ramp and left eject for Bond, James Bond multiball. Within just over a minute, complete every shot twice followed by the side ramp in this 2-ball multiball.
- Complete the SPECTRE targets to increase the Bird 1 Multiball jackpot values and light the Goldfinger target for SPECTRE weapon hurry-ups. The three hurry-ups on the left side of the circle are the most valuable.
- Various shots around the playfield correspond to different Q Branch gadget modes and Bond Women lit at the upper loop. Shoot the upper loop when flashing to collect Bond Women, then press the action button to activate them for a timed playfield multiplier – up to 7x!
While the traditional top lane skill shot is always an option, I prefer holding in the left flipper and trying for any of the lit purple shots for super skill shots. Another benefit of playing for super skill shots is that they award a smart missile if made, which can make certain modes easier to complete. The best ones to aim for are the side ramp, which will instantly start your first henchmen mode, and the left eject, which will light Jetpack Multiball right away. In a tournament though, where ball save is often turned off, it might be a better idea to just plunge for the top lanes.
Making a shot to the right ramp will start a timed villain mode, described here from bottom to top. Bringing a villain mode into either Bird 1 or Jetpack Multiball is a great idea.
Dr. No (“Trouble in Jamaica”)
Alternate between the right orbit and the dragon tank target to score points built up by the bumpers. The “bumper exit” shot, often hit by accident off the left eject, scores double.
Rosa Klebb (“SPECTRE Island”)
Shoot every shot once to tour the island’s facilities, with a shot to both ejects required to complete the mode. Due to the many shots required this is a great mode to bring into multiball.
Goldfinger (“The Incredible Laser Ray”)
Shoot the Goldfinger target enough times to light the DB5 eject to escape. Each lit gold shot adds points to the value for shooting the Goldfinger target.
Largo (“Disco Voltante Demolition”)
Alternate between the right or side ramp and the left eject to infiltrate and destroy the ship. Combo shots to the left eject made immediately after either ramp scores double.
Blofeld (“Feeding Frenzy”)
Shoot the drop targets and the Bird 1 rocket (worth double) to investigate Blofeld’s schemes. While a lucrative mode, process towards Bird 1 multiball is blocked while this mode is running.
Mr. Henderson (“Diamonds of Destruction”)
Make shots to the left eject, center loop, and right ramp to prevent the satellite detonation. The spinner changes which shot is lit to score double during this mode.
Henchmen modes can only be reliably started by shooting the side ramp using the upper flipper. Try shooting the center loop from the left flipper rather than the right for a more consistent upper flipper feed.
Professor Dent (“Sinister Summit”)
One shot is lit, moving from left to right. Add shots and lock them in for 2x value by shooting the dragon tank target. The short timer for this mode makes it a great multiball stack.
Red Grant (“Encounter on the Orient Express”)
Right orbit combo mode, where every shot to the orbit lights shots from the upper flipper and left flipper. The upper loop shot scores double.
Oddjob (“He Blew a Fuse”)
Shoot all three ramps and the right orbit, with a final shot at the rocket lane left of the drop targets. A quick and easy mode.
Fiona Volpe (“Femme Fatale”)
Follow the orange arrow shots in pursuit of Fiona. The first shot will be at the left ramp and subsequent shots will always light as natural combos from the first shot.
Mr. Osato (“Arrange Usual Reception Please”)
Shoot the three ramps and the upper loop, with more points being scored if the shots are made in quick succession. The last shot will be at either eject.
Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd (“Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd”)
Shoot the left ramp, followed by the center loop and finally either the side or right ramp. This mode almost completes itself if brought into Jetpack Multiball.
Smart missiles are available at the action button after making any super skill shot, or after completing any mode, and up to 4 can be stacked at once. They will collect any lit shot during a mode, prioritizing more difficult shots over easy ones, and are great to bring into a multiball as you can "double dip" on awards. Just remember - you can't use a smart missile to collect a super jackpot! If you want to swap between 007 scoring and smart missiles, just press either flipper button to change the button's color.
Jetpack multiball is a quick and reliable way to guarantee points in the early game, as it only requires two shots to start: first, the left eject to light it, and then the left ramp to start it. Later in the game, more eject and ramp shots will be needed to start it.
Quickly shoot the center loop as soon as multiball starts to lock in the jackpot value, which starts at 3M, and shoot all the lit jackpots as many times as possible. After 5 jackpots, the left ramp will light for a double jackpot, followed by a super jackpot + add-a-ball at a shot moving from right to left around the playfield. The process then repeats, but subsequent super jackpots prevent jackpot shots from being made repeatably.
This multiball, combined with a playfield multiplier from Bond Women, can be quite lucrative.
Bird 1 Multiball
Bird 1 multiball is the “main” multiball, but it can be dangerous to qualify, especially if the center loop is a difficult shot. A good way to circumvent this is to make every shot needed for it from the left flipper; backhand and complete the drop targets to light the lock, then shoot the center loop three times to lock 3 balls and start the multiball. Later, the drop targets need to be completed to light each lock.
As soon as the final center loop shot is made to start the multiball, focus on quickly shooting either the upper loop or side ramp, as making three shots to either will qualify a multiball extension like the one in Scared Stiff (once the multiball ends, it will automatically resume with 2 new balls launched into play, one time only).
Shoot the lit green shots for jackpots, then double and triple jackpots for subsequent waves. Collecting a certain number of jackpots (4, then 5, then 6, etc.) will light the rocket for a super jackpot and increase the base jackpot value. The super jackpot has a maximum base value of 300M, so this could be worth even more than the mini-wizard mode!
Just like jetpack multiball, bringing Bond Women into Bird 1 multiball and activating the playfield multiplier can be a game-changer.
