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The Lord of the Rings

Pinball published 21 years ago by Stern Pinball, Inc.

Listed in MAME

The Lord of the Rings © 2003 Stern Pinball.


Stern Whitestar II System

Main CPU : Motorola M6809 (@ 2 MHz)
Sound CPU : Atmel AT91 (@ 40 MHz)
Display CPU : Motorola M6809 (@ 4 MHz)
Sound chip : DMA-driven DAC

This was Stern's first game to use the Whitestar II system, following a shortage of the BSMT-2000 chips (which was used in the original Whitestar).


Released in November 2003. Based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies released between 2001-2003.


CPU Release : 1.00
Sound Release : 1.01
Date : November 13, 2003
- Initial production release.

CPU Release : 1.02
Date : November 14, 2003
- Changed Sword lock firing time for balls traveling thru the lock

CPU Release : 1.03
Date : November 15, 2003
- Lots of light shows added.
- Lots of bugs fixed.

CPU Release : 4.00
Date : November 26, 2003
- Initial release to US production.
- Lots of bugs fixed.
- Gollum's Cave rule added.
- Barad-Dur rule added.

CPU Release : 4.01
DISPLAY Release : 4.01
Date : December 1, 2003
- Added support for Spanish sound ROMs.
- Turned GI back on during Path of the Dead.

Display Release : A4.03
Date : December 4, 2003
- Lots of translations added.
- Language-specific logo pages added.

Display Release : A5.00
Date : January 16, 2004
- Display cpu now calculates its checksum.
- Changed CPU version display page.
- Removed display version from bootup screen.

CPU Release : 5.00
Date : January 16, 2004
- Center loop diverter now closes during non-valid playfield for skill shot.
- Balrog now scores things awarded on center ring when it's out.
- Stopped raising Orthanc diverter post from the right inlane during non-Gollum multiballs.
- Orthanc now scores things awarded on the center loop if a ball arrives when it is physically open and an orbit wasn't recently shot.
- Fixed a problem where the top right eject would abandon too quickly.
- Ring Frenzy now shows its status properly during other events.
- Bulletproofed several lamp and flasher effects so they don't tie up resources forever (or until the ball drains).
- Added a Path of the Dead Soul Bonus when the ball drains into Hobbiton instead of the wire ramp. Doing so will add 250+50 up to 750 souls.
- Worked around a display bug for showing Special points.
- Changed Balrog score to something more appropriate (it was wrong due to late-hour rule change).
- Added a total page for There and Back Again.
- Added a sound call for Ring Multiball jackpot.
- Changed storing and display of Game ID, country ID, and version number.
- Now wait longer before showing CPU info to give display time to calculate its checksum.
- FAST BOOT now defaults to NO for non-USA games.
- Corrected display of some scores in background effects for Ring Frenzy and Victory Laps
- Corrected display bug in ROTK multiball that would cause already-shot jackpots to stay on the display if the jackpot multipliers had been increased.
- Changed some event lamp effects to mask off KEEP, POTD, and FOTR lamps.
- Changed FOTR multiball lamp effect to reflect the # of people that have crossed the bridge.
- Standard Adjustment 14 (BALLS PER GAME) can now be set 1-10.
- Software Meter now doesn't chalk anything since it doesn't work anyway.

DISPLAY Release : 5.01
Date : January 28, 2004
- Corrected some spelling errors (English only).
- There are no changes at all for F, G, I, and L other than updating the version number.

CPU Release : 5.01
Date : January 28, 2004
- Fixed the final shot of Bash Balrog immediately awarding stuff that was on the center ring shot.
- Fixed ring bonus being held between games.
- Added some speech for Destroy the Ring Lit.
- Added a Destroy the Ring flasher effect while the mode is running.
- Fixed a ball being released from the Ring after Destroy the Ring ends from draining awarding a ring shot.
- Ring Destroyed value now increases by 2.5M for each successful win.
- Cleaned up the choreography of destroying the Ring.
- Added an Elf Gift for destroying the ring.
- Vastly improved the choreography at the start of Valinor.
- Added a "Valinor Tease" effect after a successful Destroy the Ring (it tells you one of the items you have left to accomplish before reaching Valinor).
- Fixed a nasty bug that wouldn't relaunch all your balls during Valinor.
- Changed the scores given for Rings of Power during Valinor (higher start, lower cap).
- Changed the super jackpot choreography for ROTK (new display effect and new sound effect).
- Fixed a couple bugs in ROTK relating to the super jackpot stage.
- Fixed ROTK end-of-ball bonus to properly report and score the winning of that multiball.
- Changed the level advance display effect of ROTK to stack behind the jackpot effect instead of preempt it. It won't display if you shoot a jackpot at the new level.
- Changed the sound effect call for TTT super jackpots.
- Fixed a display bug for TTT end-of-ball bonus that would show up after you won it (it scored correctly however).
- Fixed 2 different bugs that could potentially light ALL shots for super jackpots during TTT.
- Fixed There and Back Again total not being cleared at mode start.
- There and Back Again total page should now properly show up in all cases.
- 'Add-a-ball' now has higher priority than 'ring jackpot' on Palantir during Ring Multiball.
- Palantir will now add 20 seconds to There and Back Again up to 3 times, up to 99 seconds.
- Fixed yet 'another' bug with Little Points given by Palantir.
- Nothing else should be awarded after making the final shot for There and Back Again now.
- Added an Elf Gift for finishing There and Back Again.
- Increased scoring for Destroy the Witchking mode.
- Fixed a bug where the pop bumpers would get confused with what it should be doing with Boromir.

