Demolition Man question for TD’s

3 seashell decal set for those yellow circle inserts … I know a guy :slight_smile:


:slightly_smiling_face: Check.

I’ve always thought all you had to do to make Demo Man perfect is to make Lock Freeze only give you ONE freeze, instead of maximize them.


I’d rather you could never use it for freezes, but could always use it to start MB, since that left orbit can be such a pain.

I feel like I’m making those exact same decisions with the claw enabled, but now also adding in a decision as to which claw award to choose. Is the difference that the game stops the flow momentarily for the player to choose an award/mode? I don’t really understand why having the claw disabled would be different in the way you describe.

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Award Freeze is such an overpowering award that there’s really no choice to be made, at least in competition. It’s so overpowering, in fact, that the tournament strat with the claw enabled is to get the claw lit and get this award over and over.

This is why Soren’s updated ROM prevents one from choosing freeze more than once, until all the other claw awards have been taken. Choosing freeze a second time (or over and over) will award super pops instead. As he described above, this is the only change he made to the game. Otherwise, I completely agree that disabling the claw with the unmodified ROM is preferable.


I didn’t realize you were talking about enabling the claw but using the modified ROM in your previous post. Now I get it.


i’m not a TD, but i would very much prefer the ROM. A lot of the fun and appeal of pinball is all the unique mechanical doodads under the glass. disabling this game’s PRIMARY DOODAD when there is a viable solution available to keep using it, just seems like a tragedy to me. Plus, this particular doodad gives the player a series of strategic choices to make, and with the updated ROM, none of those choices are so overpowered that any one of them are the only viable one.

i bet a lot of newer players walk up to that game and see the claw with those five different wireform paths, and are curious / excited to get to use it, only to be disappointed in most tournaments to find that it’s completely disabled.

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Those newer players must really enjoy Guardians (Groot disabled), Walking Dead (Prison doors disabled), Metallica Premium (hammer disabled) … just to name a few :slight_smile:

i mean, those are all essentially bummers, aren’t they? it’d be better if those games were balance-able with those features enabled.

To be fair, in every example you gave, a new player would unlikely not even realize a feature had been disabled (aside from reading the sticky note). All are fairly out of the way and non-obvious. The claw is a pretty prominent part of the game design.

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I guess? I mean Metallica’s hammer is pretty striking and a super cool toy (cool enough that I leave mine on when it’s not tournament or league night).

I’m also used to running high profile stuff, so for me the enjoyment of the use of a physical playfield device falls a distance 17th behind wanting a reliable and balanced playing field for competition. YMMV for sure.

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For the most part, those don’t provide a tactical advantage (other than Groot) - the hammer magnet is inconsistent (but AWESOME) and the prison walker target is dicey as well.

Being able to call your Claw awards allows for some interesting options - do I take ACMAG for points? Pull the chute on Lock Freeze? Is Simon being an absolute laughing jag and really needs to be caught? You gain an extra level of tactical agency with the ROM.

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Totally bummers, bit I do think it’s better than the alternative of a new player getting burnt by the failure of one of those features, becoming frustrated, and never coming back because they have the perception that the games don’t work correctly or something - new players have all kinds of thoughts and feelings when minor things go wrong. Certainly some teachable material in there if you take the time to explain to new players why certain things are disabled.

When it comes specifically to tournament play I don’t find the Claw awards to offer anything interesting. You’re either “cashing out” that Lock Freeze when you want to, or you’re taking “one of the random point based awards that includes me not using my Lock Freeze yet”. To think of the choice between Acmag and Simon being anything more than that I think is a bit of a stretch.

IMO disabling the claw makes this risk/reward decision on cashing out even more intense. Knowing you can’t make progress on Demolition Time until you are willing to go all-in on that Lock Freeze cash out brings this decision to play IMMEDIATELY on game start, and it’s thrown in your face. How long do you try starting Fortress MB on your own so you can defer that Lock Freeze? How many missed shots until you pull that parachute? Sometimes you accidentally cash Lock Freeze out when you don’t want to, and that pushes you into a path you weren’t intending. With the Claw on extra hard the decision becomes even harder as you can quickly put yourself in minor jail if you leave a lit Claw unconsummated.

Outside of Demolition Man specifically, I also run into situations where a ROM burner isn’t particularly handy leading into a tournament that I’m running. If there’s a ‘stock ROM fix’ that’s solid, I’ll always lean on that since players in the real world can easily reproduce that in their own environment if they want to practice that set up. This goes for BSD personally for me as well. I disable the right inlane switch and set the Mystery to start OFF, and the game works like a champ.

This is all my personal preference for the events I run. I don’t have any problem with people preferring custom ROM versions over stock ROM versions, as long as the game is labeled as such.


What I find interesting are not the claw awards themselves, but where each award’s lane sends the ball. If one is hoping to start Demolition Time they probably wanted to save Prison Break for last to get the upper flipper feed and have a chance to start DT immediately. If there’s just a couple awards left, maybe Super Pops is a good choice to hope for a bounce up the lanes to get the claw re-lit. Capture Simon can be used when you want the ball on the right flipper for a lock freeze.


I would point out that most of the disabling of features is happening at the higher levels of tournament play, where the newbie experience is not the focus. I’m not asking operators to disable major features for my weekly tournaments, but virtual locks and disabled prison doors should be used for higher level competitive events where 1. they disable something otherwise exploitable (Demo Man claw always going for lock freeze, Groot physical locks serving a new ball up top in the pops) or 2. they make more reliable a feature that has historically had issues to players who expect a machine to perform a certain way (prison doors on Walking Dead, hammer on Metallica).


The claw was disabled permanently on the Demo Man at our league location at a bar (for league balance reasons).

But to be clear, i wasn’t arguing that those features shouldn’t be disabled for competition. they definitely should - obviously fairness and balance is paramount in those situations. i’m just saying in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to disable features. so given the choice between disabling the claw, and using a ROM that fixes the balance issue, the ROM seems like the better solution in this case. just my two cents.


There was a back and forth discussion when the BSD rom was being formulated if the mystery should just never light instead of awarding a fixed amount. (Essentially, what you are doing, but in software, and without generating an error report on the right inlane after 30 games.)

The fixing of the tilt bonus bug is kind of nice in the custom rom, even if you still disable the mystery the way you described. Yes, advanced players already know not to get warnings on drains on BSD and DW, and less experienced players probably won’t notice their bonus not being added in (unless it was really high and they lose!)