“Bond, James Bond” Multiball
This low-level wizard mode is qualified at the right ramp and left eject after starting one of everything listed above: i.e., one villain mode played, one henchmen mode played, and both multiballs started. This is a great goal for beginner players or tournament players wanting to lock in a high score.
In this 2-ball multiball that lasts just over a minute, the player must complete every shot on the playfield twice, with shots to the upper loop scoring double and crediting one of the lit shots. Once every shot has been made, the side ramp will light to score the super jackpot, worth a maximum of 100M unmultiplied, but as soon as time runs out, the opportunity will disappear.
Scores of over a billion are possible during “Bond, James Bond” by bringing in a 7x multiplier for the entirety of the mode.
SPECTRE weapons correlate to different hurry-up modes that can be started at the Goldfinger target after completing the SPECTRE targets. Of the six modes, the three modes on the left side of the insert circle are the most valuable; the ones on the right only require one shot to complete but are less valuable.
The orange and blue weapons light the left orbit, rocket lane, right orbit, and right ramp for incremental hurry-ups starting at 10M; players who complete these hurry-ups quickly can expect scores of over 70M.
The green weapon lights the rocket lane (and later, the drop targets) to score eight hurry-up values decreasing by 10M. This hurry-up is comparatively more difficult; remember to backhand the drop targets and rocket lane for your best chance at scoring big.
There are six areas around the playfield used to advance towards both Q Branch and the Bond Women feature, described in the following section:
- The bumpers
- The right orbit
- The DB5 eject
- The left eject
- The rocket
- The spinner
Hitting any of these shots enough times, as indicated on the display, will light the DB5 eject to start their respective Q Branch mode, listed below. Two of these can be brought into multiballs, while the others are mutually exclusive but can lead to very lucrative multiballs if players are able to complete them.
Various shots light yellow, with one shot scoring a value that decreases as other shots are made. Listen to the Geiger counter audio to determine where the “correct” shot could be.
“Attache Case” / “Hunted by Helicopter Multiball”
Shoot the right orbit, followed by a random shot selected by the bumpers twice, and finally, the right ramp. During the multiball, shoot all lit shots for jackpots, with a triple jackpot determined by the bumpers. As the jackpot value can’t be increased, this is the weakest Q Branch mode.
“DB5” / “DB5 Multiball”
Alternate shots between the left ramp and DB5 eject, with every spinner spin increasing the jackpot value. During the multiball, alternate between lit shots for jackpots and the DB5 eject for double jackpots.
“Power Pack” / “Power Pack Multiball”
Shoot the left eject enough times, with all other shots increasing the jackpot value. During the multiball, score jackpots at the lit shots, with three triple jackpots available at the left eject. This is a very high-scoring multiball, even without a high playfield multiplier, thanks to the large jackpots.
“Little Nellie” / “Little Nellie Multiball”
Alternate between the drop targets and the right ramp, with drop target hits increasing the jackpot value. During the multiball, shoot the roving shots for jackpots, followed by the drop targets and the rocket behind them.
All major shots are lit to score 1M, with the final shot scoring 2M. The lowest scoring mode; try to prevent this from starting at all costs.
The same shots listed in the “Q Branch” section are also used to light Bond Women at the upper loop, which correspond to the playfield multiplier that can be activated by pressing the action button. Every Bond Women lit solid, via shots to the upper loop, adds +1x multiplier and +10 seconds to the multiplier when the action button is pressed. However, if the player drains while the action button is flashing, they will lose their multiplier and the Bond Women they collected at the upper loop prior. Reaching 7x multiplier, the maximum, also awards 30 seconds of unlimited ball save and can be used to save the ball at the last second!
A great way to qualify and collect Bond Women is to start either Jetpack or Bird 1 multiball and play them out, but eventually, cradle up and focus on shooting the upper loop from the center loop left flipper feed to collect your Bond Women. On the last ball of a game with minimal process, it might be beneficial to simply use the playfield multiplier during either multiball. Otherwise, the best places to use the playfield multiplier are during the “Bond, James Bond” multiball and during the 2-ball multiball awarded by completing the “Power Pack” Q Branch mode.
007 scoring will always start if the button is flashing pink; otherwise, it will award a smart missile, and this behavior can be changed with the flippers.
Noah's James Bond Strategies
- My goal at the start of every game is to light the left ramp for Jetpack Multiball with a shot to the left eject, start a villain mode by shooting the right ramp twice, and then start Jetpack Multiball. It doesn’t matter what villain mode you start; all of them utilize the entire playfield, and during some of them, like “Trouble in Jamaica” or “Disco Volante Demolition”, the shots you make repeatably will make it easier to light Q Branch / Bond Women.
- After the above stack ends, my next goal will be to start Bird 1 multiball by backhanding the drop targets and shooting the center loop, ideally bringing a henchmen mode into the multiball with a quick combo shot to the side ramp. Not all the henchmen modes are lucrative, but playing one of them is a requirement to reach “Bond, James Bond,” so it would be ideal to play them as safely as possible. During Bird 1, I focus on shooting the upper loop as many times as possible for the multiball extension and Bond Women.
- During “Bond, James Bond,” if I have a 7x multiplier active, I will press the action button as soon as the multiball begins and focus primarily on the upper loop rather than the lit shots. When the super jackpot lights, instead of trying to combo into it from the center loop, I will let balls drain and feed the plunger so I can have a consistent feed to the upper flipper.
- For the rest of the game, I focus on playing out qualified Q Branch modes and SPECTRE weapons, keeping an eye out for the “Power Pack” from Q Branch (lit orange) and the three leftmost SPECTRE weapons (lit orange, green, and blue). Even without multipliers, these can be worthwhile scoring options.