CPU Release : 6.00
DISPLAY Release : 6.00
Date : February 12, 2004
- Removed phone icon from Diag menu.
- Added FOTR "lose" sound call.
- Orbit pin diverter now doesn't raise during There and Back Again.
- Added a lamp effect for bridge crossing.
- Implemented Extra Hard difficulty for Game Adj 4 - TTT Lock Difficulty.
- Fixed Ring Frenzy qualifying: Now if the rings are still on as a result of a mode running or Gollum running, Ring Frenzy will start properly.
- Added a Gollum MB lamp effect: While Gollum is running, solid lamp means scores are 1/2; pulsing lamp means scores are doubled.
- Added a 2x Scoring lamp effect: The light pulses while it's running now.
- Fixed a bug that wouldn't reset Ring Frenzy extra ball difficulty for each player until the game was power-cycled.
- Super Ring Frenzy now properly calls its own starting display effect.
- Fixed a really bad bug in There and Back Again that would show up for other players if a previous player at least qualified the final ring shot.
- Fixed a lamp effect bug with the arrows during ring combos.
- Tower skill shot animation is now blowoffable.
- Properly implemented competition mode. When on, the changes are as follows :
Elf Gifts start at Super Ring Frenzy, or the first available clockwise award from there.
When Fellowship difficulty is Moderate (2nd time on default settings), members are lit from the left to the right.
Any spotting of Fellowship members (Mystery or Palantir) is done from the right to the left.
There are no changes to Palantir because it is always deterministic.
Mystery works as follows :
There are 3 categories of awards : advance multiball, complete rings, point awards. The game will cycle through categories in that order.
If nothing can be awarded in a category, then the game will move to the next category.
The advance multiball awards are (in order of priority) :
Spot 1 Fellowship member: Available if FOTR is not currently lit and not currently spotted toward Destroy the Ring.
Add 1000 souls : Available if ROTK is not currently lit and not currently spotted toward Destroy the Ring.
Light Sword Lock : Available if lock isn't lit and TTT is not currently spotted toward Destroy the Ring.
The complete rings awards are (in order of priority) :
Complete Dwarf Rings : Available if this would start Ring Frenzy (this is only possible if the final ring set you needed was spotted at ball start).
Complete Human Rings : Available only if Destroy the Ring is lit.
Complete Elf Rings : Available if they're not completed.
The point awards are (in the cyclical order the game will award them) :
Add 5 bonus x : Available if bonus x is not maxed.
Add 100,000 to bonus : Available if bonus x is at least 10.
Medium Points (1,000,000) : Always available.
Lane Skill Shots start at O on ball 1 and moves to the right each BIP.
Extra-hard ring combos light as follows :
Left ramp lights right orbit
Center loop lights left ramp
Right ramp lights center loop
Right orbit lights right ramp
Path of the Dead favors lamps in this order when initializing : 2-3-1-4.
ROTK jackpots light in order from left to right.

CPU Release : 7.00
DISPLAY Release : 7.00
Date : April 3, 2004
- Bump N Win Tournament added

DISPLAY Release : 8.00
Date : July 13, 2004
- New Adjustment support added.
- Destroy the Ring Champion support added.

