You are an old west sheriff who must protect a bank and its customers from masked robbers. The layout of the bank is a circle with twelve numbered doors with the player in the center. The player can rotate to the left or right and view three doors at a time. The doors will open to reveal a customer who will drop a bag of money, making a deposit; a robber who will attempt to shoot the player; or a young boy who will be holding a stack of three to five hats, which the player can rapidly shoot for a bag of money or bonus time. The level ends when all twelve doors have received one or more deposits. This is indicated by the numbered boxes across the top of the screen, with a red dollar sign showing a door with a completed deposit.
At random intervals, a bomb will be placed on one of the doors and a rapid timer will count down from 99. The player must move to that door and destroy the bomb with gunfire. Shooting a customer, being shot by a robber, failing to destroy a bomb or failing to complete the level before the overall timer (shown by a bar at the bottom of the screen) loses one life.
Although robbers can be shot on sight (such a kill is judged “UNFAIR” but carries no penalty), greater points can be earned by waiting until they begin to draw their weapons. A red-shirted robber who is shot at the precise moment of drawing his weapon will earn maximum points and a letter in the word “EXTRA” (indicated in the lower left corner). Completing five such kills finishes the word, earning the player an extra life, bonus points, and instant advancement to the next level. Extra lives can also be earned by reaching certain scores.
At the end of each level, the player earns bonus points based on the total number of deposits received, the amount of time remaining, and the average time for all “FAIR” kills. Extra points are also earned whenever a customer makes a deposit at a door where a bank teller is sitting.
Later levels introduce variations, including customers who will be shoved aside by robbers; customers who are bound by ropes (shooting them once will destroy the ropes and earn the player three bags of money, while waiting will reveal a robber); robbers who duck away from the door before drawing their guns; and red-shirted robbers who wear white boots (distinguishing themselves from the other red-shirted robbers) who carry two handguns and thus must be shot twice, though even doing so with perfect timing will not earn an EXTRA letter. At times, a robber will take money that has been deposited at one of the doors, making its red dollar sign disappear, and will be hiding behind that door, money in hand. Shooting the robber makes him drop the money, returning the deposit.
Clues for the player include the five indicator bars above each door box at the top of the screen. A red bar will descend, indicating a person (customer, robber or boy) is approaching the door. When the player rotates to those doors and the red bar is at the bottom, the doors will open and the player can take appropriate action. Also, after making a deposit, customers turn to leave. They sometimes will be wearing posters on their backs showing a masked face and a door number. This indicates a red-shirted robber hiding behind that door.
Earning a high score can allow a player to enter his or her initials in a top ten “BEST SCORE” list, which also records the level the player reached and the length of the game. Due to an odd software bug, this list is only visible when a player is making an entry, unlike the vast majority of arcade games which periodically display the list when the game is idle.
The game’s background music is a repeating cycle of Dixie. The tempo of the music increases when a player has nearly run out of time.
I found a fellow collector in the Twin Cities who owns an original, dedicated Bank Panic upright cabinet. The entire game is in mint condition including the dust and grime from 31 years ago. I have been trying to acquire this game since I found it without success. First it was the price and later it wasn’t for sale anymore. What to do?
Over three years later, I got a message from the owner who is ready to sell. We agreed on a price after a few more months of negotiations. Now I am the proud owner of the ultra-rare Bank Panic arcade game serial # 267.
The game works 100% and really only needed 2 things: several rounds of cleaning and a new monitor. I have a nice, new, no burn Wells Gardner K7203 on the shelf waiting for this game to arrive. problem solved there. 🙂 For cleaning, I like to be very careful with original artwork and components. I start with compressed air and vacuuming to remove all the loose particles, then I start the take apart process.
Typically, I remove the back door and inspect the main PCB area and power supply. If things aren’t too dirty I use simple cleaners like Windex or 409. If the cabinet base has a lot of fun smells, dirt and stains I like to use denatured alcohol to clean the wood without causing more damage. If the grime warrants a complete ‘take out’ of all the components I will clean with denatured alcohol and use a palm sander to cleanup the plywood base.
For marquee and lamp area I like to be cautious with the marquee cleaning. Marquees are screen printed on the backside of the glass or plexi and old games will often have separation or bubbles. If you see any type of separation, try sandwiching the back side with a piece of plexi and leaving it for a day or so. Then try to gently clean it and sort out how your going preserve the ink. Sometimes the only thing that works is clear enamel spray paint or sandwiching a thin piece of plexi on the back and leaving it alone.
If the marquee has not been reproduced. It might be time to get a scan of the graphics before the images start to flake away. (see image) In the case of this game I has a perfect marquee with no marks or flaking. The art started to bubble due to weather changes and I tried to repair the backside. When I did this the bubble I tried to repair just turned to dust as I touched it. I should have scanned the marquee first!
Now that I have the machine clean up a bit. It is time time to swap the display and PLAY