FAQ - Guide for Ballistic

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        Ballistic (Sony Playstation)     
            FAQ v1.1  (12/12/99)          
    Norman Richards    


Changes: v1.1
-- added details for all 25 stages in stage mode
-- added end of game message

Table of Contents:
  1.0 - General Information
  2.0 - Game Modes
  3.0 - Scoring
  4.0 - Author's Notes

1.0 - General Information

  Originally an arcade game called Time Loop, the arcade game never
was a big hit in the US.  But, it was a very popular in Asia, and that
popularity was enough to bring the game to the playstation.  Ballistic
was release in November 1999 for US playstations and shortly
thereafter for Game Boy color.

  Conceptually, Ballistic bears resemblance to other popular puzzle
"B" games such as Bust A Move and Battle Balls.  The player launches
balls against a series of oncoming balls.  Should you connect enough
balls of the same color together, those balls are eliminated, causing
the remaining balls to reform.  Combo chains can be scored if this
reforming causes more balls to disappear.

  Unlike Bust A Move where balls extend down from top of the play area
and Battle Balls where balls drop to an area at the bottom, in
Ballistic, the colored balls spiral around a center cannon, from which
the player launches balls outward.  Dispite the apparent similarity,
game game play and strategy in Ballistic is quite different from other
ball-based puzzle games.

2.0: Game Modes

  The basic premise stays the same, but there are 3 modes
of play: panic mode, stage mode and vs mode.  Each has slightly
different play rules, but in all modes the goal is to keep the chain
(or chains) of balls from reaching the center.

2.1  Panic Mode

  In panic mode, the board never changes.  A never-ending string of balls
loop along the spiral track.  At each level, the string of balls becomes
faster and faster.  On every 10th level a rocket and a bomb appear.  

  The rocket pushes the string of balls along at an even faster pace
than normal.  The rocket can be destroyed by hitting it directly with
a ball or by clearing all the balls in front of it.  While the rocket
is on screen, the speed level will not increase no matter how many
balls are cleared.  Only when the rocket is destroyed will the speed
again begin to increase.

  In panic mode, the bomb is launched from the central cannon in the
same way as a ball.  The difference is that when the bomb hits a ball
of a certain color, all the balls of that color on the screen

2.2  Stage Mode

  Stage mode consists of a number of levels, each with 5 sub levels.
Each stage has a fixed number of balls that must be cleared before the
player advances to the next level.  The shape of the track, and the
obstacles/powerups change with each sublevel.  After clearing a level,
play may be continued from that level at any point. 

  In stage mode, there are 5 levels to be cleared.  Each level
contains 5 stages.  The stages are as follows: 

level   features
1-1     1 loop
1-2     1 loop
1-3     1 loop
1-4     1 small loop, 1 twister, 1 bomb from launcher
1-5     2 small loops

2-1     1 small loop, 2 twisters
2-2     1 large loop, 14 clear balls
2-3     1 large loop, 1 shielded region, 1 stop watch
2-4     1 medium loop, 2 twisters, 2 boxes with bombs
2-5     2 twisted loops

3-1     2 large loops
3-2     1 large loop, 2 snails
3-3     1 large loop, 1 shielded section, clear balls, 2 stop watches
3-4     1 large loop, 2 boxes with snails, bees, clear balls
3-5     3 medium loops

4-1     1 small loop, 1 bomb in loop
4-2     1 medium loop, bees, clear balls
4-3     2 large loops, 2 snails
4-4     2 twisted loops, 2 stop watches
4-5     3 medium loops, 1 bomb in loop

5-1     2 large loops, 2 bombs in loop
5-2     2 twisted loops, 2 snails
5-3     3 medium loops
5-4     1 medium loop
5-5     1 small loop

  After clearing all 25 stages, the closing message rolls:



[Credits, slightly modified from the manual]


2.3  VS Mode

  In vs mode, two players compete against each other two see who can
last the longest.  As with most 2 player puzzle games, when one player
clears balls, extra balls are sent to the opposing player.

3.0: Scoring

  The points earned for removing a ball are a function of the chain
length.  The higher the chain length, the higher the score.  Each ball
by itself is worth 10 points times the bonus multiplier.  The bonus
multiplier is the chain length times the sequence number.  It's not
that complicated, but let's look at some examples.  



X X Y Y Z Z Y Y X 

  Suppose we shoot a Z ball into the sequence of balls at the point
shown above.  The 3 Z balls connect, causing the 4 Y balls to connect.
When the Y balls connect the X balls connect.  The sequence is a chain
of length 3.  The score would be:

          num of  sequence    chain    points 
          balls    number    length   per ball  
Z balls:    3   *    1     *    3   *    10     =   90
Y balls:    4   *    2     *    3   *    10     =  240
X balls:    3   *    3     *    3   *    10     =  270
                                                   600 points

  Longer chains are scored similarly.  Imagine an 8 chain of 3 - 5 - 4
- 6 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 4.  The score for this chain would be:

240 + 800 + 960 + 1920 + 1200 + 1920 + 2800 + 2560 = 12400 points 

  Obviously, scores increase very rapidly.  As you can see from this
example, an 8 chain can easily score 10,000 points.  A typical 19-20
chain will score 100,000.  In theory, a 40 chain would well exceed
1,000,000 points, but I've not heard of anyone claiming to have pulled
off such a feat.


4.0: Author's Notes

  This FAQ was created by Norman Richards. (orb@cs.utexas.edu)
Corrections, additions and comments are are gratefully accepted and
will be credited accordingly.

  This document is copyright 1999 by Norman Richards.  You are free to
distribute it under the terms and conditions of the open content
license.  The OPL is available online at the open content website.
(http://www.opencontent.org/) Please take a moment to visit the open
content website and support open content by releasing your documents
as open content.

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