CPU Release : 8.00
Date : July 13, 2004
- Flipper code rewritten. The game now uses the EOS switch where available to turn off power to the flippers earlier. This should generally result in the flippers staying MUCH cooler over a longer period of time and reduce player dissatisfaction on a heavily-played game.
- 3 adjustments were added to control the flippers.
Standard Adj 53 : Specifies the minimum flipper fire time in ms.
Standard Adj 54 : Specifies the maximum flipper fire time in ms.
Standard Adj 55 : Specifies extra fire time after reaching EOS in ms.
- Hopefully fixed multiball devices waiting for the Palantir Lit display effect.
- Fixed Cave Troll jackpot value not being initialized properly.
- Changed bonus scoring so that scores would end in odd 10s digits more often.
- Changed Ring opto dispatches so they won't score during Destroy the Ring so that ball search can occur if it needs to.
- Added Feature Adjustment 35 "DESTROY RING # BALLS". Can be set to 1 or 2 (default is 1). Setting this to 2 will allow the ring to hold a ball and let the player try to knock it out with the 2nd ball. Setting this to 1 will cause the magnet to just hold the ball for a second then let it go, requiring the player to make a clean shot through the ring to win the mode.
- Install Director's Cut has been changed to set DESTROY RING # BALLS to 2.
- Added Destroy the Ring Champion. This is awarded to the person who completes Destroy the Ring in the shortest amount of time.

DISPLAY Release : 9.00
Date : January 20, 2005
- New adjustment/display effect support added.

CPU Release : 9.00
Date : January 20, 2005
- New sounds/speech added and/or increased :
1) Two new quotes by Treebeard added during Ent Mode.
2) When Return of the King multiball starts, Gimli states, "Minis Tirith is under attack!"
3) While in Destroy the Ring mode, Gollum says, "My Precious!". Frodo says, "The Ring is Mine!", followed by "Gollum has the ring!"
4) One new quote by Elron added during second Fellowship multiball.
5) More frequent playing of Frodo's quote for shots up the middle- "I will take the ring to Mordor, though I do not know the way". In past software revisions, if a mode was ready at the center (ring) shot, you would not hear this particular quote, but instead hear the mode sound effects. Now you get both (with Frodo's quote first).
- Fixed Feature Adjustment 1 "RING COMBOS/LEVEL" that had its range set improperly and would cause a factory reset if a non-numerical value was chosen.
- Fixed a problem with Destroy the Ring Champion enter initials screen not doing anything when DTR Champ was earned during a TOPS tournament game.
- Feature Adjustment 5 "PALANTIR DIFFICULTY" wasn't actually implemented (until now). Oops.
- Fixed a bug where Palantir would retain memory from game to game.
- Feature Adjustment 16 "MYSTERY DIFFICULTY" wasn't actually implemented either. Oops again.
- Added a lamp effect for the Rings of Power during (Super) Ring Frenzy (MB).
- Vastly improved Destroy the Ring success choreography.
- Fixed a potential problem with Feature Adjustment #3 (1ST HARD TWO TOWERS MB).
- Fixed display of KEEP letters in bonus.
- Fixed a bunch of Destroy the Witchking choreography.
- Fixed display of extra ball and special point awards.
- Added Feature Adjustment 36 "EXTENDED ATTRACT MODE". Can be set ON or OFF (default is OFF). When ON, the 4th then every 8th pass through attract mode will show the One Ring poem and accompanying light show.
- Added Feature Adjustment 37 'IGNORE POTD ON KICK'. Can be set to YES or NO (default is YES). When YES, the Path of the Dead switches are ignored for 1/4 second after kicking a ball because vibration would tend to set them off. The game has always behaved this way, this just gives people the opportunity to turn it off if they want to adjust their switches and the ball has a tendency to roll over one very quickly (causing it not to score).
- Changed Feature Adjustment 26 'ALLOW VOLUME EFFECTS' to 'MAXIMUM VOLUME EFFECT'. This adjustment now sets the maximum allowed difference in volume from the base volume from 0 (never change the volume) to 10 (let the game get MUCH louder than base volume). The default is 5. This just sets the maximum the game will do, it does NOT mean the game will necessarily get that loud.
- Added 'Reset Grand Champion' icon to the RESETS menu. This will reset ALL high scores to their default values as specified in Standard Adjustments 23-27. It will also restore Destroy the Ring champion to its default.
- Lots of minor misc. choreography improvements.
- Fixed The Two Towers Won audit (it wasn't chalking).
- Fixed the score histogram audits (the buckets were in reality half as much as their reported value).

DISPLAY Release : 10.00
Date : October 28, 2005
- New adjustment/display effect support added.
- Russian (& other country) coinage/tournament settings added.

CPU Release : 10.00
Date : October 28, 2005
- Fixed a bug with entering initials for Destroy the Ring Champion when it was earned during a ToPS Tournament game.
- Cleaned up some hacks related to Sound OS problems (the 9.0x releases, not in 9.00).
- Fixed a bug where Palantir might try to add-a-ball when all balls were already on the playfield during multiball.
- Fixed a bug where the game would show the FOTR MB Lit display effect AFTER you had already started it (this happened if Pippen was the last person to be collected).
- Russian (& other country) coinage/tournament settings added.


Game's ROM.